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Improve Your Interview Process with Behavioral Assessments

July 13, 2020

By: Wendy Sheaffer

The most successful organizations periodically audit and amend their business procedures for both compliance and effectiveness. By doing so, firms continuously improve their operations and retain a competitive edge. However, these audits often overlook one critical area: the interview and hiring process.

You might be thinking that your company’s interview and hiring process is perfectly fine -- that if it’s not broke, why fix it? However, best practices have changed over the years. Since your employees are the lifeblood of your organization, it’s a good idea to review what your hiring teams are doing -- and make any needed adjustments.

Let’s start by exploring the potential pitfalls of the traditional interview.

How the Traditional Interview Falls Short

Ineffective Questions

Interviews are a crucial component of the hiring process. However, if they’re not conducted strategically, they’re little more than a rehash of the candidate’s resume, with a few tired, ineffective questions peppered in. Questions like “what’s your greatest strength?” or “what’s your greatest weakness?” result in an answer that the candidate thinks you want to hear, yielding no useful insight into their projected performance.

Research shows that the best interview questions reveal how a prospective hire would handle a given situation based on how they’ve approached similar scenarios in the past. Implementing the behavioral interviewing technique, you ask the interviewee to recount specific stories from their work experience. Then, what they say reveals a lot about their personality and soft skills.

Some examples of behavioral-based interview questions include:

  • Tell me about a time where you had a conflict with a coworker. What was the situation? How did you resolve it? What did you learn from it?
  • Tell me about a time where you felt overwhelmed by your workload. What did you do to make it more manageable? 
  • Tell me about a time where you missed a deadline. What were the circumstances? How did you get back on track? What did you learn?

Inconsistent Questioning

To compare candidates effectively and fairly, you must put all of them through an identical interview and hiring process. That means interviewers need to ask the same questions to each person in the initial interview -- and score their responses according to a predetermined standard. A scoring rubric can help interviewers provide a consistent and fair interview experience for all job candidates. 

Further reading: Need a little help refining your interview process? Check out our Resources Page for interview guides, interview question ideas, and more.

Interviewer Fatigue and Bias

Depending on your firm’s procedures, your interview process may be long and tedious, requiring extensive candidate research and interaction. So, even though hiring the right people is a worthwhile pursuit, it can be draining. And, when you’re fatigued, you’re not an effective interviewer. You may rush through interviews, fail to process what candidates tell you, and make hasty hiring decisions -- a disservice to the candidates and your company.

You’re biased. We all are. Your personal experience and upbringing have cultivated long-standing beliefs about people. Unfortunately, your biases could cause you to hire -- or decline -- a candidate based on a hunch. The key is recognizing this fact and actively nipping those biases in the bud when they creep in.

How Behavioral Assessments Improve the Hiring Process

So, how do you reduce fatigue, mitigate bias, and truly know your candidates so you can make informed fair hiring decisions? That’s where a behavioral assessment comes in. The assessment takes an inventory of each candidate’s traits, compares it to benchmark data of your current high performers, and translates the findings into useful insight about the candidate’s predicted performance. If administered at the beginning of the hiring process, a behavioral assessment can help you:

  • Avoid interviewing people who clearly aren’t a fit for your organization (saving you time and reducing fatigue).
  • Refine your interview questions to obtain more or deeper information.
  • Hire candidates based on reliable, valid data -- not just a hunch (reduces the potential impact of bias).

How Omnia Can Help

Omnia offers an easy-to-implement behavioral assessment so you can get started right away. Results are instant, digestible, and actionable. If you want even more insight, our team can provide you with an in-depth analysis of your assessment data. Remember: we’re here to help you improve your hiring and interview process so that your company continues to thrive!

Final Thoughts

If you haven’t looked at your hiring or interview process in a while, chances are, it could use some help. When implemented together, behavioral interviewing techniques and behavioral assessments provide you with more reliable and valid information than the standard interview. And, behavioral assessments reduce interviewer bias and fatigue. That means your hiring and interview process is more efficient, fairer, and results in better quality hires for your organization. Talk about a win-win-win!

Wendy Sheaffer

Chief Product Officer at The Omnia Group, an employee assessment firm providing the power of behavioral insight to help organizations make successful hires and develop exceptional employees. Wendy joined Omnia as an analyst in 1998 and is a subject matter expert in using Omnia’s 8 columns as a tool to make more-informed hiring and development decisions and effectively engage staff. She works directly with clients and Omnia staff to provide a deeper understanding of how to use personality data to meet business goals. Wendy provides strategic direction on client requests, projects and product training sessions. For more information, email info@omniagroup.com or call 800.525.7117.

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