Using Behavior Eliminates Misunderstandings About Applicant’s Past Experiences.
Many interviewers try to be amateur psychologists when the interpret data about applicants. Somethimes they are right, for sale but many times their interpretations are wrong. An interviewer who spends half the interview discussing an applicant’s early childhood to get some clues as to his motivation is playing psychologist. So is the interviewer who asks an applicant to give three words that describe themselves, hospital or to name three strengths and weaknesses.
In behavioral interviews, look interviewers are trained to use what they can understand best about applicants – their behaviors, actions,
accomplishments, and past experiences. As a result, predicting
what an applicant will do on the job becomes more accurate.
Using Behavior Prevents Personal Impressions from Affecting Evaluation
It’s easy to “misread” people when an interviewer uses personal
feelings, opinions, or attitudes as a background to interpret their
past actions. For example, an interviewer should not assume that
an applicant is highly motivated to do the job just because he or
she got good grades in school. Maybe the applicant took easy
courses or was very bright. The same applies to the applicant who
received some special award or citation. Perhaps there were few
competitors. Maybe it was just a chance happening. Interviewers
who are highly motivated and strive to achieve success tend to see
these characteristics in others. They may interpret facts gained in
the interview in terms of what these characteristics mean to them,
rather than what they mean to the applicant.
An applicant’s past behavior is fully investigated in a behavioral
interview. The applicant is asked to describe past actions, the
situation surrounding those actions, and their results. As a result,
interviewers replace evaluations based on personal opinion and
belief with evaluations based on facts. In this way, applicants are
evaluated on their own merits.
Using Behavior Reduces Applicant “Faking”
All applicants try to put their best foot forward and make a good
impression on the interviewer. They all hope to “win” the job by
talking about what they would do if hired, the problems they could
solve, or the skills they would develop. Applicants might even
describe the knowledge, skills, or abilities they would put to use on
the job. This positive-sounding information may lead the
interviewer to believe the applicant is more skilled than he or she
Applicant “faking” is greatly reduced in behavioral interviews.
Applicants are pinned down to exactly what they did, not what they
know about, would like to do, or say they would do in the future.
An applicant talks “facts” in a behavioral interview!
Because behavioral interviews are discussions of behavior, an applicant quickly learns he or she will be asked to give specific examples of past actions. This makes applicants reluctant to make up or “shade” information because they fear being discovered as the interviewer probes and questions to pin down exactly what they did.