Behavioral Interviewing, what recruiters and hiring managers need to hear during an interview

Behavioral interviewing
Will your interview answers separate yourself from the competition?

Behavioral Interviewing 

If you want a leg up on the other candidates, then you want to understand Behavioral Interviewing. This is the technique that recruiters and hiring managers are using to determine if you are the right candidate when conducting the interview. If you understand the goal and reasons of Behavioral Interviewing than you can deliver the exact answer the interviewer is looking for. Even if the interviewer is not trained in Behavioral Interviewing, understanding the method will help you ace the interview. 

The premise of behavioral interviewing:

A demonstration of prior behavior is the best indicator or future performance. 

The mistake most candidates make is trying to communicate to the interviewer that they can do the job. The candidate that will be hired will not explain that they can do the job that is being applied for. The successful candidate will explain the steps they have taken to accomplish a similar job/goal in the past.  This candidate is proving prior performance as an indicator of future performance.  

Why your grades matter

Grades are a great example of prior behavior. If you did well in school academically, then you will probably do well in a lengthy training program. You probably will not use geometry or algebra in your job. The fact that you got through the class is an indicator you will stick with the company’s training program. If you can give examples showing how you studied for your algebra tests, this will give the interviewer confidence you will take the training program seriously.  

The difference between an answer and a great answer

The answer “I increased sales”, or “I can increase sales” does not demonstrate the prior behavior. This answer does not give the interviewer confidence that we can increase sales. Explaining the 3 or 4 steps included in your sales process, how you applied these steps to a specific client by name, and details about the size of the deal is an example of a Behavioral Interviewing answer.

An answer that does not demonstrate prior behavior:

“I increased sales at Acme Publishing and I also increased sales at National Publishing.”

An answer that demonstrates prior behavior/success

“I increased sales at Acme Publishing because I focused on talking to my network over coffee meetings. To do this I made it a point to participate in local community events to generate referrals. I had a goal of generating 3 referrals a week.  When I would ask for a referral, I would stress to the person making the introduction that I would:”

  • “Meet the referral in a location convenient to them”
  • “Be the person that paid for coffee”
  • “Limit the meeting to 30 minutes”

“I was able to increase sales because I focused on generating quality leads and creating long-term relationships. This is why I was a top producer”

The above answer gives the interviewer confidence that you can increase sales.  Include behavioral examples in as many of our answers that you can, and you will qualify yourself for the job.  

Key Takeaway: Prior behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. Most candidates cite examples of what they accomplished, but they forget to go into the detail of how they accomplished the goal. The details will separate you from the next candidate. Provide specific examples of the behavior demonstrated in the past and the interviewer will have confidence in your future behavior.

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