What does a great interview look like?

An interview done right is a good method for identifying who is likely to perform well and not. There are a number of things that will characterize a good interview. 

  • First, the interview is standardized, with pre-designed questions. This ensures that all candidates are treated equal, and the level of subjectivity will decrease. 
  • Second, the interview assesses actual behaviour from real experience. Past behaviour is a better predictor of performance, compared to hypothetical reasoning and intentions. 
  • Third, it is possible to rate the answers in a quantitative way. This will make it easier to objectively compare candidates.

This type of best practice interview method is often referred to as a structured interview, which serves as a strong predictor of future success in the job. 

Focus on 3-4 key skills or behaviours

  • focus on a few things
  • prepare ahead of time

What questions do I ask?

A good format for asking questions in a structured interview is Situation-Behaviour-Result (SBR). Start by asking for a specific situation that is relevant for the skill that you wish to assess. Follow up by asking what the candidate actually did, and finally the outcome and result of their contribution. 

Ask for 2 or 3 different situations for each skill to get a comprehensive picture of past behaviours. Discuss each situation in turn. Below are some examples of how to prompt the candidate for more information.

Situation

  • Can you describe the situation?
  • What was the cause of the situation?
  • What happened exactly?
  • When was this?
  • Who was the customer or client?
  • Who was involved?
  • What was expected of you?

Behaviour 

  • What exactly did you do?
  • Can you describe the steps you took?
  • What was your reaction?
  • What was your role in this situation?
  • What was your contribution?
  • What did others contribute?

Results

  • What were the results of your actions?
  • How did your actions contribute to your goals?
  • What were the consequences of your actions, short term and long term?
  • What reactions did you get from others?

What is next?

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