A job interview is the most used tool in the employment decision making process. Yet entrepreneurs often make numerous hiring mistakes, such as asking interview questions that don’t provide them with the information they require to make an informed decision. Usually, this problem occurs because the wrong interview technique is used, and not through any lack of skill on the interviewers’ part.
So which interview technique is the best for your organization, and why? First, let’s discuss what the four different interview techniques are. Then, we’ll review some sample questions, and finally we’ll list the reasons why one of the interview techniques far outstrips the rest, and why.
Interview Technique #1: Traditional
Traditional interview techniques involve asking questions directly related to one’s background or resume. Traditional interview techniques normally use leading questions – meaning it is relatively straightforward for the interviewee to determine what the interviewer is looking for. For example, “What do you think about having some problems working in a goal-oriented environment?” is a traditional, leading interview question. Many interviewees prepare and have canned answers ready for traditional interviews, because they are the most commonly used of the interview techniques as well as the easiest to answer.
Interview Technique #2: Case
The case interview technique involves offering the interviewee a hypothetical situation, and asking them how they would respond to the situation. Oftentimes the candidate is asked to think out loud while working through their response. A ‘correct’ answer would entail some sort of forethought, analytical skills, questioning ability, troubleshooting knowledge and follow-through. Although not as easy to prepare for as the traditional interview technique, case interviews still rely on how a candidate feels they would want to react in a particular situation, rather than how they have in the past.
Interview Technique #3: Situational
Situational interview techniques are frequently used with traditional interview techniques. Where a traditional interview question provides a quick and straightforward answer, situational questions offer a more in-depth view of the candidate’s thought processes. Not as thorough as the case interview technique, situational interview techniques involve asking questions such as, “What would you do if…?”
Interview Technique #4: Behavioral
Behavioral interview techniques are the least frequently used, as well as the most thorough of the four interview techniques listed here. Where case and situational interview techniques ask hypothetical questions, behavioral interview techniques ask for real-world examples of a specific skill. Where a situational question may determine how the candidate may want to react in a given situation, a behavioral question will outline how the candidate did react, why, and what the outcomes were. For this reason, behavioral interview techniques are the only interview technique considered to provide a high level of accountability.