Behavioral Interview Process (BIP) Training

Two things to consider when thinking about workplace success are behaviors and results.  Your results are the quality and quantity of work you produce.  Your behaviors describe how you accomplish these results.  Ideally, you want to hire a candidate who scores high in both areas.  You want someone who has the skills to do the job, but also utilizes good behaviors to get things done.  Allow us to explain.

Let's say you have a new manager that pushes his direct reports hard everyday.  His demands on the workgroup pay off in the short term because they produce lots of "results."  Over time, however, this manager's aggressive attitude begins to wear on his direct reports and the work environment deteriorates to the point where everyone wants to either transfer out of the group, or leave the company completely.

The manager in the above example had great results, but the bad behaviors caught up with him in the long haul.  This example is meant to demonstrate the growing importance of behaviors in the workplace.  And for many job openings, behaviors may be more important than results.

The Differences between Traditional, Situational and Behavioral Interviewing

And because behavioral questions are asking about past experience, it is easier to distinguish what a candidate "has done" as opposed to "might do" at work.  This is a huge benefit over other interviewing techniques.  Our advice: If you want to know how well an individual will do in the future, find out how well they've done in the past.  Traditional and Situational questions do not provide this.

What else does Behavioral Interviewing provide?

In fact, behavioral interviewing is said to be 55 percent predictive of future on-the-job behavior, while traditional interviewing is only ten percent predictive (*Career Center of the University of Notre Dame, Janz, Hellervik, & Gilmore, 1986 ).

The problem with many interviews is their failure to provide useful information.  Too often, a candidate walks out the door leaving behind good impressions, but little real information.

When a manager asks whatever comes to mind, in an unstructured manner, it is the weakest technique for getting useful facts.  It allows the well-prepared candidate to control the dialogue.  The candidate can steer the discussion in a direction that helps him or her to look good.  Yet the majority of all interviews are unstructured!

Even structured interviews, those with carefully prepared questions, gather little data about the actual behavior of the candidate.   Attitudes are important, but the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  The typical question, "What do you like best and least about your job?" usually does not reveal much about the candidate's behavior.  In fact, they have a nicely planned response that, while it may "sound" good, yields zero data. 

An alternative to traditional interviewing is a Behavioral Interviewing Process (BIP).  BIP is different from other interview approaches because it emphasizes behavior and relevancy.  Attitudes, biographical data, professional and personal achievements, and likes or dislikes are less important in the process of assessing the capability and fit of the candidate.

BIP uses prepared questions to probe a candidate's past behavior.  These behaviors are based on the competencies required—the non-negotiable competencies— to do the job successfully.  The key is to know what behaviors are important and how to evaluate them.

ITM can assist you through the BIP process by doing the following: Conducting a careful review with incumbents, supervisors, and subordinates to yield non-negotiable behaviors and competencies for the job. "Give me an example of how past employees in this role have shown excellence " is an example of finding key behaviors. Also, "Has anyone ever failed in this job?  What did the person do?" can be a useful direction of inquiry.

Upon identifying the relevant behaviors, interview questions will be developed.  For instance, if a key aspect of the job requires the employee to establish new client contacts, a typical set of BIP questions would be, "Tell me about the most difficult new client contact you made in the last six months.  What obstacles did you face?  How did you overcome them?  What would you do differently next time?"

Job profiles will be created.  Interview guides will be prepared.  A training program will be developed for your HR team and hiring managers.  Teaching them the BIP techniques will not only enhance their interviewing skills, but will allow them to identify the right candidate the first time, which in turn will drastically and positively affect retention.