Should You Consider Behavioral Interviewing?

November 2nd, 2010

Does past performance indicate future performance? That’s the theory behind behavioral interviewing. The logic is that by asking questions about how a candidate acted in very specific employment-related situations, you can gain more insight into a candidate’s track record and how their past behavior has contributed (or not) to their success.

With traditional interviewing, a candidate can get away with telling you what you want to hear. On the other hand, with behavioral based interview questions, it’s much more difficult for a candidate to dole out the typical interview rhetoric because you’re asking for specific examples.

That said, behavioral based interviewing isn’t your best option for every position you’re trying to fill. For instance, if you’re looking to fill an entry level position, candidates probably won’t have enough experience to draw on in order to answer your questions. That’s why behavioral interviewing is better for professional level and management positions.

So what are some examples of good behavioral based questions to ask? Here are 17, organized by category:

Problem Solving

1. Describe a time when you had to quickly assess the situation and develop a plan, or respond immediately to a problem.
2. Tell me about a situation where you missed an obvious solution to a problem.
3. Tell me about a time when you anticipated a potential problem and created and implemented preventative measures to deal with it.


4. Describe a time where you were able to motivate staff to achieve positive results.
5. Have you ever made a mistake when delegating work? Tell me about it.
6. Describe a project in which you took the lead and produced good results.

Team Work

7. Have you ever had to deal with a difficult co-worker? How did you handle the situation?
8. Describe a situation where you were able to achieve good results even though team members had different view points.


9. Describe a situation in which you were able to successfully sell your idea to someone else.

Work Quality

10. Tell me about project you were involved in that had positive results.
Tell me about a project you were involved in that did not deliver. What would you have done differently?

Decision Making

12. Tell me about a time you had to make an unpopular decision.
13. Tell me about a time you had to make a decision with very little information to go on.
14. Give me an example of a decision you made that you regretted.

Working Under Pressure

15. Give an example of a time you worked well under pressure.
16. Tell me about a time when you missed a deadline. What would you have done differently?


17. Describe an example of a time in which you were able to use your creativity to solve a problem.

If you’d like more information on behavioral based interviewing questions or techniques, or you need help with the interviewing and hiring process, please contact Murray Resources. With more than 20 years of experience as a Houston staffing firm, we can help you source, screen, and hire the proven people you need.

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