Great Behavioral Interview Questions to Ask

I find that most organizations do a very poor job of interviewing because they don’t ask the right questions to get to know candidates on a very deep level.

Many candidates are well versed in the “typical, surface level, and boring interview questions.” They have practiced their “canned” answers. That’s not good for your organization and team because unqualified and/or poor fits can often breeze through interviews.

They are able to hide their personalities, emotions, behaviors, and intentions.

I created this example interview strategy document with suggested (and specific) questions that you can consider using in the first round of interviews (after an initial screen).

These are a combination of behavioral, teamwork and other types of questions that allow you to quickly dig very deep into an interviewee’s character, beliefs, thoughts, and soft skills.

Very few candidates will have ever been asked any of these questions, which will require them to really think and share their real thoughts and feelings.

In addition to the answers they give, you’ll want to watch (and note) their body language, eye contact, tone, facial expressions, word usage, candor, humor, and if they stumbled answers questions.

You can ask the questions in any order (except the one question for the hiring manager, which is meant to be the last one in the interview). But each question grouping is done in a very specific way.

You should definitely ask additional questions about the skill sets, industry/vertical expertise and more. You also may need to “test” the candidate for specific skill competencies.

I’d always start each interview asking them a question to get to know them. It really doesn’t matter what. It helps some candidates relax. Plus, it’s more fun and not so serious.

At the end of each interview, ask them if they have any questions. If they don’t, that’s a red flag.

The interview order below is in reverse order. I’d start with the most junior person and work your way up to the hiring manager. If you have someone more senior in the interview process, I’d slot them in position #3.

Then, I’d do a group discussion and review the answers the candidate gave you. You can create an interview “scorecard” with your criteria, have everyone score it and share the results with the team.

If you ask questions like these, you’ll know the candidate you want to move forward with to the next stage in the process. You’ll also get rid of people who “opt-out” because they don’t want to be an environment/culture like the one you want. That’s a good thing!

Start Here

Questions for the hiring manager before the interview process. You’d want to share these with the team.

  1. What are three things would make this candidate a great hire?
  2. What are three things would make this candidate a very poor hire?
  3. What does success look like for this person in the first 90, 180 and one year?
  4. What are the top three values that this individual needs to exhibit to be able to work well with the team?
  5. Are there specific skills and/or competencies this person needs to have

Example interview questions if you have a team of four people interviewing a candidate.

Interviewer #4 (The Hiring manager):
What are your impressions of the team here so far?

What qualities do you particularly value in people who work with you?

Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?

Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.

Tell me about a problem you solved in a creative way.

Why are you leaving your current employer?

Last question of the interview: After you leave today, what are the top three things you want me to have heard about who you are? What do you want to make sure sticks with me about you?

Interviewer #3:
What’s your process for handling conflicts? Describe a conflict you’ve had in the past and how you resolved it?

What does being good or very successful at your job mean to you? What are the top three key values you associate with this?

Talk about a time when a co-worker was not doing their share on a project. How did you handle it?

What is one thing you regret most about your past job?

Why do you believe you’ll be a good fit at XYZ organization? Why would you want to be here versus another company?

Interviewer #2:
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? (this is a good one to see someone’s personality).

What is your communication and collaboration style (describe it)? How would others you’ve worked within the past describe it? 

We all make mistakes we wish we could take back. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.

What specifically can someone do to bring out the best in you? 

Interviewer #1:
Ask the candidate something funny or a question to make them feel comfortable.

• Examples: What actor would you choose to play you in a movie? What’s your goto comedy movie that always makes you laugh and why did you choose it?

Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?

Share an example with me on how you have dealt with failure and bounced back from it?

When working on a team, what’s hardest for you?

What one skill would you like to improve and what’s your plan for doing so?

What was your best day in the last five years? What was your worst?

What do you like to do outside of work?

How Great Managers Give Employee Feedback (Video)

Providing effective feedback is an area most managers struggle in. Employees complain to me all the time about their manager’s inability to communicate effectively with them.

Feedback the best way to provide clear communications, improve performance, understand potential issues, create behavioral changes and motivate.

