Legal Compliance

The primary caveat, however, is to keep your questioning patterns within legal boundaries so that you don't unnecessarily expose your company. Lost wages litigation, wrongful failure to hire, and other legal remedies exist for workers who have had their rights violated. Consequently, the queries and questioning techniques that follow will not only provide you with refreshing insights into candidates' behaviors but you can rest assured that they will also keep you from running afoul of the law. Just to be safe, refer now to Chapter 18: ''Staying Within the Law: Interview Questions to Avoid at All Costs!'' It will provide you with the ten most common errors to look out for.

Behavioral Interview Questions

In addition, the most successful technique for adding dimension to superficial answers lies in employing a behavioral interview questioning format. Behavioral interviewing techniques attempt to relate a candidate's answers to specific past experiences and focus on projecting potential performance from past actions. By relating a candidate's answers to specific past experiences, you'll develop much more reliable indicators of how the individual will most likely act in the future. Behavioral questions do not deny that people can learn from their mistakes and alter their behaviors. They do, however, assume that a person's future behavior will closely reflect past actions.

Behavioral interview questions call for on-the-spot self-analysis. There are two main types of behavioral formats: self-appraisal and situational questions. Self-appraisal queries ask a candidate, ''What is it about you that makes you feel a certain way or want to do something?'' For example, ''What is it about you that makes you get totally involved in your work to a point where you lose track of the time?'' Similarly, the self-appraisal format may ask for a third-party validation of your actions: ''What would your supervisor say about that?''

Other examples of self-appraisal queries include:

''On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 meaning that you're lenient and understanding, 10 meaning that you're demanding and critical), how do you see yourself as a supervisor? Why?''

''If you had the choice of working in a marketing or a finance environment, which would you choose and why?''

''In the future, how do you think you would handle an employee termination in those same circumstances?''

Situational queries, like self-appraisal queries, look for concrete experience as an indicator of future behavior. The standard behavioral interviewing query begins with the paradigm, ''Tell me about a time when you took action without getting your boss's prior approval,'' ''Describe the last time you assumed responsibility for a task that was clearly outside of your job description,'' or ''Give me an example of a time when you had to make a critical decision in your boss's absence.'' Notice the specific linkage to concrete past experiences and situations.

The beauty of this questioning methodology is that it can be applied to anything: a candidate's greatest strengths and weaknesses, his supervisory and sales styles, his communication skills, or the last time he fired someone. As a result, behavioral questions ensure spontaneity since candidates can't prepare for them in advance. Rehearsed answers to traditional queries go by the wayside in this ad hoc interviewing environment where candidates tell stories about their real-life performance. And because they tie responses to concrete past actions, they minimize the candidate's inclination to exaggerate answers. Therefore, you're assured of more accurate answers in the selection process, and you're provided with specific ammunition to use later down the line in the reference-checking process.

Figure I-1 is a wishbone diagram showing the unpredictable course of

Figure. The unpredictable course of behavioral interview questioning.

''Tell me about a time when you ... felt it important to take it upon yourself to bring bad news to your boss.''

The unpredictable course of behavioral interview questioning.

a behavioral interviewing question. Watch where the behavioral interview questions lead this conversation. Because this technique is critical to advanced candidate evaluations, we'll employ it throughout the rest of the book.

 
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