The Best Types of Interview Questions and Answers

When you hire someone you obviously want to know how well they can do the job.  But job interviews are like first dates. Your candidate is going to be on their best behavior and it’s difficult to determine if the candidate is a good long-term match. But behavioral interview questions and answers are the best way to separate the good candidates from the bad.

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How Behavioral Interview Questions Work

Behavioral interview questions work because the best predictor of how someone will act in the future is how they have acted in the past. If someone was a great problem solver in their last job, it’s a pretty good bet that they will also be in their next job. But teasing this out is a little tricky. That’s why successful recruiters use behavioral interview questions.

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Evaluating and Comparing Candidates

There’s no point in asking the right questions without evaluating the response! And then choosing between candidates get’s a bit tricky because people are pretty complex. I like having a set of interview questions and answers to evaluate job candidates against. Sounds a bit like back to school, but for me it makes comparing candidates a lot easier. Especially if I’ve interviewed a lot or if there has been a few days between interviews.

 

Examples of Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers

A standard interview question might sound like: “What is your experience of managing budgets and how would you make a budget cut?” Sounds pretty good but I’ll show you how a candidate can give you a perfectly good response but still not tell you how good they are. A behavioral interview question focuses on specific past situations such as: “Can you tell me about a time when you managed a budget and had to make a cost cut. What was the situation, what did you do and what was the outcome?”

Good Interview Questions Answers can Still Leave You in the Dark

Now compare these answers:

  1. “I’ve had 3 years experience managing budgets and if I had to make a budget cut I’d cut out non-essential spending” VS
  2. “I managed a cost budget of $3.7m in the operations department and I had to make a 10% saving. I brain stormed with my team to identify and evaluate our options. We agreed what to cut to achieve the target plus a contingency fund. I implemented monthly reporting and a standing agenda item. We achieved a total saving of $0.4m with minimal impact on operations.”

I think we’d both hire the guy who gave me the second answer because he’s shown he can deliver. But the trick here is that without looking at the second answer, the first one sounds pretty good. In fact the trick here is that the same candidate could’ve given both answers. There’s nothing wrong with the first answer – they answered the question. The difference is how we ask the question.

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Conclusion:

Be careful of falling in love on the first date. Job candidates are not an impartial source of information.

Interviews are like first dates. Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers can tell you if you have a match or not. (Click 2 Tweet)  

 

Asking behavioral interview questions is the best way to test candidate capabilities. Improve your hires by using the best interview questions. To use behavioral interview questions and answers to avoid hiring mistakes, download them here.


Comments:

What are your experiences with hiring – how do you evaluate candidates? Please share with us in the comments. 


The Hiring and Interviewing Series

This is part of the Interviewing and Hiring Series. This series covers how managers can increase employee performance through hiring better employees. And how managers can avoid common hiring mistakes.

Topics in the Series Include:


Other Relevant Resources:

Power Interview Pack: The complete set of interview questions to get the best candidate for the job. Increase employee performance through hiring the best staff and avoiding bad hires. Link here. 

Hiring for Performance: How to hire the best employees and improve employee performance, engagement and retention. Link here.  

Employee Onboarding for Performance: If employee onboarding goes wrong, your new hire may leave you in the lurch or become a demotivated low performer. But motivate and integrate your new hire well and you will have a happy, productive team member. Link here.



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  • How to hire for performance,
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  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,
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