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Behavioural Interviewing and How it Works

Behavioural interviewing is based on the experience that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation. Some studies suggest that behavioural interviewing is 45% more likely than traditional interviewing to predict future job behaviour. The approach can be applied to any recruitment and selection process and is particularly valuable when recruiting customer facing staff, managers and team leaders where behaviour and approach is critical to business success.


Faced with Several Qualified Candidates – How do you Pick the Best Person?

Remember “Past Behaviour is a Predictor of Future Behaviour and Performance”. Behavioural interviewing is all about drawing out of the candidate how they have worked and reacted in the past to challenges similar to ones they may face in the role you are recruiting for.

Preparing for Behavioural Interviewing

The hiring manager must pre-determine the characteristics and behavioural traits required for the position they are trying to fill. The interviewer then designs specific and pointed questions to establish which candidates possesses those traits. When you ask simple questions e.g. “What would you do if ….?”, it’s easy for a candidate to anticipate what they think the interviewer wants to hear and to give that answer. But if the behavioural interviewer asks a candidate “Tell me about a time when you ….” , the candidate is required to describe an actual situation. By using probing questions, the interviewer can then verify the story and learn more about what actually happened.

The Challenges of Behavioural Interviewing

Many applicants are not used to giving specific examples of their performance and will need prompts from the interviewer. Blanket statements such as “I’m a people person” require the interviewer to ask for specific examples of when working with people was a motivating experience. Behavioural interviewing techniques can be learned. They can also be embedded into a candidate selection process to guide the organisation and the hiring manager.

Key Learning Points

– Behavioural interview questions don’t replace the traditional interview questions which are effective for checking the background specifics such as qualifications and experience.

– Behavioural interviewing enhances the quality of information received during the interview process and ultimately leads to better candidate selection.

– The techniques can be learned and can be embedded into candidate selection by using application forms and questionnaires that help the interviewer prepare for and lead the process.

– BBPN use behavioural interviewing techniques as part of our best practice recruitment programme. For examples of skills based and behavioural questionnaires see below.

Example Interview Questionnaire    Example Behavioural Interview Questionnaire

BBPN also provide training programmes for developing effective recruitment and selection skills. Contact Us to learn more about our training programmes.

Specialist Applications for Behavioural Interviewing

There are particular types of work that are especially suited to the use of behavioural interviewing. One example is safeguarding in recruitment of staff that are working with children and vulnerable adults.

Learn About Behavioural Interviewing in Safeguarding

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About Alison Driver

Alison Driver
Alison Driver is a professionally qualified HR specialist with over 25 years experience who works with businesses to help solve people related issues.Read more about Alison >>

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