by Atul Mathur
* Describe an experience when you had to calm down an angry customer.
* Describe a situation when you had to perform under pressure.
* Describe how you formed a team and led it.
No two persons can give same answers to the above questions. Behavioural interviewing – asking questions about your past behaviour in certain specific situations - is one of the hot trends in hiring.
The underlying logic is that your past behaviour is the predictor of your future behaviour – and performance. So, if you handled an angry client well in the past, most likely you'll be able to do so in future as well.
At the root of BI, it seems, is what Russian physiologist, psychologist and physician Ivan Pavlov (Nobel prize in 1904) proved about a century ago: We behave in a conditioned way. Pavlov's observed that if you give a dog something to eat every time you ring a bell, soon the dog starts to salivate when you just ring a bell. Dog gets conditioned to associate one stimulus (ringing bell) with another (food) and behaves accordingly. We are no different.
If someone tends to become irritable under pressure, he will do so every time pressure is applied on him. If someone gets unduly impatient when he has to wait, like in a queue at a bus or taxi stand or at an airport, he would do so every time such a situation arises.
How to prepare
If you're going for an interview, it makes sense to be prepared for some BI questions. If not, these questions can put you off balance. For example, a well qualified and experienced candidate pursuing a leadership position was asked by the interviewer to share an experience of creating a new team from scratch. Since he was not expecting such a question, he failed to reply convincingly and lost the opportunity.
Here is a way to prepare for such interviews:
Study the job requirements: The first step is to carefully study the job requirements and ask yourself: What kind of behaviour might be expected in this position? Does it involve leadership skills, working under pressure, handling conflicts, working in a team or what? Sometimes, the expected behaviours will be clearly listed in the job advertisement. For example, for the job of a finance manager, an advertisement has listed “good teamwork” as one of the requirements. This is a good enough hint to be ready for some questions about behaviour in a team setting.
Prepare stories: Based on your assessment, scan your past experiences and prepare a few stories, which demonstrate that you possess the required behavioural traits. For example, if you’re applying for the job of a contracts manager, you may want to be prepared to describe how you handled situations involving conflicts and claims from suppliers or customers.
It will be easier to put together the stories if you construct them in three parts (S-A-R):
1. Situation: First describe the situation that prompted you to act or react.
2. Action/response/behaviour: What action you took or how you reacted?
3. Result: What was the end result?
Your stories will appear credible and interesting if you keep them short, stick to facts and avoid heaping praise on yourself. Let the facts do the talking.
Practise: After preparing the stories, practise narrating them so that you can be fluent during an interview.
In situations with many candidates having similar qualifications and experiences, it is the behavioural aspects that can eventually differentiate you from the crowd and get the job. Being prepared for behavioural interviewing can prove to be the winning stroke.
Copyright © 2006 by Atul Mathur
Atul Mathur is the author of three ebooks: 5 Quick Steps to a New Job, The Best Career Move: Know Yourself and The Secret of Finding the Right Career Direction. He also writes Career Tips, a free monthly newsletter dedicated to career development.
Web site: http://atulmathur.com
Disadur dari jobstreet.com-Indonesia