I’ve interviewed more than 100+ senior leaders and managers to get their process of giving employee feedback. I’ve put together seven steps that any manager can use. It’s quick, easy, and highly effective feedback model.

The biggest barriers for employees to do great work are two-fold:

  1. Unclear expectations
  2. Inadequate skills

So a manager’s job is to give very clear directions and specific, explicit feedback so employees know where to aim and how to hit the target. They also get employees additional help and education on skill development.

Great managers provide feedback continuously, focus on employee strengths, and offer criticisms in private (not public forums).

Great managers also create a psychologically safe work environment and allow for healthy conflict and debates. They are willing to admit they don’t have all the answers and make plenty of mistakes.

Here is the model great managers use to provide effective employee feedback. Employees can also use this to.

1) Describe the when and where of the situation. 
2) Describe the specific behavior that you want to address.
3) Describe how the action has affected you or others.
4) Ask them: “I’d like to get your take on it so I better understand what’s going on. Is there something I’m missing? How do you perceive it?” (Then discuss this)
5) Ask them: “What are the next steps you’ll take to change this? How can I help you?” 
6) Proactively offer resources, ideas and guidance to help accelerate change.
7) Record the feedback and follow up

***PLEASE NOTE: Don’t “personalize” feedback, raise your voice or let emotions drive the conversation

Feedback gift, don’t be stingy with it. Employees want it. Lack of feedback is one of their top complaints. Be generous and help them.

You’ll see increased performance and results. It’s a win-win situation

How Could I Have Done This Twice as Good?

Feedback tip: Instead of asking, “Is this good enough” or “Is this what you wanted?” Flip the script! Ask, “How could I have done this TWICE AS GOOD?”

You enroll others in helping you, get more specific, helpful feedback and you’ll instantly improve. 

You’ll also raise the standards of everyone around you. 

Be a Great Storyteller

A wise person once told me, “If you are a great story teller, they will follow you into the fire 🔥 and thank you for the burns.

So live a great life so you have a great story worth following.” 

Top 3 Reasons for Employee Attrition in 2019 & Huge Costs

Top 3 Reasons for Employee Attrition in 2019 & Huge Costs

In looking through 2019 1H research studies here the top three drivers of employee attrition: compensation, career development opportunities and people management. Compensation has leaped into the number one position now. That should be very alarming for HR professionals.

HR should put renewed (or additional) focus attention in these areas and have strategic initiatives to deal with them. 

Compensation is tricky. Employees are figuring out their worth and leveraging it to job hop. Organizations are overpaying for talent because they aren’t developing employees, poor employee engagement and experience and people managers don’t have the necessary skills to manage their employees. 

All three of these go hand-in-hand. It’s not hard to see the linkages.

Compensation has vaulted into the number reason employees quit. That shows even less loyalty and engagement because money trumps everything else. That’s not the case for employees who love their jobs. But it is the case for those below that level.

Compensation really isn’t the issue. The above items go back to poor engagement, culture, teamwork, trust, psychological safety and other fundamentals that are broken. These are the real root causes.

It’s why it’s NOT getting better because it’s not being adequately addressed. It’s Ground Hog Day in 2019 like it was in 2018.

The solutions are much less expensive to deal with the root causes versus the leaves on the trees.

Why Your Self-Awareness is Crushing Your Career Success (podcast)

Why Your Lack of Self-Awareness is Crushing Your Career and Business (click the link to listen to the podcast)

Have you ever admired those successful, confident, motivated, and charismatic people who seem to have it all? They’ve climbed the corporate ladder quickly or started a great business.

They’ve made all the right connections. They’ve mastered networking and how to build relationships. They’re very persuasive and created significant influence with people. And…all of this has opened up limitless opportunities for them.

Their secret? They are self-aware.

Jason Treu, executive business coach, joins Adam this week to share some of the tips he picked up working with influential leaders such as Steve Jobs (Apple & Pixar), Reed Hastings (CEO at Netflix), Mark Cuban, Mark Hurd (CEO at HP), and others.


  • What is self-awareness;
  • Why self-awareness is important;
  • The key concept in understanding self-awareness;
  • How people make breakthroughs to change behaviors;
  • And much more!

Are you self-aware? Listen to this show and find out!

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