How to Prepare for a Behavior-Based Interview

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The first step to a successful interview is preparation. This includes defining the job, reviewing the candidate’s application materials, and understanding how you will be evaluating the candidate in the interview.

Familiarize yourself with the role. Even if you are already familiar with the role you are interviewing for, it is important to review job descriptions or profiles, as well as standard information about the company. Be prepared to talk about the role or the company to answer candidates’ questions.

Review candidate application materials. Before each interview, review the candidate's job history and resume. This will help give context to the experiences the candidate may share during the interview. If you are leveraging assessments, you may review the candidate's results ahead of time. However, keep in mind that while assessments are a great tool and are predictive of job fit, it is important to evaluate candidates’ interview performance independently of their assessment results.

Examine the interview tools. Read through all of the questions you will ask in the interview, as well as the areas the questions are targeting (for example, definitions of key job competencies). Next, review any evaluation forms you will use to rate the candidate’s responses. This ensures you have a good understanding of the interview process and what is being evaluated by the interview. Remember, interviews are most effective when they are structured. Be sure to leverage the interview module that is built into the tool!

Set up your space. Conduct the interview in a private room that is clean and free of distractions, and set sufficient time aside for the interview. This will convey to the candidate that you are making the interview a priority. Make sure you have everything you need to take thorough notes during and immediately after the interview.

Coordinate with other interviewers. If you are conducting a panel interview, coordinate with other interviewers beforehand to discuss the candidate and divide up questions.

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