Peter Gasca is an esteemed entrepreneur, advisor, and author of the book One Million Frogs. He recently published a story on INC about past hiring decisions that still haunt him to this day—a story that begins with an alarming line from the brand new driver of their small start-up company, “I quit. I’m in Miami and I’m leaving the van with the keys here.” 

The driver, on his very first assignment, was tasked to take an 11-hour trip to Miami to meet clients and deliver merchandise. However, a day after he left the office for Miami, he called to inform the company that he quit and was abandoning the company van with the keys and a full load of goods inside it. The sobering part of the whole ordeal was that Peter had been warned by his business partner not to hire this driver, and while there had been plenty of red flags, Peter hired him anyways. Suddenly, a bad hiring decision had ballooned into a full-scale business crisis, and it was all so very avoidable. 

Looking back, Peter Gasca now understands his shortcomings and has learned that it is almost impossible to hire the best candidates by way of cutting corners. More often than not, rushing into filling key roles to jumpstart the business will simply lead to bad hires who may stunt rather than boost company growth. 

Simply put, there are no shortcuts to recruiting top talent. It is crucial that you and/or your recruitment partners understand that it takes time, energy, and patience. With that said, you must establish a well-structured process that can ultimately help you find and hire the right employees. 

Aside from screening candidates through pre-employment skills testing and conducting background checks, it is essential to evaluate each of their soft skills. As soft skills are less tangible than technical skills, asking hypothetical questions won’t cut it. 

The trick to successfully evaluate soft skills is by asking fundamental behavioral interview questions that encourage candidates to discuss and expound on their behavior in past situations. This can aid you to gauge whether or not they are a good fit for the job and the company or team culture. 

What are behavioral interview questions? And why are they so important?

Conducting a behavioral interview is an approach that is rooted in the premise that an individual’s past performance tells a lot about their future performance. Behavioral-based questions are typically straightforward and aimed towards gauging a candidate’s actual level of experience and potential in filling a particular role. 

While asking applicants to demonstrate their core competencies is essential, it is equally vital to ask key behavioral interview questions. Behavioral questions will give you a clear picture of how they relate and apply their individual qualities and qualifications to their previous position. This can help you effectively gauge their potential and future performance in your company. 

As this interview technique aims to highlight specific qualities and attitudes of the interviewee, you must explore questions that are directly or closely related to how they handle conflicts, solve problems, adapt to changes, manage time, and communicate with the rest of the team. 

Here are behavioral questions you can ask to help you spot top candidates.

Ability to Work with a Team

These questions are designed to assist you in evaluating how well a candidate can work with others (e.g., how he or she coordinates and shares responsibilities with other members of your team). These questions can also reveal how a candidate deals with tight deadlines, team conflict, and clashing personalities at work. 

A few good sample questions for this are: 

  1. Talk about a time when you faced a conflict with one of your colleagues while working on a project. How did you handle the situation?
  2. Describe a time during your previous work when you were tasked to work closely with someone whose personality differs from yours. How did it go? 

Problem Resolution

These questions focus on revealing a candidate’s ability to identify problems and think of viable solutions to address them. Problem resolution questions allow you to assess how efficient and proactive a particular candidate is when it comes to responding to a difficult situation. 

A few good sample questions for this are: 

  1. Describe a time when you thought of a creative solution to a work-related problem. How did it go?
  2. Are you the type of person who tries to solve a problem on your own before asking others for help?

Adaptability

These questions aim to determine how a particular candidate reacts to changes in their work environment, and whether or not they have a can-do attitude despite having to deal with bumps and challenges along the road. 

A few good sample questions for this are: 

  1. Share a time when you made a mistake at work. How did you deal with the situation?
  2. Describe a time when your company implemented a few organizational changes. How did you adapt?

Time Management

These questions are designed to tell how a candidate works under pressure and how he or she responds to tight deadlines. Time management questions reveal whether or not the individual knows how to juggle multiple tasks and prioritize responsibilities. 

A good sample question for this is: 

  1. Share a time wherein you had multiple upcoming deadlines. What did you do to manage your tasks and meet said deadlines? 

Communication

These questions are designed to assess a candidate’s communication skills—how a person convey information, sell ideas, and convince his or her audience. 

A good sample question for this is: 

  1. Describe a time when you had to pitch an idea to a superior. How did you do it?

Ask the Right Questions

The aforementioned behavioral interview questions are fundamental in hiring the right candidate for the job. However, keep in mind that to successfully employ this technique, you should focus on questions about past situations relevant to the role you are trying to fill. By doing so, you can avoid the additional burden of bad hires and direct your resources to more important matters.  

Indeed, recruiting top talent can be taxing—get it off your plate and leave the task up to the experts at SuperStaff. Inquire about our Recruitment Process Outsourcing service today!

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