Behavioural interview questions are common questions during interviews to assess a candidate’s ability to do the job.
They include questions such as ‘Give an example of a time you made a mistake and had to fix it’, or ‘Describe a stressful time at work and how you handled it’.
Here are some pros and cons of asking your interviewees such questions:
Con: It can be hard to think back and pluck out a relevant situation on the spot. Many perfectly capable and experienced applicants may freeze under the pressure of coming up with an answer.
Pro: Being an intimidating question, you can assess how they cope under the pressure. If the answer is well thought out, relevant and to the point, you know they are not phased.
Con: These questions aren’t always relevant for the future role. Applicants could be judged for something irrelevant and unrelated to what they would be expected to do, for the sake of asking a tough question.
Pro: The scenario they tell you about will tell you a lot about them. The example itself is not the only important factor, but how they answer, whether they provide a good resolution and if their answer is relevant to your question.
Con: The question may not be relevant for their past experience. You might be hiring for a position and could be asking candidates to give examples of times they were given leadership responsibilities. The applicant, although perfectly capable of the role, may not have had a chance to be in such a position.
Pro: Their answer will tell you a little more about their responsibilities and what they faced. You will understand more about their previous roles and get a better understanding of their capability.
Behavioural interview questions are expected in interviews and give a great insight into a candidate’s background and problem handling. However, it is important to stay relevant. Do your research before the interview and don’t judge too heavily on answers.