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DIY (Do It Yourself) Tutorial The Behavioral Based Interview. West Chester University HR Employment Services and Office of Organizational Development Fall 2006. Are you ready?.

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diy do it yourself tutorial the behavioral based interview

DIY (Do It Yourself) TutorialThe Behavioral Based Interview

West Chester UniversityHR Employment Services and Office of Organizational Development

Fall 2006

are you ready
Are you ready?
  • Have you conducted a job analysis, updated the job description and set standards and expectations for the position?
  • If the answer is “yes”, this tutorial will prepare you to choose the best from the rest!
  • Tutorial Objectives:
    • Formulate behavioral based interview questions
    • Effectively prepare you for all six parts of the interview
how to use the competency model to formulate behavioral based questions
How to Use the Competency Model to Formulate Behavioral Based Questions
  • By analyzing the recent past, you are able to:
    • Identify Critical Competencies
    • Identify Critical Success Factors (CFSs)
    • Clarify the “ideal” candidate
step one identify competencies
Step One: Identify Competencies
  • West Chester University Competency Model identifies important competencies that employees should have to support the University’s Plan for Excellence.
  • A list of these competencies can be found in the bottom left quadrant of the HR Office of Organizational Development website
step one identify competencies cont
Vital Competencies (Sample):

Knowledge & Service

Customer Service


Clear Communication

Social, Ethical, Legal & Human Issues


Change Management & Innovation



Resource Management


Quality Assurance



Step One: Identify Competencies (Cont.)
step one identify competencies cont6
“Nice to Have” Competencies (Sample):

Knowledge & Service

Develop Self


Self Management

Social, Ethical, Legal & Human Issues

Promotes Learning from Others

Change Management & Innovation

Change Leadership

Resource Management

Project Management

Step One: Identify Competencies (Cont.)
step two identify critical success factors
Step Two: Identify Critical Success Factors
  • Critical Success Factors (CFSs) are the essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for your department.
  • The History: The idea of CSFs was first presented by D. Ronald Daniel in the 1960’s. It was then built on and popularized a decade later by John F. Rockart, of MIT's Sloan School of Management, and has since been used extensively to help organizations enhance hiring practices and business strategies.
step two identify critical success factors cont
Step Two: Identify Critical Success Factors (cont.)
  • Use your set job standards and expectations to develop your Critical Success Factors
  • Samples of Critical Success Factors (CFSs):
    • Sustain successful relationships with faculty and staff
    • Effectively engage “Distributed Leadership”
    • Actively support the “Plan for Excellence”
    • Set and maintain a level of expected staff performance
    • Provide customer focused training for staff
    • Manage any disruption of business
    • Continually identify and fix broken processes
    • Increase efficiency and reduce institutional memory
step three develop behavior based interview questions
Step Three: Develop Behavior-based Interview Questions
  • What is a Behavioral Question?
    • A description of the situation, competency or critical success factor, the applicant’s actions and results of those actions.
    • Hire for attitude through behavior based questions.
  • Critical Success Factor Sample Questions CSF: Identify and fix broken processes
    • Behavioral: Tell me about one of the more difficult broken processes you had to fix.
    • Theoretical: How would you go about fixing a broken process?
    • Leading: You don’t feel you’d have any difficulty improving our broken processes, do you?
sample behavioral questions
Sample Behavioral Questions
  • Tell me about the most challenging project you have every worked on? What made it challenging?
  • Give me an example of how you coached an underperformer to an exceptional employee. What were your biggest challenges/rewards?
  • What professional development courses or conference have you attended? What did you take away and how did you apply what you learned?
the do s of behavior based interviewing

Ask behavioral based questions

Ask straightforward questions

Emphasize recent past

Seek contrasting behaviors—Lessons Learned

Phrase questions so that the applicant can easily provide negative information

Ask follow up questions where needed; especially on feelings and opinions

Explain that you are taking notes to ensure accuracy.


Use positive reinforcement

Be friendly, open and natural

Show appreciation and praise

Show signs that you are listening to them

Focus talkative applicants

Allow for silence—Applicants need time to think prior to answering

Rate the applicant’s skills against your notes soon after the interview.

