Behavioural Interviewing – The Need of the Hour

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The economy is looking good. Productivity is essential. The best hire must not be an accident but a certainty. It is vital to first look at the job description and study it very carefully. Clarity of the profile both at technical and behavioural level derived from the job description is the key to successful hiring. The probing then must follow the sequence as under to get all the relevant data needed to take the right decision:

1. Environment: Check the upbringing and environment the person comes from. A challenging job needs a continual exposure to hardships and risks. A soft job needs a candidate with a soft background. Any mismatch will create a misfit.

2. Beliefs and Values: Check if the emotionally held opinions of the person match the approach you need on the job. See if the person’s value system is congruent and in line with the organization’s culture.

3. Attitude& behaviour: Attitude is the underlying aspect of the behaviour. An abstract problem scenario and the persons approach to it will give an insight into the mental programming of the individual. A past behaviour is also a great insight into future behaviour at this stage.

4. Skills: Skills can be learnt in a short period of time. If attitude is right skill is not an issue. Overemphasis on skills can result in a bad hire.

5. Competencies: These are the attributes that need a deep probing. This aspect determines how a person can deal with abnormal and challenging situations. Be clear on competencies of success in a job. Remember always the number of years of work determines the skills and not competency. Competencies are behaviours of success determined by your organization’s competency grid/leadership behaviours. Over emphasis on tenure, can result in a bad hire. Competency with a right attitude is a great combination.

6. A sense of purpose: This is the highest decision criterion. If the candidate is clear on his passion and the job is in line with his passions this is the best hire one can look for.

You must also overcome the myths which exist in the hiring process:

1. Number of years in a job guarantees success

2. We must get the best hires. Best are identified, groomed and retained. They seldom look out for a job as the organization goes out of the way to retain them. Thus the best may not join you.

3. An interview is a gut call. Never this is the case.

4. The interview needs no planning and can be handled spontaneously. This is a disaster.

5. One must look for clones of existing performers. This is impossible each human being is unique.

6. An interview is a ten-minute process.

7. One round is good enough.

Lastly, interviews must be conducted by performers. Exceptional performers hire exceptional people. The best candidate may not join you if interviewed by a mediocre manager.

2 thoughts on “Behavioural Interviewing – The Need of the Hour

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  1. Hello,
    When there is a panel of interviewers and 3 out of 5 select one candidate, however the 2 who have opted for another candidate also create problem for selection. In both the cases, the competencies, behavioral attributes, experiences are excellent, but there is a matter of perception too, when the interviewers shortlist the candidate for selection.
    May I have your opinion/comments please on the above.

    1. You are right on the count. Subjectivity does set in. At this stage, it is important to probe further to look for intensity and frequency of the evidence of competencies. The rule is past behaviours are accurate predictor of future behaviours in most instances. It is not possble that two canditates show the same intensity and frequency. Should a rare occaison arise then rank and weight the competencies for prioritization based on the work design. Some times an artibitration will help as a final call too. Training of panelists on Behavioral Interviews is a must to arrive at consensus.

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