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How To Stop Playing the Interviewing Guessing Game

Note: This is the second post in a four-post series on the biggest technical interviewing mistakes commonly made by employers. Read the intro post to the series here.

Decades of research shows that behavioral interviews is far more predictive of future job performance than traditional interviewing—5.5 times more, according to a landmark 1986 University of Notre Dame study.

Despite this, many employers continue to play the guessing game of traditional interviewing. In fact, it’s one of the three biggest technical interviewing mistakes we see.

Here’s a closer look at what employers should be doing—behavioral interviewing—and look at a method that will help you conduct quality, insightful behavioral interviews that deliver high-performing talent.

What Are Behavioral Interviews?
In behavioral interviews, candidates are asked questions about their past experience with important job characteristics for a given role. By getting complete behavioral examples (more on this later) for each important characteristic, you learn which candidates have the skills and experience to succeed at the role—and which don’t.

How Do You Properly Conduct Behavioral Interviews?
More than one approach can help you obtain the insights you need to unlock the predictive value of behavioral interviews and make better hiring decisions.

That said, one we like, especially for employers who are just getting into behavioral interviewing, is the SHARE approach, which is laid out in the book “Behavior Description Interviewing,” written by Dr. Tom Janz, now chief science officer at Plenarium.

SHARE is an acronym, with the component letters standing for:

  • Situation—The situation in which the skill or competency was used.
  • Hindrances—Challenges candidate faced in situation.
  • Actions—What the candidate did to overcome challenges, and why.
  • Results—The outcomes of the action.
  • Evaluation—How the candidate judges the effectiveness of the actions.

Let’s use a quick example to show how the SHARE approach works in action. Suppose you are hiring for a tech role that requires using the packet analyzer Wireshark. In the interview, your interviewer might say to the candidate, “Your resume says you’re proficient in Wireshark. Share with me a time you’ve used Wireshark for a network issue.”

During the candidate’s response, your interviewer would listen for each component of SHARE to ensure it was fully addressed, while also analyzing the overall strength or weakness of the response (for tech roles, the interviewer needs relevant tech experience to do this analysis). If any component wasn’t fully addressed in the response, the interviewer would ask a follow-up question to get a complete answer. If an answer seemed weak, the interviewer should probe deeper.

Ultimately, when you use behavioral interviewing effectively, you’re generating detailed profiles of candidates’ job-relevant skills and experiences—profiles that show if candidates are suitable for a role. For hiring purposes, that sure beats the guessing game of traditional interviewing.

Prior in this series – 3 Common Technical Interviewing Mistakes That Can Spoil Your IT Hiring

Next in this series – Stop Losing Candidates Because Your Technical Interviewing Takes Too Long