Behavioral Interviewing

Employment interviews are changing for the better. The traditional interview questions that deal with simpler things like, “Tell me about yourself,” are no longer enough to satisfy the appetite of organizations seeking new employees. They realize more than ever before that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation. Behavioral questions provide a more objective set of facts to make employment decisions than other interviewing methods; the process is much more probing and works very differently.

Important Points About Behavioral Interviewing:

  • Employers have a predetermined skill set that they feel is necessary for the job they hope to fill and ask direct questions to assess if a candidate possesses those skills. Talk with alumni, read the company literature carefully, and pay attention during a company’s information session to discover which skills the employer is seeking.
  • Your response needs to be specified and detailed during the interview. Don’t give one-word descriptive responses like, “my organizational skills worked well in that situation.” Instead, describe a particular situation that relates to the question. For example, “I found the solution because I input all available information into my Palm Pilot and sync that information to my computer hourly to ensure no information is lost.” Briefly explain the situation, your specific action taken, and the positive result of that action. Frame it in a three step process: 1. Situation, 2. Action, 3. Result/Outcome.

  • After the interviewee explains a situation for a few minutes, the interviewer will try to identify the specific behavior(s) by breaking down the situation. The interviewer’s probing process often includes a search for more detail and depth; “What were your questions at that point?” or “Tell me more about the person’s response,” or “Tell me about your decision process.”
  • Be sure to listen intently and always answer your questions completely; ask for clarification if necessary.
  • Your interview preparation should include identifying examples of situations where you have demonstrated the behaviors for a given company.
  • The more detailed and clear your resume, the better it will be in assisting you in answering these questions. Remind yourself about your achievements from the past two or three years and remember that there are many ways to demonstrate the behaviors that the interviewer is seeking. Use examples from past internships, classes, activities, team involvements, community service and work experience. You may also use examples of your special accomplishments like achieving your exercise goals, being the captain of of your high school sports team, artistic achievements, overcoming your fear of heights by sky diving, etc..
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About Shawn Athanasios

A little bit about me. I received my BA from California State University, Northridge in Speech Communication and my MA in Culture and Communication from New York University (NYU). My Master’s degree was within the field of Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Management and my thesis topic was Meta-Cognition and Human Defensiveness. I wrote about the importance of individuals learning how to understand their defensiveness and negative thinking habits as a way to improve the overall cohesiveness within their human relationships. Curerently, I am an Adjunct Professor at SAE Institute, and my pasrt teaching experience includes several of the top Universities in the U.S. (NYU, LIM College, Pace University, Manhattan College & Georgia State University). My teaching experience includes the following courses: Interviewing Strategies, Intro to Human Communication and Culture, Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication, Principals and Theories of Communication, Public Speaking and Theories of Speech Communication I decided to create my own Coaching Business (JAAS Coaching) under the umbrella of Personal and Career Development for those looking to enhance their current profession, change careers, discover their deepest passions, communicate and manage conflict more effectively, achieve high levels of motivation, and find balance with their total self by offering a holistic approach to career and personal development. My eBook, "The Soul Search Before the Job Search," encompasses all of my work as a Personal and Executive Coach. My website/blog is www.JAAScoaching.comLinks to an external site. I have had many fulfilling experiences that include being raised in Laos, Ghana, India & Egypt by parents of the U.S. Foreign Service and Diplomatic community, teaching ESL in South Korea, serving as a Primary Counselor for kids out of Juvenile Hall, and mentoring grade school children through a Psychologist’s referred program. In addition, I am proud to have received a full scholarship for my Masters Degree at NYU, to have been the sole recipient of the Rosenberg scholarship and for graduating Magna Cum Laude upon completion of my graduate degree. I also presented two papers at the New York Speech Communication Association (NYSCA) conference while at Graduate School where I discussed the importance of taking full ownership of one’s shortcomings as essential to inducing change within oneself and one’s environment and how to be an effective interpersonal communicator. And finally, I was voted Faculty of The Year and Georgia State University after just one semester on the job! The article can be found on my website/blog. My volunteer work is reflected through participating in Buddhist Activities as a member of the Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist lay organization in the world. Previously, I was the Young Men’s Division Leader for Houston District, I transcribed the World Tribune to audiotapes for the blind Buddhist members, I published an article in the Soka Gakkai’s Living Buddhism magazine and was a volunteer staff writer for the organization’s newspaper (The World Tribune). I continues to lead group discussions on Nichiren Buddhist Theory.
This entry was posted in Career and Job, Causality, Effective Communication, Interviewing Techniques, Job Satisfaction, Job Search. Bookmark the permalink.

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