Behavior-based interviewing is a technique that is increasingly being used by employers as it enables them to get a better idea of how prospective candidates will perform in an actual job situation. Behavior-based interviewing is centered around the idea that a candidate’s past job performance is the best indicator of future job performance. In using this approach, interviewers ask candidates questions that are designed to learn how well they behaved or performed in various job situations in the past to gauge how well they will do in similar situations if hired. Because of the effectiveness of this approach in identifying suitable candidates, there are some employers who ask mostly behavior-based questions and some who ask only behavior-based questions during an interview.
The main difference between responding to a behavior-based question versus a more standard question (such as a question about a one’s goals or strengths) is that with a behavior-based question the employer is interested in learning about a specific outcome from an actual job situation.
To illustrate this approach, if you were to be asked to describe a time when you succeeded at work because of your ability to communicate, what the interviewer is looking for is information about a particular work situation. For example, you might describe a situation where you were asked to lead a team and explain how you succeeded because of your ability to understand and individually relate to each team member. By providing specific examples in answering these types of questions and including details about relevant skills and personality traits, you will be able to give employers a more complete picture of how you performed. As a result, they will, again, be better able to gauge how well you are likely to perform if hired.