How to Hire Who You’re Looking for & Thrive

 “Madness is doing the same things
and expecting different results.”
– Albert Einstein

If you continue doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Ironically, traditional interviews have less than a 30 percent chance of predicting job performance, yet people continue to conduct them risking personal career growth while wasting time, money, and resources. There are more exciting ways of living dangerously.

People persist with the traditional format of interviewing because they know it and are comfortable with it. Furthermore, it allows interviewers to ask a significant amount of questions in a short period of time building a false sense of “accomplishment.”

Too bad the questions have become platitudes and websites publish the top 100 along with the “right” answer which almost every candidate has memorized. Hardly a success formula for extracting the critical information you need.

Hiring talent on the basis of knowledge, skills, and experience – or – asking candidates how they would act in hypothetical circumstances (situational interviewing) is outright dangerous. The former reveals nil about their behaviors and beliefs, the latter does not mean that people will actually do what they say.

To improve your hiring success rate, choose behaviors as the primary focus of the recruiting process.

Here’s why:


  • Optimal performance is the result of timely, appropriate, and successful behaviors.
  • Behaviors combine knowledge, skill, and drive in one ultimate outcome: productivity.
  • Contrary to knowledge and skills, behaviors are not trainable.
  • Behaviors are physical evidence of what people value – a determining factor in their motivational drive.
  • Behaviors are observable and measurable providing objective performance data for evaluation.

Here are five ways to get started with behavioral-based interviewing:

  1. Determine and Define Desired Behaviors. Make a comprehensive list of the required behaviors and concentrate on the mission critical ones first to ensure the necessity of a second round of interviews. Solicit input from others in your organization on the top three qualities necessary for success in this role.
  2. Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail. Plan and directly tie each interview question to the behaviors for success in the position. This structured approach ensures that each answer contributes to the interview process. Stick with the questions and trust the process.
  3. Design Behavioral-based Interview Questions. Begin questions with, “Describe”, “Tell me “, and “Give me an example” to elicit examples of actual current and past behaviors. Solicit negative and positive events to gauge specifically what the candidate did–or didn’t do.
  4. Observe and Interpret Behavior. Ensure candidate responses are congruent with their verbal and non-verbal communication. When answers are falsified, most people will demonstrate unease.
  5. Develop a Rating Scale. Rating answers numerically minimizes subjectivity and facilitates the comparison of candidates against the same criteria for ultimate selection.
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