Hire Well with Behavioral Interviewing Best Practices

By Steve Daluge – SVP, Risk Control July 13th, 2023

A critical risk control undertaking for group captive insurance member-companies with industry-leading safety records is continually adding safety-conscious and trainable workers to their teams. To enable employers such as these to consistently hire the right person for the right role, Marcia Zidle, business management consultant and principal of Smart Moves Coach, shared behavioral interviewing best practices during Captive Resources’ June Risk Control Webinar.

The Consequences of Poor Hiring Decisions

Zidle, named one of LinkedIn’s top coaches in each of the past five years, indicated that many business leaders aren’t aware of the impacts of poor hiring decisions. She referred to a study by staffing firm Robert Half that quantifies the effects of selecting “round pegs to fit into square holes”:

  • On average, poor hiring decisions cost employers 16 weeks — 10 weeks to move on from the hire and six more weeks to restaff.
  • Employees’ valuable time wasted on recruiting and onboarding averages 52 hours.
  • According to 56% of business owners, poor hiring decisions increase stress on their teams, 30% report increased stress on the hiring manager, and 19% report decreased confidence in the hiring manager’s ability to make good hiring decisions.

Best Practices for Best Fits

Zidle showed webinar attendees how to avoid bad hires with behavioral interviewing, which uses empirical questions that assess candidate performance in similar past situations. This approach is designed to gauge the candidate’s likely degree of success in the position.

Here are three of the behavioral interviewing best practices Zidle shared:

No. 1: Fine-Tune your Shopping List.

Zidle, comparing searches for candidates to shopping for anything, urged hiring managers to take the first step of conducting a thorough job analysis to determine exactly what they need.

The job analysis includes job specifications, standards of performance, and working conditions. Also, the hiring manager can list criteria such as technical vs. people skills and immediate vs. long-term needs. The job analysis yields an updated, detailed job description.

No. 2: Develop Questions to Assess Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs).

Two types of questions can reveal how a candidate applied their KSAs in their past work experience:

  • Open-ended lead questions to confirm the required KSAs. There are two types of lead questions. Behavioral lead questions assess specific skills and attributes. For example, asking candidates how they organize their schedule when facing a hectic day can provide a sense of their time management skills. Situational lead questions take a slightly different approach and reveal how candidates would deal with scenarios they would likely encounter in the role.
  • Probing questions to delve deeper into the candidate’s KSAs. For instance, the interviewer can follow up on a question about how a candidate managed a project they tackled on their own with “What would you do differently?”

Stay out of legal hot water by relating all questions to the job description, not candidates’ sex, race, national origin, religion, disability, age, or family issues. Also, ask all candidates the same questions.

No. 3: Use a Rating Scale and Guide.

Use a rating scale to evaluate each candidate fairly; that prevents hiring from a “gut feel” and the resulting potential legal hot water. Develop a scoring sheet with a scale for rating candidates’ answers from 1 to 5 (poor to excellent) and a comments section. This scoring sheet keeps interviews on track, makes the hiring process fair and consistent, and makes narrowing down the pool easy. Complete one immediately after each interview to avoid mixing up candidates.

When choosing which candidate will receive the job offer, use a decision-making matrix similar to the rating scale for each candidate. List weighted criteria, score each candidate, and offer the job to the one with the highest score.

About the Webinar

This presentation was part of Captive Resources’ Risk Control Webinar Series — regular installments of webinars to educate the group captive members we work with on topics like workplace safety, organizational leadership, and company performance. The thoughts and opinions expressed in these webinars are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect Captive Resources’ positions on any of the above topics.

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