If people are the most important element in your business, then making sure that your selection process is geared to select the best applicants is critical to your long-term success.

A well-structured behaviour-focused interview will go a long way towards helping you to select the perfect candidate and weed out the unsuitable ones early. On the other hand, an unstructured interview conducted with the very best of intentions is akin to drawing names out of a hat. This is due in no small way to what psychologists call confirmation bias.

It may surprise you to learn that a study conducted by professor Frank Bernieri in conjunction with students at the University of Toledo concluded that the outcome of most interviews was decided within the initial 10 seconds of the interview.

How can that be and what sort of decision can be made in that initial 10 seconds?  It seems that first impressions really do count, particularly in an unstructured interview situation, where, after forming an initial impression, the interviewer basically spends the rest of the interview confirming the preconceptions that have been formed in that initial 10 second window.

This suggests that the vast majority of unstructured interviews are almost bound to fail.

The best way to avoid this trap is to structure your selection and interview process to test for behaviours.

There are several effective ways to test for behaviours during the selection process.  The most reliable predictor of applicant suitability is what is known as situational testing – where you give the applicant a set task to perform so that you can gauge their skill level.  While situational testing can be quite illuminating, it is not always practical and a far easier behavioural test to implement is to structure the interview to test for behaviours.   This is done by simply asking behavioural questions such as, “Tell me about a time when you needed to work with others to achieve a desired result.” Or, “Tell me about how you handled a challenging situation in the past.”

Structuring an interview to test for behaviours takes some work, but once you have the structure and questions in place, the answers you get will prove to be most enlightening.

The beauty of behavioural questioning is that everybody will probably be able to provide an answer.   Most answers will be fairly similar and perhaps even a little dull.  However, it is the ones that stand out for their difference that provide you the most education about an applicant’s suitability. This is where you can discover the true aptitude, motivational drivers and values within them.

Additionally, behavioural questioning gives you a good indication of how a candidate is likely to perform in a given situation.  In this case, past performance is a great indicator of future performance.

Of course, there is no one magic question and the interviewer will need to use appropriate follow-up questions to dig for veracity and depth of knowledge.

The power of behavioural interviewing though is that the interviewer it can control the interview and not allow the candidate to drift off into theoretical general or scripted answers.  This approach allows the interviewer to get a better real impression of who the candidate is and what drives them.

While no interview technique or selection process is foolproof, committing to testing for behaviours will help to ensure that you recruit the right person more often than if you choose to use an unstructured and ad-hoc selection process.  Testing for behaviours can make a big difference to your talent pool and ultimately your bottom line.

If you would like assistance with attracting and identifying talent for your business, get in touch with ChandlerWoods today and discover how our award-winning solutions can help your organisation.