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Management – Behavioural interviewing

CMS Vocational Training Hadyn Luke posted this on Thursday 23rd of June 2016 Hadyn Luke 23/06/2016


Management – Behavioural interviewing

Management – Behavioural interviewing

An important part of being a manager is selecting the right staff through the interview process. Anyone working as a manager or considering enrolling on a management course, such as our Level 3 Diploma in Management, will benefit from training in aspects of this, such as behavioural interviewing, the subject of this blog.

What is behavioural interviewing?

Behavioural interviewing is the technique of asking specific questions that require a candidate to demonstrate how they might act in the job they are applying for by giving examples of their activities and achievements in a previous job.

So instead of asking: “Are you good at working as part of a team?”, a manager would say: “Tell me about a project you have worked on that required teamwork.”

Why do managers use behavioural interviewing?

Selecting the wrong candidate for a job can cost a company time and money. It can also have a detrimental effect on productivity and upset the balance of a team.

Research conducted over many years has shown that behavioural interviewing is a better way of assessing a candidate than traditional interviewing, resulting in an employee who is a better fit for the job.

The theory is that finding out what an applicant did in previous job will give a better insight into what they will do in the future, rather than simply asking them how they think they might perform.

How does a manager come up with suitable questions?

First the manager should have a clear idea of the role and of the skills and experience required to carry it out.

This can be achieved by:

  • Talking to the person who previously worked in this role
  • Consulting other managers, staff and customers where appropriate
  • Looking at any existing job description for the role
  • Using their own personal knowledge of the requirements of the role

Once the manager has established the job profile analysis, they should make a list of the skills and behaviours required for the role. The next step is to devise the question. These should encourage candidates to demonstrate whether they would take the right approach, based on their own behaviour in the past.

Applicants should not be asked questions that invite a yes or no answer. Instead questions should be geared towards prompting the interviewee to reveal their experience and past behaviour at work, in order to indicate how they might act in future.

Examples of potential questions for behavioural interviewing

Questions should be targeted towards the specific role and can be presented as statements (“Tell me about…”). A few examples:

  1. What specific aspect of your previous job makes you think you would be a good candidate for this role?
  2. How do you organise your workload when you have several tasks to complete?
  3. Give me an example of when you have handled a customer complaint to their satisfaction.
  4. Tell me about an occasion when you learned from a mistake you made.
  5. Describe an occasion when you have helped another team member who was experiencing difficulties with a particular task.


Choosing the right candidate for a job will benefit the individual, the manager, the team and the company as a whole, improving productivity and reducing staff turnover.

The best candidates for the job will be those able to give clear and relevant answers to the questions asked by the manager.

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