Behavioral Interview Red Flags

Behavioral interview questions are open-ended. They focus on past work experience and work situations that let a candidate share their reflections in real-time. Topics typically revolve around communication, growth potential, professionalism, and motivation. This tends to be the best way to assess an applicant’s soft skills. When listening to each person’s responses, make sure to look for signs that there may be a problem with how they handle certain situations. If the candidate had issues in the past, they may repeat them in the future.

Look for these red flags when conducting a behavioral interview.

Communication Problems

Behavioral questions related to communication involve how the candidate interacts with others in specific circumstances. For instance, “Tell me about a time when you had to come to an agreement with a colleague who had a different perspective than yours. Which steps did you take to build understanding?” Look at the candidate’s thought process behind how they communicated, the steps they took to address the conflict, and the outcome of the situation. Red flags include any sign of emotional distress that can signal having a hard time separating business instincts and personal feelings. Focus on whether the candidate assigned blame to the other person. This may indicate a lack of business maturity and problem-solving skills.

Impacted Growth Potential

You can learn about a candidate’s coachability and humility by focusing on how they tell their story. One question you may ask is, “What did you learn about yourself in your most recent position?” Pay attention to any perfectionism or a fixed mindset about their skills, which typically interferes with growth potential. If the applicant cannot clearly explain how they added to their skill set, or they undermine their abilities, they likely will not exhibit confidence in their next role.

Lack of Professionalism

Even if the position does not require daily interaction with clients, customers, investors, or members of the C suite, you need to know whether the candidate can behave professionally with these groups of people. You may want to ask, “Give me an example of a time you used a unique approach to solve a difficult client or customer problem. Did you receive any unanticipated results?” Pay attention to whether the applicant shows that their priorities align with your company’s. Red flags may include the candidate answering with negativity or cynicism, or their anecdote being unrelate. If the applicant cannot draw logical conclusions related to the position, they may not be prepared for the interview or fulfilling the job responsibilities.

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