Six Behavioral Questions to Ask Your Next Candidate

A Good Place to Start Your Behavioral Interview

Behavioral interviews are quickly becoming the top interviewing technique used by employers today. They are deemed to be highly beneficial and strategic as they help you learn about a candidate’s past performance, which you can use to glean ideas about their future behavior. As competition in the market grows increasingly intense, so does the competition to get the best talent pool. Thus, making the right hiring decisions is more important than ever.

Until today, the behavioral interviewing technique is widely used in most workplaces because of how effective it is for employers. However, you must ask the right questions to ensure that you can pick out the most qualified candidates for the job for you to conduct successful interviews. Here are some of the essential behavioral interview questions to ask every candidate.

What three job duties have you enjoyed the most in your previous positions and why?

This question helps you see if a candidate matches your company’s culture and position as you gain insight into what they value in work and their job. It is quick and concise but can say a lot and give you much to work with when you get to evaluations and decisions.

Describe a time when you had to work with someone difficult to get along with and how you handled it.

Collaboration is important in any workplace and knowing how a candidate works or interacts with other people is essential. Asking this question allows you to see how a prospective employee deals with situations where they may have had to work with someone they are not in sync with. This can happen at all times, so knowing how they handled the situation can help you see how well they collaborate with others.

Talk about a time when something did not go according to plan and what you did to fix it.

Asking about a time like this helps you get to know a candidate’s leadership ability. In the real world, the most unpredictable things can happen without notice or without you realizing it. However, a good leader will know how to manage the situation to mitigate the risks and minimize the negative outcomes. Ask the candidate about their role at that time, and what specific actions they took, so you get a glimpse of how they may perform as a leader.

Tell me about a time when you had to juggle several work projects at the same time and your technique for resolving it.

Another key skill in most jobs is effective time management and prioritization of work, so this question aims to test just that. Get to know how a candidate fits their schedule to do many projects. How did they prioritize what work to do first? How did they make sure they had enough time to accomplish everything? Flesh out these details and ask about how the situation turned out.

man interviewingWhat did you feel went really well on your last project and what was your role in it?

This addresses an area of success for the candidate and could possibly shed additional light on how they worked with a team. Hearing how someone viewed their own role in the success can set the tone for success in a future position. A good follow up question might be: What do you feel your best contributions were to help it be successful?

Can you tell me of a time when you had to make a tough decision with your superior’s help?

Asking this question can help you learn about a candidate’s decision-making process and their decisiveness. In the workplace, employees may sometimes face situations where they have to make decisions on their own, so you want to gauge how they go about this and see how they respond to such situations.

Try incorporating the six questions above to get to know more about your job candidates, from their leadership styles to their prioritization skills and competencies. Ultimately, there is no specific list that you need to adhere to when making questions as it depends on what you are looking for, what you value the most in employees, and what your organization’s culture is like. However, the questions listed above can serve as a guide for you as they will be effective in all contexts.

Read two more articles in our series on Behavioral Interviews:

What is a Behavioral Interview and Why is it an Effective Hiring Tool?

How to Conduct a Successful Behavioral Interview