Hiring the right people for your company may be among the most important decisions you can make. According to Harvard Business Review, 80% of turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. Often these choices are made because we hired the person we “liked the best.” We trust our instinct. Instincts are an important part of the decision-making process, but should not be the only part. Experienced managers often use a combination of interviewing techniques to be sure they’re identifying the best person for the job.
This can be a very daunting task. It helps to create a structured interviewing process that uses behavioral interviewing questions. Our Guide to Behavioral Interviewing helps define this process to verify our gut instincts are correct.
But first, what is behavioral interviewing?
A behavioral interview is a technique used by many hiring managers to help evaluate a candidate's future performance. This involves asking questions about the candidate's behavior in past situations that are similar to the ones required in the role you're trying to fill. These questions may be used to assess the applicant in relation to the knowledge, ability, skill and other important competencies relevant to the job.
So why use this method? Here are 4 reasons why:
1) A bad hiring decision will cost you more than your bottom line.
The cost of making an uninformed hiring decision does not just cost you a tangible dollar amount. Yes, there will be a loss in productivity, but employing a below average employee can also leave a bad impression with existing clients, promising new prospects, and internal employees. All intangible, but strong reasons to avoid the situation. Behavioral interviewing is a preventative method to help ensure you’re hiring the right fit for your company.
2) You learn what you really need to know about the candidate.
You already have the candidate’s resume, which gives you a good idea of their hard skills and education. But what about soft skills such as: the ability to handle day-to-day challenges, grow, and learn from mistakes? Learning about a candidate’s successful project is great, but what you really want to ask is “How did you decide what to do next?”, “How did you handle your frustration?”, and “If there is a way you grew and learned from this problem, what would it be?” Now you know the candidates thinking style, motivations, tendencies, and preferences.
3) Behavioral interviewing predicts future behavior—good or bad.
Using past behavior is a proven technique used to more accurately determine the future performance or success of the individual. Behavioral questions ask the applicant to describe actual past behavior on the job, which in turn helps you predict their future behavior. Conversely, traditional questions such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “How do you define success?” are more generic with straightforward answers. Behavioral answers will give you stronger comparisons between candidates that easily asses their approach to the position.
4) You avoid making the wrong decision based on a gut feeling
We mentioned before, using your instinct to make a decision is important, but it should not be the sole reason to select a candidate. Many candidates have a great demeanor and look intelligent, yet if you were to dig into their experience, you may discover that they had constant friction with previous co-workers and absolutely no problem-solving skills. Behavioral interview questions will help you uncover previous patterns that can keep you from making a bad hire.
When hiring for a position, we like to say “Wait for the great.” In other words, the cost of waiting to find the right person is far less than making an ill-informed hiring decision.
If you are looking for a good place to start, download our Guide to Behavioral Interviewing.