Survey Signals Rise in Behavioral Interviewing

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<strong>Boston </strong><br />Use of behavioral interviewing to screen job candidates is expected to grow dramatically, according to a survey of more than 2,500 senior HR executives by Novations Group, a global consulting organization based in Boston. <br /><br />While a majority of organizations that already rely on the assessment tool will continue to do so as often as in the past, another 25 percent plan to step up behavioral interviewing. By contrast, just half a percent of organizations plan to use it less frequently.<br /><br />Many organizations use behavioral interviewing to assess job candidates. Which of the following best describes your organization&rsquo;s use of behavioral interviewing? <br /><br /><ul><li>24.7% &mdash; We plan to use behavioral interviewing more often.    <br /></li><li>55.7% &mdash; We plan to use behavioral interviewing as often as in the past.    <br /></li><li>0.5% &mdash; We plan to use behavioral interviewing less often.    <br /></li><li>19.2% &mdash; We don&rsquo;t use behavioral interviewing. <br /></li></ul><br />The aim of the interviewing technique is to predict a job candidate&rsquo;s suitability for a position based on past behavior, according to Novations Executive Consultant Tim Vigue. &ldquo;The interviewer asks the candidate to describe, in detail, how he or she handled specific situations in the past. The answers enable the hiring manager to learn the candidate&rsquo;s capacity to handle similar situations in the new position.&rdquo;<br /><br />Organizations recognize, Vigue observed, that behavioral interviewing has been used successfully for so long that it cannot be dismissed as a fad. &ldquo;In fact, the technique is now the norm, a best practice for hiring talent at all leading employers.&rdquo;<br /><br />Managers are now more willing to use structured and objective ways to evaluate a candidate rather than basing a decision on a personal preference or gut feeling, said Vigue. &ldquo;Too much is at stake for them not to, since everyone recognizes the high cost of hiring mistakes and the risk of using less reliable approaches.&rdquo;<br /><br />Another factor contributing to the growing use of behavioral interviewing, Vigue believes, is the broad demographic shift under way in the workplace. &ldquo;An increasingly diverse talent pool demands that organizations hire the best from the broadest possible pool. To do so employers have to use objective methods that won&rsquo;t screen out qualified candidates due to bias.&rdquo;<br /><br />But Vigue cautioned that an employer has to do behavioral interviewing the right way in order to gain the full benefit. &ldquo;An organization must identify and define the short list of competencies and behaviors that are crucial for success in the job. And the interviewer needs to work from a set of prewritten questions that will elicit instances of occasions when a candidate was able to demonstrate those specific competencies or behaviors in the past.&rdquo; <br /><br />As an example, Vigue suggested an organization might conduct a job analysis and determine that one of the required competencies is customer focus. &ldquo;The interviewer would be provided with a question such as, &lsquo;Describe a time when you built a strong working relationship with a particularly challenging customer.&rsquo; Of course, just providing the interviewer with questions isn&rsquo;t enough. The interviewer ought to have a clear understanding of the selection process and the skills to conduct the interview effectively and evaluate the results. In the end, success is all about process, tools and training.&rdquo;<br /><br />Equation Research conducted the Internet survey of 2,556 senior HR and T&D executives in December 2007. <br />

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