Most HR experts and experienced hiring managers are beginning to agree: It’s time to stop using outdated interview questions with easily-scripted responses and limited value. Questions like “Can you describe your greatest strengths?” were once a staple during a typical interview, but these kinds of questions are now being replaced by more complex conversation starters that add more meaning to the process.

Updated interview formats usually toss out these old chestnuts in favor of “behavioral questions”, or open-ended invitations that encourage candidates to tell stories drawn from their professional histories. These questions can’t be answered with scripted responses, and since each answer will always be unique and original to the candidate, managers can use them to read between the lines and learn volumes about a potential employee’s experience level, work ethic, and personality.

If you’re sitting in the interviewer’s chair and you’re looking for ways to learn as much as possible about each candidate in the shortest amount of time, consider adding behavioral questions like these to your interview script. Listen carefully to the answers, take notes, and observe the verbal and nonverbal gestures and patterns that play a role in the conversation.

“For this position, we’ll need candidates who have a strong grasp of the principles of leadership. Can you describe a situation in which you were called upon to lead others, but you had no direct authority over them and you couldn’t just tell them what to do? What were the circumstances and how did you respond?”

“What would you consider the greatest challenge you’ve ever faced in the professional workplace? Describe the situation and the outcome.”

“Problem solving skill will be an important aspect of this job. Can you describe a serious problem you faced in the workplace and walk me through the steps you took to solve it? Did these steps work? If they didn’t, what did you learn from the experience?”

“Have you ever been part of a team that failed to meet an important goal? Maybe your team missed a deadline or disappointed a client in some way. Can you describe the situation and discuss your role in the failure, your response, and the lessons you learned?”

For more examples of behavioral questions and more on how to get the most out of your interview sessions, arrange a consultation with the Bryan, TX staffing professionals at Expert.

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