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Mastering behavioral-based interviewing

Updated: Mar 26

Radar Talent Solutions is focused on supporting school districts or local governments with high-volume hiring strategies.


Do you ever wonder why you hire candidates for your after school organization and they quickly leave? Or do you quickly realize that they do not meet your standards? They went through the interview process, a reference check, and a background check. They seemed super excited to work with you. But a couple of weeks in, they just aren't working out. Or maybe they didn't show up. 


We see this happen at an alarming rate with our after school clients. Some have resigned to “this is the new normal” or “this industry has such a high turnover rate.” That isn’t false. There is a high turnover rate, and job hopping has become more common in recent years. 


But you can take control of this by developing a strong behavioral-based assessment process for your after school program candidates. 


Understanding the behavioral interview process


Defining key principles:


Every company initiates the process by outlining the crucial principles associated with their organization and the role in question. These principles become the focal point of the interview questions. All interviewers participating in the behavioral-based interviews should calibrate on a rubric for each seniority level, ensuring a fair interview experience. 


Open-ended questions:


Behavioral interviews kick off with open-ended questions, often starting with "Tell me about a time when..." The real value lies not in the initial response but in the subsequent probing that seeks to unravel the intricacies of "how," "why," and "what did you learn."  Look at the question as the warm-up and an opportunity to react to some cues that you sense when you are talking to them.  Maybe they came from a big family and were the caretaker for younger siblings, which would be a great jumping-off point for more discussion.


Evaluation based on principles and seniority:


Responses are evaluated against the defined principles and the seniority or level of the candidate. While different levels don't necessarily entail different questions, the expectations for responses vary.


Your role as an interviewer


Before delving into the nitty-gritty of how to conduct a behavioral interview effectively, it's crucial for interviewers to understand their roles and responsibilities.


Preparation


The best information you will get about your potential candidate will come from a conversation you have with them where they feel comfortable and willing to share. For a successful interview, it’s imperative that you first understand the role you are seeking to fill. Review the applicable role and qualifications immediately before the interview.  Next, spend a few minutes diving into the candidate's information.  This is important for a couple of reasons - so that you can ask appropriate questions based on the information already provided and so that the candidate feels like you are invested.  Avoiding assumptions and acknowledging biases is paramount. Go into this knowing that the act of sharing skills and related experiences is a skill in and of itself that some may find overwhelming.


Participation


Actively engage in the interview; welcome the client, remark on a shared trait from their resume, and focus on specific situations and traits relevant to the role.  All these things will temper any stress and open them up to triggering additional experiences that might be valuable for your interview. Having an open mind and creating an environment for a comfortable candidate to share can significantly change the outcome of information gained. 


Evaluation


Take detailed notes during the interview and refrain from giving indications of the candidate's performance. Evaluate responses based on the predetermined principles and the candidate's seniority. If you are hiring for multiple roles or see a match for something else, note that as well - even if the position isn’t open. 


Outcomes of behavioral-based interviewing


  • Behavioral interviewing is a skill that improves with practice despite initial discomfort.

  • A successful outcome involves considering all feedback and data to make an informed, unbiased decision.

  • If a new hire doesn't meet expectations, reviewing interview notes can reveal overlooked flags and lessons learned.


Mastering behavioral interviews is not just about the questions; it's about creating an environment that allows candidates to showcase their true potential. As interviewers refine their skills, the benefits of this approach become evident in making well-informed hiring decisions.


 

Adam Rosen, CEO and Founder of Radar Talent Solutions, is a seasoned recruitment strategist with a stellar track record in creating, scaling, and optimizing business programs. With notable success at Amazon, where he played a key role in recruiting over 100K+ drivers for Last Mile Expansion during the pandemic, Adam excels in navigating the delicate balance between human interaction and technological scale. His latest venture, Radar Talent Solutions, addresses school staffing challenges and has currently positively impacted over 4500+ Minnesota students. As he eyes national expansion, Adam's success lies in embracing the synergy between human interaction and technology.



Radar Talent Solutions



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