What Is a Behavioural Interview? An entrepreneur’s guide to behavioural interviews.

A behavioural interview is essentially a different type of job interview, where the applicant is asked to show his or her skills, knowledge and experience to demonstrate their mastery of a particular competency.

Behavioural interviews, instead of asking a potential staff member if they can do something, are asking if they’ve done it before, and to provide examples. Therefore, the basic premise of behavioural interviews is that past performance is an excellent tool to predict one’s future job performance.

What Are These Competencies You Speak Of?

Competencies are the main focus of a behavioural interview, for several reasons. First and foremost, competencies are taken directly from a job description, making it easier for any entrepreneur to interview. Asking the interviewee questions directly related to the predetermined competencies to determine their empoyment suitability therefore becomes simple and straightforward. As well, competencies help with the narrowing down of candidates, since it’s fairly easy to tell in the end, using a competency chart, who’s the best fit for your organization.

And finally, they’re fun. Entrepreneurs can easily deviate from the boring, same old, “So tell me about yourself?” open-ended questions that really don’t tell anyone anything. Instead, behavioural interview questions provide the applicant an opportunity to shine and show exactly what they can bring along to any entrepreneurial venture.

Sample Behavioural Interview Competencies

To provide a general idea as to what kinds of competencies many entrepreneurs look for in their future employees, review this list (all links point to questions focused specifically on that job competency):

  • Analysis
  • Assertion
  • Communication
  • Delegation
  • Flexibility
  • Judgement
  • Inventiveness
  • Motivation
  • Organization
  • Reliability
  • Resourcefulness
  • Teamwork
  • Technology

Sample Behavioural Interview Questions

Behavioural interview questions differ dramatically from other forms of job interviewing. To demonstrate:

  • Did you supervise anyone at your last job?

… is not a behavioural interview question. However,

  • Tell me about the staff you supervised at your last job. What kind of management style did you use, and how did you come about that process? Be specific.

… is a behavioural interview question, because it asks the interviewee to describe specific situations and details related to their performance.

Another behavioural question would be,

  • Have you ever not made a sales target? Tell me what happened, and what you would do differently today if faced with a similar situation.

Whereas a non behavioural question might sound something like this:

  • What were your total sales last year?