Overview behavioral Interview

CvTips.Com Guide To Behavioral Interviewing

It will probably cheer up many job applicants to know that behavioral interviewing is based very much on the actual job criteria.

The idea is to match not only skills, experience and qualifications, but also people, to jobs. The best applicant is the best match.

Any job contains some fundamental skills and with that comes the requirement for the right level of skills to do that job.

Not surprisingly, people with much the same level of skills will go for the same job. The behavioral interview is a filtering process, using questions to identify the best applicant.

By employment law, as well as by common sense, job advertisements include specific criteria for applicants. Each of these criteria must be met, to get an interview.

The criteria are also the basis for the behavioral interview because of the requirement to employ on merit.

The merit principle works on a set of very straightforward guidelines. The person who meets the criteria best is the one who gets the job.

That means, if questioned, or a dispute on the appointment is lodged, the interviewers must be able to show how they arrived at their decision.

So the interview questions are very much nailed to the job criteria. They do have a legal status.

How to analyze job criteria

In any job, you're not doing just one thing. You're doing several. A job called Customer Service, or IT Help Desk can mean any number of situations, contacts, tasks, problems, and any level of knowledge and experience.

To get an idea of the ability to perform in these roles, interviewers need to be able to analyze past performance, skills, qualifications, experience, situation management, and any other related skills, like time management, etc.

They also have to be able to make a comparison between applicants, and to say why they prefer one over another.

This can be a fairly thankless task. When dealing with people with similar skill levels, doing the same work, they have to be able to explain their decision, when making a recommendation.

The behavioral interview is a reliable way of breaking down information into clear evaluations. Using common criteria for applicants is also very much a yardstick approach, comparing performances.

Analyzing the job itself is part of behavioral interviewing.

Every job has these obvious criteria:

  • Skills
  • Experience
  • Qualifications

Every job on Earth has its own criteria. Employers do need to see evidence that a successful applicant can not only do the job, but do it well. The interviewers are responsible to the employer for that, and that's their job.

As you can see, there's some logic in the process.

For interviewees, this is where you need to begin your detailed research into your job interview.

You have to be able to answer these questions well, and do it in the time frame of the interview.

Step 1: Job criteria analysis

We'll use a generic job type as the example.

Let's try Customer Service, because it involves as many relationships and situations as possible, and has a lot of different levels of skills and experience.

The obvious criteria first:

  • Skills- In any customer service job, your primary skills are going to be:
  • Dealing with customers
  • Knowing the business, the products and the industry
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork

What's glaringly obvious about these skills?

Who's going to get this job, based on skills?

You can see where behavior, based on performance, is going to be a big issue with this job. Customer service, and sales, are the two all time winners for behavioral situations. The interview has to be based on real situations, because the job is all about real situations, on a customer by customer basis.

We need to go into a bit of detail here.

Dealing with customers: This involves your knowledge base. What you know about dealing with customers has to be checked out, thoroughly.

Knowing the business, products, and industry: Knowledge base, Part 2: Effective service requires strong knowledge. Another essential criteria, which has to be part of the interview.

Problem solving: Anyone who's ever been in customer service will tell you, this is the big issue. If you can't solve problems in customer service, you won't be in customer service for very long, if at all. Absolutely unavoidable issue in the interview.

Teamwork: No job exists in complete isolation, least of all in customer service. You have to be able to work with practically everybody, and do it well. It's like breathing, and it has to be one of the interview questions.

These are questions you definitely will be asked, and they're vitally important to the job. The interviewers are looking for proficiency, preferably a lot of it.

The employer needs proficient people, and that's what you have to prove.

  • Experience- Another major issue, and the interview will work on past performance.
  • What customer service work have you done, with whom?
  • What were the tasks in that work?
  • What did you achieve?

What customer service work have you done, with whom? This is about your actual prior performance. It's a measure of your previous experience. Your track record is involved, and it's part of the interview.

What were the tasks in that work? This establishes your role, your level of expertise, your standards of work. It's a defining issue, in relation to the job you're trying to get. The interviewers use this question to identify your ranking compared to other applicants, and relate your experience to the new job.

What did you achieve? This is a very tough question, because it separates candidates very effectively. A highly rated candidate will come up with a real major achievement, with obvious value to the employer.

  • Qualifications- Every job comes with its own skill set. Customer service is no exception.

What formal training have you had? This can include mediation, negotiation, customer service workshops, actual certified courses in customer service, in-house training, anti-discrimination courses, and some management training. Some applicants are very strong in training, and this is an issue the interview can't avoid.

Questions related to qualifications can be expected. You've had this training, what have you done with it? Have you in fact done any mediation on the job? How good a negotiator are you? All relevant, all leading to an assessment of your abilities and value as an employee.

There's no guesswork in the behavioral interview process.

Every question, and every subject, is necessary.

If you read the criteria, you can be sure which subjects have to be covered.

This is the very first stage of the interview process.

As you will have noticed:

  • Nothing is being left to chance
  • All the basics skill sets are covered
  • The employer has a several comparisons, even at this point

This is also the stage at which several applicants will have already crashed and burned. Understanding the information required is that important.

Behavioral interviewing is very efficient in terms of finding unsuitable applicants, too.

Respect this process, because it will get you the job, when you know how to work with it.