To Assess Fit, Ask the Right Questions

Behavioural questions have become a common tool for assessing fit in interviews. But do they work?

Interviews provide a great opportunity to gain insight into the personalities of potential employees. However, to exploit this opportunity, interviewers have the challenge of designing the most effective interview questions.

HOW BEHAVIOURAL QUESTIONS MISS THE MARK

Here are two examples of behavioural questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to think on your feet in order to delicately extricate yourself from a difficult or awkward situation. What did you do and how did you go about it?
  • Give an example of a time when you helped a staff member accept change and make the necessary adjustments to move forward. What were the change management skills that you used?

Such questions might promise to reveal enough to assess the individual’s fit. But the answers may provide little insight or may even mislead you into hiring the wrong person. Here’s why:

  • Unable to think of a relevant response to a difficult question, candidates may become flustered. They may blurt out a response that indicates an inability to handle unexpected questions under pressure. However, you may learn very little about the candidate’s capacity to deal with job-specific pressures.
  • Candidates who prepare for behavioural questions may deliver rehearsed answers that showcase their achievements and most favorable characteristics but reveal little about their true nature.
  • Behavioural questions direct candidates to past situations. Their answers may reveal more about a previous employer’s policies or culture than about fit with your organization or with a specific role.

 

WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?

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You will learn far more about a candidate by taking a fit-based approach in which you find out how they would behave if they were free to choose a course of action. This approach involves the use of revealing questions, which:

  • Enable you to assess a candidate’s true personality, style and motivation
  • Determine how a candidate will fit into a specific role in your organization
  • Encourage candidates to open up and demonstrate to them that they are being heard
  • Reassure candidates that the interview process is fair and respectful, leaving them with a positive impression of your organization

FOR A FREE LIST OF REVEALING QUESTIONS, CLICK HERE

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