Hiring the right talent is a crucial aspect of building a successful organization; without a foundation of trustworthy and hardworking employees, most businesses will not be able to get off of the ground. Companies invest substantial time and resources in identifying candidates who not only possess the necessary skills but also fit seamlessly into the company culture. While technical abilities are essential, one often overlooked but highly impactful aspect of successful hiring is the art of behavioral interviewing. This approach delves deeper into a candidate’s past behavior and reactions to specific situations, allowing hiring managers to assess how well they might perform in real-life scenarios they are likely to encounter during their employment. 

behavioral interviewing
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Understanding Behavioral Interviewing

Traditional interviews for job opportunities often rely on hypothetical questions and general inquiries about a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. While this type of interview is perfectly suitable for conducting a thorough job interview, evident by its long history of use, there is more that can be done to draw out the full potential of a potential employee. 

Behavioral interviewing, unlike traditional question and response interviews that focus on current capabilities, focuses on past experiences and actions to predict future performance. By asking candidates to recount real-life situations, this method helps recruiters gain insights into their problem-solving skills, adaptability, communication abilities, and overall behavior.

The STAR Method: Structure for Success

To effectively conduct behavioral interviews, hiring managers commonly employ the STAR method, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This structured approach is concluded from psychological research and helps interviewers collect specific information about a candidate’s experiences, creating a foundation to predict their future actions and overall drive for success. It is important to have a structured and consistent interview method as organizations without a standardized interview process are five times more likely to make a bad hire. That is why the STAR method is a great way to set a foundation for behavioral interviewing:

  • Situation: The candidate describes the context of the scenario they are prompted to recall, detailing the challenges they faced.
  • Task: The candidate explains the objective they were trying to achieve during the situation, as well as its significance in the context of the business if so needed.
  • Action: The candidate outlines the steps they took to address the situation, paying specific attention to what skills and decision-making abilities were utilized to reach the end goal.
  • Result: The candidate shares the outcome of their actions, including any lessons learned or achievements gained. Even if the task ended in a failure, it is beneficial to draw out a candidate’s thoughts about the situation and how they would attempt to reach a successful conclusion if given another chance.

You can learn more about how behavioral interviews are formulated and psychology’s role in its creation by pursuing a Psychology degree. This degree can help you if you choose to create your own business and require your own interviewing process, or it can prepare you for future interviews you will be the candidate for. Online psychology courses can help you begin your journey into fully comprehending the history and skills incorporated in behavioral interviewing, along with other everyday aspects of psychology.

The Importance of Behavioural Interviewing

Behavioral interviewing is a pivotal aspect of modern day recruitment, especially as it provides unique insights into candidates’ past behavior and responses to real-life situations. By delving into their previous experiences, behavioral interviewing can be used to predict future performance, assess cultural fit, and identify crucial soft skills that are often hidden beneath resumes. Overall, its significance lies in making well-informed hiring decisions that lead to cohesive and high-performing teams. This cohesion and collective drive is what ultimately fosters organizational success in today’s dynamic and competitive landscape.

Accurate Predictor of Future Behaviour 

Past behavior is often a strong indicator of how individuals will respond to similar situations in the future, which is why incorporating moments of reflection in an interview are vital. By adding in this reflective period, behavioral interviews provide a clearer picture of a candidate’s actions, offering valuable insights into their potential performance and alignment with the company’s values. This is important to consider for businesses as the costs of hiring a new employee can easily rack up, with statistics from the United States in 2019 determining that the cost of replacing an employee ranges from 1.5-2 times their annual salary.

Revealing Soft Skills

While technical competencies can be assessed through resumes and skill-based questions, soft skills such as emotional intelligence, leadership, and teamwork require a different approach. It is important to remember to assess these skills in an interview as they can often determine whether or not a candidate is suited for a company’s work environment. Fortunately, behavioral interviews provide a glimpse into a candidate’s emotional intelligence and interpersonal abilities, making them indispensable in identifying well-rounded professionals.

Cultural Fit Assessment

Building a cohesive team with shared values and a common vision is vital for organizational success as the potential for interpersonal conflict is lessened while overall drive is heightened. Behavioral interviewing is one of the few interview styles that helps gauge whether a candidate’s behaviors and principles align with the company culture, reducing the risk of mismatches that may lead to poor job satisfaction and high turnover rates.

Handling Real-Life Situations

In today’s fast-paced and unpredictable work environments, employees must tackle challenges and make critical decisions within set time restrictions on a regular basis. Behavioral interviewing assesses a candidate’s problem-solving skills, adaptability, and composure when confronted with real-life scenarios, inferring whether or not they are capable of meeting deadlines with work that is more than acceptable. Attempting unique or strange interviewing methods can also help to assess candidates in the context of the unpredictable nature of the real world, even if it feels different to deviate from traditional interview styles.

The Hidden Skill for Successful Hiring

While the importance of behavioral interviewing is becoming more widely recognised, it still often remains a hidden skill among hiring managers. Many recruiters continue to default to traditional interview techniques due to various reasons, including time constraints, lack of training, or overreliance on resume data. Unknowingly, they miss the opportunity to unlock valuable information about candidates that could significantly impact the hiring decision.

Here’s why mastering the art of behavioral interviewing is crucial for successful hiring:

  1. Reducing Bias: Behavioral interviewing relies on concrete examples of past behavior, making it less susceptible to unconscious first-impression biases that might influence a hiring decision. The importance of reducing bias cannot be overstated, which is why it is also important for any interviewer to be prepared to confront their own internalized biases before beginning an interview.
  2. Unveiling Authenticity: Candidates who prepare for traditional interviews can often give rehearsed responses they have formulated from research into the company or overall industry. However, behavioral interviews require genuine, unscripted answers, revealing a candidate’s true character and capabilities far better than most other types of interview structures.
  3. Enhancing Objectivity: The structured yet intuitive nature of behavioral interviews allows for better comparison of candidates’ responses, facilitating a fair and objective assessment of each candidate’s suitability for the role.
  4. Improving Retention and Performance: Hiring candidates who are the right cultural fit and possess the necessary soft skills often lead to higher employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention. This, in turn, contributes to improved overall performance and productivity within the organization.


In conclusion, the art of behavioral interviewing is a powerful yet often hidden skill that plays a critical role in successful hiring, especially as adaptability becomes a greater focus in the evolving workforce. By focusing on candidates’ past behaviors and reactions to specific situations, hiring managers can gain valuable insights into their problem-solving abilities, emotional intelligence, and overall fit with the company culture. As organizations strive to build high-performing teams that can adapt to evolving challenges, mastering the art of behavioral interviewing becomes an indispensable tool in making the right hiring decisions and fostering long-term success.