When faced with a line-up of interviewees, your biggest concern is always around selecting the right hire for your business and the job itself. You might have a number of similar candidates to choose from, so how do you differentiate between them and pick the best person for the role?

Behavioural interviews allow you to assess a candidate’s capability and performance by delving into their real world experiences. Behavioural interview questions enable you to have ‘proof’ of a candidate’s actual experience and approach, which is often the best indicator of how they will operate in your workplace.

To help you find the best person for the job, there are three key factors you will need to gain an understanding of during the interview:

  • technical skills,

  • cultural fit, and

  • attitude

Before the interview, make a list of essential attributes that the successful candidate must possess – from dealbreakers to ‘nice to have’ – and carefully tailor your questioning around these.

Assessing a candidate’s technical skills

Depending on the level of role you’re recruiting for, you will almost certainly be looking for evidence that the interviewee has past experience with relevant systems or processes. But keep in mind it’s important to recruit someone with the right level of technical skill. Too inexperienced and you will need to train them, whereas over-experience means they risk being overqualified meaning they can become bored quickly and may not stay in the job.

Here are key examples of behavioural interview questions that can help you uncover a candidate’s level of technical skills:

  • Tell me about a complicated work related problem you’ve had to deal with. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?

  • Tell me about your best work-related achievement over the last 12 months. What skills did this involve and how did it benefit your organisation?

  • Think of a project or situation where you made a mistake. What happened, how did you rectify the problem and what did you learn from it?

  • Tell me about a time when you used initiative to overcome a problem.

  • What’s the best idea you’ve come up with on a team-based project?

RELATED: How to measure technical competency in office support candidates

Evaluating a candidate’s cultural fit

Gaining a good understanding of how your candidate behaves in certain situations is key to determining whether they will be a good fit in your team and the organisation as a whole. In some cases, it’s easier to filter out the opposite, that is, identify the type of person who won’t be a good fit for the business.

During the interview, ask questions about how the person works and interacts with direct team members, broader colleagues and managers.

Here are some behavioural-based interview questions to assess your candidate’s cultural fit:

  • Describe the best manager you’ve ever worked for. How did that person influence your performance in the work environment?

  • Tell me about the most difficult person you have worked with. How did you interact with them and what was the outcome?

  • How would you describe your ideal work environment? What kind of company culture do you most enjoy being part of?

  • Are you better at working with a team or working on your own?

Gauging a candidate’s attitude

Positive attitudes are infectious and a great asset to any team. People who also have a strong work ethic are particularly admired in the workplace, so it’s important to recruit someone with the right attitude towards work and someone who won’t be a drain on everyone’s energy. If employers have two people with the same qualifications and experience to choose between, the person with the most enthusiasm and excitement for the role generally tends to come out on top.

Here are some behavioural interview questions to help you assess a candidate’s attitude to work:

  • When have you accomplished something you didn’t think was possible? Tell me about the situation and how you achieved it.

  • Describe a situation where the poor efforts of a colleague reflected negatively on you. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?

  • Tell me about a time you’ve pulled the team together. How did you influence or build morale?

  • Describe a time when you disagreed with a team member. How did you resolve the problem?

No matter the job you’re hiring for, behavioural interview questions should be tailored around the essential attributes for the role and how the applicant has displayed these qualities in relation to the above areas.

Need support with your hiring goals? Get in touch with a Page Personnel recruitment consultants to discuss your needs.

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