The Advantages of Using Behavioral Interviewing Techniques

Bryan Adelson
January 31, 2023

The interview process is a way for human resources and hiring managers to get to know a candidate and determine if they are a fit for an open role and company culture.  This blog will share the difference between traditional and behavioral interviewing (BI), and the 5 advantages of incorporating BI in your interview process.     

Behavioral vs. Traditional Interviewing 

There’s more than one way to conduct an interview, but some are more effective.  Do you know the difference between traditional and behavioral interviewing?  

In a traditional biographical interview, an interviewer asks the candidate questions to understand if they are fit for the role.  When answering the traditional biographical interview questions, candidates may answer questions, but often end up providing responses they believe the hiring manager wants to hear.  Some questions that might be asked in a traditional biographical interview are broken down into 3 categories: 

  1. Yes or No Questions
    1. Are you comfortable managing others? 
    2. Do you have experience with “insert software name”? 
  2. Hypothetical Questions
    1. What would you do if you had a customer that was not happy with the service? 
    2. How would you handle an employee dispute? 
  3. Technical Questions
    1. What is your experience with accounting? 
    2. What is SHRM? 

Behavioral interviewing takes the interview to the next level.  During a behavioral interview, the interviewer asks open-ended questions, allowing the candidate to share real life, job-specific examples of their experiences, helping the interviewer understand if the candidate is a good fit.  If the candidate can clearly explain, in detail, a specific example, they are more likely to operate the same way in the future.  Most of the behavioral interview questions will begin with “Tell me about a time” or “Describe a time”.  BI questions look like these examples – 

  1. Alternative to Yes & No Questions
    1. Tell me about a time you had to manage others to accomplish a task. 
    2. Describe a time you had to use “insert software name”. 
  2. Alternative to Hypothetical Questions
    1. Tell me about a time you assisted an upset customer. 
    2. Tell me about a time you had to learn something new quickly. 
  3. Alternative to Technical Questions
    1. Tell me about a time you had to “insert a task here”.  

5 Advantages of Behavioral Interviewing

As an HR consulting firm with working knowledge and experience with recruiting, we see behavioral interviewing as an integral part of the interviewing process. While there are many advantages to using BI, the top 5 advantages are discussed below.   

1. Questions are Customizable to Your Company

Any industry or company can use behavioral interviewing. The questions are based on job-specific criteria and can be customized to your company and the role, no matter the seniority or position. Customizing the interview questions helps employers identify transferable skills.  These questions allow employers to have a better understanding of how a candidate will do the job, not just if they can do the job.  

2. Makes the Interview More of a Conversation

Have you been in an interview where it is one question after the other and all the interviewer does is take notes and asks questions?  That is one reason why the interview process can be seen as a daunting task for candidates, because it seems like an interrogation.  Behavioral interviewing changes this.  The behavioral interview is conversational and changes the dynamic of the hiring process.  Since the candidate is answering in terms of examples, the interviewer has the opportunity to ask follow-up questions, get more detail from the candidate, and create a more personable interview.  

3. Requires the Candidate to Provide Real Life Examples 

During an interview, the last thing a candidate should do is provide answers they believe the interviewer will want to hear.  Using behavioral interviewing, the candidate has the opportunity to share real life examples to answer the questions.  Even if the examples aren’t work-related, the interviewer can still see how the candidate’s actions and experience in a previous situation would apply to the role for which they are applying. 

4. Safe For Inexperienced Interviewers

Effective interviewing is a learned skill, but behavioral interviewing is safe for people who are new to interviewing.  Even though behavioral interviewing is safe for inexperienced interviewers, it is still very important when implementing this new interview technique to train the interviewers on the process.  At Red Clover, when we work with clients on Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), we train interviewers and leave them comfortable with BI.  When we talk about training, we are referring to guiding the interviewer through the art of BI; what questions to ask, how to evaluate answers, and deciding if the candidate is the best fit based on their responses.  With proper training and guidance, an inexperienced interviewer conducting behavioral interviews can become a master in the technique.  

5. Increases Interviewing Efficiency 

When creating the interview process, the goal is to make the candidate experience as smooth as possible.  Behavioral interviewing increases the efficiency of the process because it quickly helps the interviewer identify sooner than traditional interviewing if the candidate has the competencies to perform the duties and responsibilities.  Behavioral interviewing significantly decreases the number of interviews and increases confidence in your hires.  

Are You Interested in Incorporating Behavioral Interviewing into Your Recruiting Process? 

Is behavioral interviewing something you want to incorporate into the recruitment process?  If so, the team at Red Clover is here to help!  Contact us today to implement behavioral interviewing techniques at your business so you can identify top talent.  

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