5 Must-Ask Behavioral Interview Questions

By | | HR and Management Tips

Every employer knows the goal of an interview is to uncover crucial details about the candidate—to discover the essential things about this person who might be spot on for your organization –or the furthest thing from a right fit.

A job application can only reveal so much, and even a detailed resume won’t tell you all you need to know. So, how do you uncover and discover the information that will inform a wise hiring decision? The best way to accomplish this task is to conduct a behavioral interview that explores a candidate’s past experiences via a series of open-ended questions. And by utilizing the same set of pre-determined questions, making comparisons between candidates becomes so much easier.

Here we’ll explore some of the must-ask questions, the ones that will dig deep into a candidate’s past experiences and accomplishments, as well as reveal character traits and aptitudes that will mesh well with your company’s culture.

  1. “Tell me about a mistake you made relating to a specific project or at a certain juncture in your career.”

A new twist on the interviewee’s favorite, “What are your greatest weaknesses?” It can give much greater insight into the inner workings of the candidate than the previous version. Listen for signs of taking responsibility versus playing the blame game. Did the candidate grasp the opportunity for growth that the situation presented? Or seek to purge from memory the entire incident?

  1. “How would you describe an ideal co-worker?”

Many things about a candidate can be gleaned from this type of question, such as whether this candidate prefers a teamwork approach rich with collaboration or fancies working in a Lone-Ranger arrangement. Tune in to the subtle and not-so-subtle clues that suggest a pleasant, likable personality versus a difficult-to-get-along-with persona that is easily riled.

  1. “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client or customer. How did you handle the stressful situation?”

Can the person sitting before you handle stressful situations in a generally calm, cool, and collected manner? Is he/she equipped with people skills that can diffuse difficult situations? Or, does their answer reveal that stress management and smoothing ruffled feathers are not part of their skillset?

  1. “What was the biggest takeaway from your current job that you’ll carry with you throughout your career?”

One can learn much about a person by glimpsing their point-of-view related to their growth and development, or lack thereof. The same can be said for revelations about a person’s goals and motivations. Did he or she successfully sift through the minor pleasantries or negatives—”I liked having a blue office,” to grasp the significant, life-impacting lessons—“I learned the value of treating people with respect.”

  1. “Think about the most exciting and energizing aspect of your current or most recent position. What did you specifically enjoy about it? Why?”

What if the most energizing aspect of this candidate’s job was the opportunity to interact daily with clients, but this open position provides no such prospect? It would be difficult to imagine this person deriving the same energizing force from such a different environment.

At A. R. Mazzotta, we understand that delving into a candidate’s background will enable our mission to make right-fit connections between qualified candidates and Connecticut’s premier employers. Employment solutions that work for you are our number one goal. Call or text us today to connect with a real person at 860-347-1626 or apply online.