Avoid Bad Hires By Using Behavioral Interview Questions

Identifying a Bad Hire

Lets keep this simple. To know what a great hire is, first lets examine what defines a bad hire.
Bad hires are classified in different ways that range from performance to behavioral issues according to the same NBRI study.

1, 67% quality of their work is lackluster
2. 60% failure to work well with others
3. 59% a negative attitude.

With these reasons why someone is classified as a bad hire in mind, you can see the importance of learning about the candidates past behavior.

The best way to identify potential problems with a new hire during a job interview is through the use of behavioral interview questions. Behavioral interviewing is based on the theory that the best way to predict future behavior is to examine recent past behavior. A behavioral interview question has the candidate probe into their past to give you specific examples of their work and behavior.

Let’s address the top three reasons why someone is identified as a bad hire and what questions you might ask to identify these issues early.

Quality of Work is Lackluster

To uncover lackluster work, you have got to ask behavioral interview questions specific to the unique characteristics of each job. The quality of the work a person is likely to produce is relatively easy to predict once you understand how to construct and utilize behavioral interview questions.

A Behavioral Interview Question is made of at least two parts; an opening and a problem or situation.

1) Start with an opening, such as:

“Tell me about a time when…”
“Give an example of…”
“Tell me how …”

2) Fill in an example similar to the situation or problem they are likely to encounter:

“… you got so caught up closing a sale that you forgot to continue prospecting.”
“… when you did not deliver your client’s (IT, Finance, etc) expectations on time.”
“… missing a project deadline.”

Using these types of questions will help determine the depth of a candidate’s experience. You make an assumption in the question that they’ve done something. The candidate will tell you right away if they have had that experience. If they have had the experience you need to hone in on how much.

Behavioral questions help you draw out specific examples in a candidates background where they have dealt with similar situations.

Failure to Work Well with Others

To find out about a potential new hire’s abilities to work well with others, here are some behavioral interview questions you can use:

• Give me an example of how you have maintained effective relationships with your coworkers.
• Give me an example of a mistake you have made in managing a relationship.
• Tell me about a time when you had to manage a long distance work relationship.
• Tell me about the best team you have been on at work.
• Tell me about a time when you made a positive contribution to a dysfunctional team.
• Tell me about a time when you had to manage your manager.

A Negative Attitude

To uncover a potential negative attitude, after asking any one of these behavioral questions, listen for how well they respond to your follow-up questions regarding Problem, Action and Result, known as PAR:

Problem – ask about the problem or situation they were facing
Action – ask about the actions that they took to address the problem
Results – ask about the results that were achieved by their actions

Are they complaining? Are they assuming the role of a victim? Are they wallowing in a negative tone?

The way these follow-up questions are answered will help you to uncover a candidates negative attitude and their orientation toward personal accountability.


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