Behavioral interviewing is a method of interviewing asking candidates for real situations they were in to help get a feel for how well they could handle required tasks and fit into your organization. It is really capitalizing on our ability to take a story and pull out meaning. Asking a candidate, â€œCan you do X?â€ results in a yes/no response but asking them to describe a time they did X results in a story. According to Dr. Stuart Brown of the National Institute of Play said, â€œThe unit of intelligibility is the storyâ€.
So, with all that in mind, have you ever used behavioral interviewing to determine if you should work with a given vendor or service provider? How about in your reference calls? Asking a question like, â€œPlease describe a time when youâ€¦.â€ will yield far different results than a more typical, â€œHave you done X?â€
Service providers want to say they can do anything you need but how can you be sure? Ask them to describe a time they went above and beyond for a client or what was their most challenging problem to solve and how did they solve it.
The last stage of references is of course is to provide them to the client. Instead of just giving them dry, similar responses, because you asked behavioral interviewing style questions, you now have something unique that can truly provide insight into the candidate.
For example, if I did a reference on a former co-worker of mine, I would say he was hard working, diligent, knowledgeable and accommodating. Great. But if you ask for a story, I would tell you:
â€œThe President called me in and asked for a new piece of software. We were overloaded with work, everyone was stressed and I dreaded having to ask him to work on it. When I got back to the office, before I even said anything, he looked at my face and said, â€œwe can do whatever it isâ€”weâ€™re all in this together.â€ We then worked together on the project spec, I was able to reassign some of his other projects to someone else because he had them documented so well and he completed the new project ahead of schedule.â€
WOW! Donâ€™t you want that guy working for you? And if you can then tell about how the manager told the storyâ€”she was clearly still grateful for his attitude five years laterâ€”it solidifies an already impressive reference.
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