All executive job seekers have been there—the four month interview process that ends with “you were our second choice” or “we’ve decided to hold off on hiring for the position.”

Winning Your Behavioral InterviewOver recent years the fear of making a bad hiring decision has magnified, and the scrutiny of candidates has led to hiring paralysis at the executive level. The good news is that we are seeing a positive swing in open executive positions. With that, companies are investing in and applying new processes to evaluate and interview executive candidates. One of the most popular interview strategies companies are implementing is the Behavioral Interview.

Why Behavioral Interviews?

According to the Human Resources Department at Kansas State University, Behavioral Interviewing is five times more accurate than the traditional interview style for choosing the right candidates.

The Behavioral Interview is based on the premise that past behavior and performance will predict future behavior and performance. Crafted correctly, behavioral interviews will allow the interviewer to learn how candidates have actually performed in a previous position.

The reality is you won’t typically be informed that this is the style of the person interviewing you beforehand so it’s critical you can identify when you are in a Behavioral Interview.

You Are in a Behavioral Interview When You Are Asked…

Please provide an example of a time when you were responsible for…
Tell me about a time when you…
Provide an example of when you…

What the interviewer is looking for with this line of questioning are specific examples that you were involved in or managed. Behavioral interviewers are looking for you to tell a story that includes SAR:

Situation you were in.
Action you took.
Result of your action.

Here are examples of questions that will indicate you aren’t getting detailed enough:

Can you be more specific?
Please elaborate on…?
What do you mean by…?
How did this affect you, your team, your relationship with…?
What was the outcome?

You can prepare for a Behavioral Interview based on what you know about the company, the position, and the responsibilities.

The most important thing to remember about Behavioral Interviewing is that the interviewer is looking for information on your experience, not theory.