Behavior-based interviewing is a technique that is increasingly being used by employers to help them to better determine how prospective candidates will perform in an actual job situation. This interviewing approach is centered around the idea that a candidate’s past job performance is the best indicator of future job performance.
In using this approach, interviewers ask questions that are designed, again, to enable them to learn how candidates performed in various job situations in the past to gauge how well they will do in similar situations if hired. Because of the effectiveness of this approach in identifying suitable candidates, there are some employers who ask mostly behavior-based questions and some who ask only behavior-based questions during an interview.
The main difference between responding to a behavior-based question versus a more standard question (such as a question about one’s goals or strengths) is that with a behavior-based question the employer is interested in learning about a specific outcome from a particular job situation.
To illustrate this, if you were to be asked to describe a time when you succeeded at work because of your ability to communicate, what the interviewer is looking for is information or a brief retelling about an actual work experience. In this case, you might respond by explaining how you succeeded because of your ability to understand and individually relate to other team members. By answering these types of questions with specific examples including details about relevant skills and personality traits as applicable, you will be able to give employers a more complete picture of how you performed. As a result, they will be better able to gauge how well you are likely to perform if hired.