Behavioural interviewing needs Botox

Behavioural interviewing is looking a bit old and tired.  It’s lost its freshness and newness and what was once tight and firm is now flaccid and floppy.   Behavioural interviewing needs a lift, an injection of freshness, a new beginning.  Behavioural interviewing needs Botox.

Behavioural interviewing is widely used as a method in the selection process and is based on the premise that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour.  I’m not sure…Having just been through several interviews with different companies, all (except one) used behavioural interviewing.  I found myself cringing when an interviewer began the sentence with “Tell me about a time when…”  It all became a bit blah, blah, blah.  These questions are based on what the interviewee has done in the past.  The interview becomes based in the past.  The problem with this is that the past is gone, it’s over, done, finished and probably mostly forgotten (have you ever had to struggle to respond to a question about a project you worked on because you’ve moved on?)  I’d much rather talk to an interviewer about what I will do for the company today and in the future.

You can imagine my delight when I attended my most recent interview, prepared with my responses to the standard behavioural questions, to find out that they were not using behavioural questioning!  The interview began with a scenario that was set in the now and asked questions about what I would do now and how I would manage the issues in the scenario now.  The interview itself asked really smart questions, all of which were based in the present.  My CV was not referred to at all.

So, here’s where the idea about Botox comes in.  In responding to questions based in the present, I am drawing on  my past behaviour but I am applying it to a present situation.  The interviewees get to hear how I would react now, not what I did in the past.  They understand also that my CV is merely a record of past  roles and  achievements and does not need to be revisited during the interview.  So, by not using behavioural interviewing overtly, the interviewer still gets an idea of what I have done in the past by applying a little Botox to the method.

If you use behavioural questioning in your selection process and it’s looking a bit tired, why not inject a bit of Botox and freshen the whole process up?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vicki
    Jan 22, 2012 @ 07:02:28

    Behavioural interviewing needs more than botox. The fact that so many businesses have many staff who they feel aren’t really meant to be there shows the method doesn’t work.
    As you say, the past is over and done with. Who you were then isn’t who you are now. Amending the process and asking what you would do now will give them prosepective employer a much clearer and up to date view of who you are now, and what progress you have made, what new ideas you have.
    At the very least botox is required.


  2. nakedleadership
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 06:28:54

    The concept of behavioural interviewing is sound but as with many tools the way it is used is often drab and mundane. Instead of ‘Tell me about a time…” you can liven up an interview by asking big questions like ” So why us?” or “So why are you here?” or “How would you make this role exceptional?” “How would you handle this scenario?” Remember with most people, you have no way of knowing how much truth is in their CV so the best thing is to test their creative thinking and problem solving ability on the spot. If they can’t come up with something good, either they haven’t really thought about the position or they don’t have what it takes. Using this approach after having reviewed their behavioural profile can get great results and will also leave them with the feeling that you were genuinely interested in what they had to say (and you should be!)


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