Behavioral Interview - Meaning, Importance & Example

Published in Human Resources Terms by MBA Skool Team, Last Updated: March 31, 2019

What is Behavioral Interview?

A behavioral interview is an interviewing techniques that employers use to evaluate a potential employee based on their past experience to understand the way they can react in various job-related situations. Behavioral interview is one of the most commonly used interviewing technique, which is based on the paradigm that the best reflection of how a candidate would perform is the future is dependent on how the candidate has performed in the past in similar situations. This is based on the belief that behaviours reflected by one in the past is the best predictor of their future performance.

Importance of Behavioral Interview

Behavioral interview style of interviewing emerged in the 1970’s. Candidates are asked to describe their reaction to certain situations in the past by open ended questions on which further probing is possible to gain better and detailed responses. This gives the interviewer a clearer picture of the candidate’s attitude. The questions in such behavioral interviews are developed around the skills, abilities and traits that are required for the candidate to succeed well in the position he/she is applying for in the organization. Typical questions would require the candidate to describe a situation in which he/she has displayed leadership abilities, team-work, communication skills or the ability to resolve conflicts in the past which help the interviewers analyze the candidate’s behavior patterns through his past experiences and thus identify his/her core competencies.


Difference Between Traditional and Behavioral Interview

Traditional interview

Behavioral interview

Questions based on hypothetical situations

Questions based in past experiences

Straight forward questions like “what are your strengths”

Skill based questions like “Tell me how you tackled the situation when you missed a delivery deadline”

Understanding the candidate

Understanding if the candidate has the required skills



Examples of Behavioral Interview

Traditional interview question: “How good are your client communication skills?". To this the interviewee can elaborate all the appraisals that they have received from clients and highlight all his strong points, but that does not help the interviewer in assessing him under stressful situations. This same can be rephrased as an open ended and experience based question: “Tell me about a situation when you had to work with an dissatisfied client and how you managed to tackle the situation”. From the answer of this question the interviewer will be able to understand how the candidate tackles pressure, his communication skills, his ability to adapt to situations and also predict if he will be able to meet the jobs demand.

Advantages of Behavioral Interviews

Some advantages of a behavioral interview are as follows:

1. From the past behaviour of the candidate it becomes easier for the interviewer to predict how they might behave in the future.

2. It results in better hiring decisions which leads to lesser cost.

3. Helps identify candidates who are strong mentally as well as emotionally to take work stress.

However, many in the industry argue that along with behavioral questions it is also important to include other questions to know more about the candidate, their aspirations, career goals, interest in the job etc.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Behavioral Interview along with its overview.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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