Let's talk about Behavioural interviewing.
🤔 Why you should care about it
"The goal of our interview process is to predict how candidates will perform once they join the team. We achieve that goal by doing what the science says: combining behavioral and situational structured interviews with assessments of cognitive ability, conscientiousness, and leadership" - Laszlo Bock, former Senior VP of People Operations at Google, in Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead.
Since past behaviour is often a strong predictor of future performance, behavioural interviews can help technology leaders identify candidates more likely to succeed, especially for leadership roles. By focusing on real-life examples, interviewers can better assess a candidate's ability to handle the challenges specific to the technology sector.
Inaccurate assessment of candidates' skills —> Traditional interview methods often fail to comprehensively understand a candidate's abilities, leading to poor hiring decisions.
Misalignment with company culture and values —> Without evaluating past behaviours and experiences, companies risk hiring candidates who may not align with the organisation's culture, impacting team cohesion and productivity.
Ineffective leadership selection —> Focusing on technical skills alone can result in hiring technology leaders who lack essential soft skills, hampering their ability to manage and motivate their teams effectively.
Behavioural questions typically ask candidates to provide real-life examples of situations where they demonstrated specific skills or attributes, such as teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, or adaptability. For example:
- Can you give me an example of when you faced a difficult challenge at work and how you resolved it?
- Tell me about a situation where you had to work closely with a very different colleague. How did you handle it?
- Describe a time when you had to persuade someone to see things your way. What was your approach, and what was the outcome?
The STAR framework is a widely-used method for structuring responses to behavioural interview questions. It stands for:
- Situation: Describe the context or background of the scenario in which you were involved.
- Task: Explain the responsibility or goal you were assigned in the situation.
- Action: Outline your steps to accomplish the task or address the challenge.
- Result: Share the outcome of your actions, focusing on your positive impact.
💡 Key Concepts
Structured interviews —> Systematic approach to conducting job interviews where interviewers follow a predetermined set of questions and guidelines to evaluate candidates consistently and fairly.
Predictive validity —> Past experiences, actions, and behaviour are strong indicators of their future performance in a similar role or situation.
Competency-based evaluation —> Process to better understand a candidate's abilities and potential fit within the organisation by assessing their specific competencies, skills, and attributes.
"Behavioural interviews have a limited scope, not considering untapped potential or newly developed skills." —> While behavioural interviews focus on past experiences, they can be combined with other assessment methods, such as technical evaluations and situational judgment tests, to understand a candidate's potential comprehensively.
"Behavioural interviews favor good storytellers, even if their skills aren't as strong." —> Interviewers should be trained to look beyond storytelling abilities and focus on evaluating the competencies and skills demonstrated in the candidate's responses, ensuring a more accurate assessment.
"Responses in behavioural interviews can be difficult to verify, leading to hiring based on false information." —> Reference checks and follow-up questions during the interview can help interviewers corroborate a candidate's responses and mitigate the risk of hiring based on misleading information.
📚 Top book
The Power of STAR Method: How to Succeed at Behavioral Job Interview - Martha Gage
🗂 See also
📝 Top content
All You Need To Know About Behavioral Interviews (for software engineers) - Clément Mihailescu
Awesome Software Engineering Behavioral Interview Questions - imkgarg
The STAR Method: The Secret to Acing Your Next Job Interview - Kat Boogaard