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Behavioral Interviewing

By Jennifer C. Zamecki
Posted: June 22, 2007, from the July 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Have you ever wondered how to suspend personal biases while interviewing someone or being interviewed yourself in order to make the best, nonbiased decision or impression? The behavioral interviewing method, a relatively new mode of job interviewing, may be the answer. Employers such as AT&T have been using behavioral interviewing for 15 years, and because increasing numbers of employers are using behavior-based methods to screen job candidates, understanding how to excel in this interview environment is becoming a crucial skill.

Behavior-based interviewing
        Behavioral interviewing focuses on past experiences, behaviors, attitudes, and personal skills and capacities that are job-related. It is based on the belief that past behavior and performance predicts future behavior and performance. Instances from your work experience, outside activities, hobbies, volunteer work, school projects and family life can be used as examples of past behavior. However, it is suggested you focus on job-related performance as much as possible.

Behavioral interviewing questions
        The key to behavioral interviewing questions is to match them with specific personal skills or competencies in your answers. Below is a short list of the top 10 work-related competencies, along with their definitions. Also included are hints to keep in mind for an effective interview and a sample question for each competency.

1. Conflict Management: Addressing and resolving conflict constructively.

  • Show proactive identification and resolution of concerns and issues.
  • Sample question: “Describe the most difficult conflict you’ve ever had to manage.”