The Do’s of Behavior-based Interviewing
the don ts of behavior based interviewing
The Don’ts of Behavior-based Interviewing


  • Ask leading questions
  • Ask theoretical questions
  • Jump to conclusions
  • Ask questions that will get you and the university in legal trouble (see slide on Employment Law)
  • Let vague statements, opinions and feelings get by you
follow up questions
Follow Up Questions
  • Competency Needed: Project Management
  • Interview Question: Can you think of a specific time when you lead a team on an assignment and was faced with resistance.
  • Applicant Answer: There was a new program we had to get off the ground that everyone thought wasn’t going to draw students’ interest. It ended up working and everyone was happy.
    • Be weary of candidate’s vague statements and aware of their feeling and opinion statements.
  • Possible Follow-Up Question/s:
    • How did you get it done?
    • How many people were on your team? Tell me how you overcame the resistance to the new program? What strategies did you use? What made the team members happy in the end?
    • What were some lessons learned through that experience?
    • What would you have done differently? What was your biggest disappointment on that assignment?
crash slide in employment law
Crash Slide in Employment Law
  • Interview questions should never be asked related to these topics:
    • Medical or mental health history
    • Marital status
    • Sexual orientation
    • Age
    • Child care, family planning or number of children
    • Religion or religious beliefs
    • Disabilities
    • Receipt of unemployment insurance, workers compensation, or disability benefits
    • National origin and citizenship
    • Physical characteristics
    • Membership in professional or civic organizations that would reveal national origin, race, religion, or any of the other protected classes
get in the interviewing mindset
Get in the Interviewing Mindset
  • What is the purpose of the interview?
    • Collect information about the applicant.
      • Does the person have the work experience and critical success factors to do the job.
    • Determine not only if the applicant can do the job, but whether he/she wants the job.
      • Who is worth more? A highly motivated person with less experience or a poorly motivated person with a great deal of experience.
    • Give information so the applicant can make a decision.
      • Two decisions that always have to be made. Do you want to applicant and does the applicant what you?
    • Promote good-will.
      • Every interview adds, or detracts from the University’s reputation in the community. Organizations with the best reputations tend to attract the best applicants.
six parts of a behavior based interview
Six Parts of a Behavior-based Interview
  • Part One: Warm-up
    • Make the person feel at ease.
      • You should have already sent the applicant a parking pass, gave specific directions to campus and a campus contact number
      • Now you need to make sure everyone the applicant comes in contact with has read the resume, familiar with the job, thinks positively of the University, has a connection to the position and is genuinely pleasant with positive non-verbals.
six parts of a behavior based interview17
Six Parts of a Behavior-based Interview
  • Part Two: Set the Expectations
    • You should have already communicated the timeframe and with whom the applicant will be meeting prior to the applicant’s arrival.
    • Now you set the specific agenda. Where are the bathrooms…when is lunch…who will the applicant meet, and explain when and whythe applicant is meeting with them?
six parts of a behavior based interview18
Six Parts of a Behavior-based Interview
  • Part Three: Body of the Interview
    • If you are using a search committee, give them advance notice to make sure they know their specific role in the interview process. Each member should have a copy of the resume, agenda, interview questions and have read this tutorial.
    • Ask behavioral-based questions of the applicant.
      • Ask additional related questions to gain clarity or more insight into the applicant.
six parts of a behavior based interview19
Six Parts of a Behavior-based Interview
  • Part Four: Describe and “Sell” the Job
    • You should have already given the applicant a job description prior to stepping foot on campus.
      • Note: A job description is not to be confused with a posting.
    • Talk about the opportunities and challenges of the position
    • Customize the benefits to the applicant—if they disclosed that they have children of daycare age, talk about childcare. Mention health care benefits, fitness center, professional development courses, tuition reimbursement, etc. Contact HR for more specific information.
six parts of a behavior based interview20
Six Parts of a Behavior-based Interview
  • Part Four: Describe and “Sell” the Job
    • Self-disclose: Honestly describe why you joined the company, why you’ve stayed and how you feel about working for WCU.
    • Be a Good Storyteller: Convey information in a memorable or entertaining manner. Remember the 4 C’s—be clear, concise, catchy and compelling.
    • Focus on the Applicant: Make your message relevant to the level of experience and interest.
    • Use Specific visuals, analogies, statistics.
    • Practice…Practice…Practice!
six parts of a behavior based interview21
Six Parts of a Behavior-based Interview
  • Part Five: Applicant Questions
    • Note the type of questions you are being asked.
    • If no questions, don’t jump to conclusions.
      • Talk to other people who interviewed the applicant separately. Perhaps, insightful questions were asked.
six parts of a behavior based interview22
Six Parts of a Behavior-based Interview
  • Part Six: Close
    • Let the applicant know what comes next and the anticipated timeline.
    • Keep in touch after interviewing the good applicants to show you still have interest.
      • Let them know if you have not been able to interview all the applicants.
    • Send a personal thank you.

We hope that you and others involved in the interview process, found this tutorial helpful in choosing the best from the rest!

The WCU HR Office of Organizational Development and Employment Services Thanks You for Making the Investment!