Behavioural Interviewing

Candidate looking for a sales job

When you interview candidates, how often do you trust them to truly tell you about themselves?  Do you really expect them to tell you their actual strengths and weaknesses, or do you often foresee a well-rehearsed speech?  (“My greatest weakness is that I am a perfectionist?”)

Behavioral interviews make it much harder for candidates to put their spin on their responses because they employ a totally different mindset from traditional interviews.  Behavioural interview questions demand facts rather than opinions and this allows you, as the hiring manager, to make your own opinions of your candidate’s work.

Traditional interviews are easy to distort

A traditional interview might involve a query such as: “How do you deal with conflicts in the workplace?”  It’s designed to answer a very reasonable concern that any interviewer might have, but that question doesn’t solicit as valuable a response as a behavioral one because it relies on an implied hypothetical situation.

The interviewee has the opportunity to answer a question like that from the perspective of their ideal self.  They can (without lying) say how they think that they would handle such a situation in the future.  Or they might respond with how they generally think they’ve dealt with such a situation in the past.  But the very fact that they’re sitting in a job interview will prime them for giving an answer that is based on what they think they are capable of, rather than what experience has shown to be true.

Behavioral interviews let you be the judge

Think about the response that you would get from that candidate if you asked the same basic question in a different way.  If you said, “Give an example of a time in the past that you had a conflict with a coworker.  What, specifically, did you do to settle the conflict, and what was the result?”  Won’t this give you an entirely different answer from the one we mentioned before?

Your interviewee is forced to deal in reality.  By making your questions fact-based, you now have to opportunity to learn about a real person, not a hypothetical one.  What they actually do in a given situation is far more valuable to learn in an interview than what they think they can or should do.

“Who are you?” vs. “Who do you think you can be?”

Behavioral interviewing gives you, the employer, a chance to paint a picture of your candidate, and then you get to make your own assessment of how attractive they are.  It’s your job to determine what their strengths and weaknesses are, based on what their past experiences tell you.

At Kingman Lennox we are fans of the ‘Topgrading’ methodology because experience has shown us that it provides a superior insight into a candidate. For further information visit

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