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Are the Job Candidate’s Answers to Behavioral Interviews Questions Real?

April 13th, 2016

Stock Traders Conducting Interview

As a job interviewer, your main priority is to determine whether the candidate in front of you is qualified for the job you have available. Unfortunately, that’s impossible to judge if you’re not getting accurate, honest information from the candidate. And separating truth from fiction can be extremely tricky.

A simple solution is to rely on a different kind of interview question, namely behavioral questions. Essentially, these questions ask candidates to relay anecdotes describing their credentials, character, and past performance. Since a good response requires so many specific details, many of which you can verify, it’s a lot harder for candidates to lie, exaggerate, or obscure information. Follow these tips for getting the most out of this line of questioning.

Be Open Ended

The narrower your questions are, the easier it will be for candidates to fabricate information. Make sure that your questions are very general and tie into the kinds of experiences and situations that all professionals face. Examples include “Tell me about a time when you took on a leadership role” or “Describe a situation when you had to overcome adversity.” With broad prompts like these, it becomes a lot easier to tell when information is being created off the cuff.

Explore the Nature of the Problem

You’re trying to determine if the candidate has faced the kinds of pressures and problems they’re likely to encounter in their new role at your company. When posing behavioral interview questions, ask candidates to describe these problems in depth. If they are able to provide specifics, it indicates that this was a real professional obstacle, and one they’ll feel confident tackling in the future.

Focus on Resolutions and Results

It’s far too easy for candidates to be vague and “wishy washy” when describing solutions to the problems mentioned above. Don’t let candidates get by with simply asserting that they were successful. Ask them to provide actual metrics and detailed examples. Later, you can follow up on these facts when you check the candidate’s references.

Pay Attention to the Long Term

The true efficacy of a solution is often not apparent until months or years have passed. After learning about the solutions put in place, find out how they affected the candidate, team, or company over the long-term. There is a lot of important information contained in the response, and a lot of potential red flags to look out for.

If you don’t feel like you’ve gotten the complete story, keep asking questions. And if you doubt some of the candidate’s claims, be sure to check references, run a background check, and hunt for inconsistencies on their application documents. A little careful sleuthing can help you avoid the consequences of making a bad hire. Learn about other ways to connect with the best talent on the market by contacting The Concorde Group, a leading staffing agency in Westchester.

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