Behavioural Interview Questions To Ask Candidates

Learning about a candidate’s attitudes, work habits, and decision-making processes can help add context to the resume and cover letter they provide. Understanding these types of characteristics can help you make sure they are the right fit for the job and your team. You can use a behavioural interview to determine how candidates approach their work and how they think about the important decisions they’ll make as part of their daily responsibilities on your team. These questions might focus on how they’ve overcome challenges, achieved their goals, and made challenging decisions. 

To support your hiring process, here are 10 behavioural interview questions you can use when hiring your next employee.

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15 Behavioural Interview Questions


1. Tell me about a mistake you made at work. What happened to cause the mistake, and what did you do afterward?

This question can help you identify candidates who handle mistakes with grace, which can be valuable traits in an employee. When you evaluate their response, consider the level of responsibility they took for their actions, what they learned, and how proactively they prevented similar mistakes from happening again. 


2. What is the last new skill you learned, and how did you do it?

Employees who continue learning and growing can provide your business with increasing value. This question can allow candidates to explain their process for learning and development, and show you how much they value learning as a part of their professional experience. You can also compare their answer to your company’s training procedures to help determine whether they’ll be a good fit. 


3. How do you approach conflict in the workplace? Share an example of a conflict that you handled well and explain why it was successful.

Ask about workplace conflict to gain a sense for candidates’ communication styles and stress management strategies. When they share a specific example of a conflict they resolved successfully, you can also note their interpersonal skills and professionalism when discussing those with whom they have experienced tension or conflict.


4. What steps do you take to manage workplace stress? 

Some workplace environments involve a normal amount of stress, and it’s helpful to hire employees with good coping skills. This question can help you determine if a candidate has strategies in place to manage stress and how they think about specific stressful circumstances at work. You can also compare their response to this question with any stress-management tools you have available for your employees. 


5. Tell me about your biggest professional achievement to date. How did you accomplish that goal?

Asking candidates about their accomplishments and how they achieved them can give you insight into the types of work they’re proud of and their ability to make a plan and follow through with it. This question can also provide candidates an opportunity to share their accomplishments.


6. Explain a challenge you’ve faced, either at work or in your life. How did you overcome that challenge?

This question can help you determine how readily a candidate uses obstacles or challenges as a basis for opportunity and growth. Those who think of problems as challenges or puzzles to solve might demonstrate greater tenacity and resilience in pressing circumstances. This mindset may be valuable for your business, especially if the role you are hiring for requires quick thinking and problem-solving.


7. What is your approach to solving complicated problems? What’s an example of a time when you used your skills to resolve a complex issue?

Most employees need critical thinking and problem-solving skills to succeed in the workplace. This question allows candidates to explain the process they use to solve problems. You can use that information to determine whether their process suits the types of challenges you often face in your business. 


8. How do you communicate with management and supervisors? For example, when is the last time you successfully shared an idea with a leader in your current role?

Effective communication skills are an essential part of almost any role. Asking this question can help you determine how a candidate interacts with supervisors and can reveal their attitude and responsiveness toward taking direction. This question can also give you a sense for a candidate’s persuasiveness and rhetorical ability.


9. Are there any professional decisions you would make differently if given the opportunity? Explain.

This question provides candidates with the opportunity to reflect on their choices and express ways they’ve learned from them. Learning from failure can be an important part of success, and knowing if and how a candidate learns from failure may provide information you need in your hiring process. 


10. Explain the process you used to set and achieve a goal in your career.

Being able to make a plan and follow through can help candidates succeed in most roles. Asking this question provides interviewees a chance to explain their own decision-making process. It can also show you the kinds of goals and accomplishments they find important. 


11. Tell me about a successful presentation you’ve delivered. What process did you use to succeed?

This question can help you understand the process a candidate uses for planning projects and collaborating with others. It can also give you a sense of their public speaking and communication skills. 


12. What is the most meaningful part of your current role?

This question can help you understand what motivates and inspires a candidate. You can use their response to determine whether their priorities align with your company’s mission. 


13. How do you handle repetitive tasks at work? 

Some roles require commitment to complete repetitive tasks. This question can help you decide whether a candidate is a good fit for this type of job. It can also help you understand a candidate’s overall attitude toward completing tasks in the workplace. 


14. How do you motivate others around you? 

This question can reveal a candidate’s leadership potential. Asking how a candidate motivates their teammates can also show you how they approach teamwork and collaboration. You want to ensure the candidate is a good cultural add to your business, and teamwork is an essential quality.


15. Explain an unpopular decision you made at work and how you handled it.

Asking this question provides candidates the opportunity to convey their confidence with others in the work environment. Their response can also show you their level of professionalism in communicating about challenging experiences.


Behavioural interview tips

1. Stay flexible. If a detail comes up in an interview that seems relevant, remember to ask follow-up questions to clarify a candidate’s thought process. Notice and respond to points of particular interest to the role you’re interviewing for and your priorities as an employer.

2. Ask consistent questions. Asking every candidate the same questions provides an even basis for comparison. This can help you make the most reasonable hiring decision.

3. Ask open-ended questions. Questions that have a “yes” or “no” answer may provide less information than questions that include words like “how” and “why.” Ask open-ended questions to allow candidates the opportunity to think deeply and explain their ideas.

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