THE WORK PLACE: Prepare for behavioural interviews

SHARE   |   Monday, 30 May 2016   |   By Isang Lekhutile

I have attended so many interviews that I have lost count. To be honest, I don’t like interviews. I wish we could be employed directly without going through such a stressful exercise. Even the smartest and most qualified job seekers need to prepare for job interviews. Interviewing is a learnt skill, and you don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression. Interviewing for a job can be nerve-wrecking. You may feel uncomfortable “selling” yourself or fielding unexpected questions. In Botswana, our workforce and network is so small and chances of meeting career peers and ex-employees are so high. And that can be a stressful factor. Interviewing for a job can stress anyone. In small doses, that stress can actually be beneficial, helping you perform under pressure. Interviews range from conversations lasting a few minutes to several formal meetings, sometimes with more than one interviewer.

They allow you to demonstrate that you are the right candidate for the job. If interviews make you nervous, rest assured you are not alone. The better prepared you are, the more relaxed and comfortable you will be when the questions start coming your way. There’s almost never a simple formula when it comes to which candidate goes the distance in a job search, and which one struggles for weeks or months (or even years) to find that perfect connection. Be sure to brush up on your interviewing skills: The hiring process often involves meeting two to three people, and some employers will have you meet with as many as five people. Tell me about a time when…..Yes, being prompted to tell a story in an interview is enough to send you spiralling into panic mode. Every story has a resolution where you tie loose ends together—unless you’re writing a sequel, which I wouldn’t recommend in an interview situation. These inevitable behavioural interview questions are definitely nerve-wrecking. But, they’re nothing you can’t handle.

In my experience I have always preferred the behavioural interviews as they give the interviewee the opportunity to draw from their experience. Interviews in my world, are another opportunity to learn and test my relevance in the market. Behaviour-based interviewing has been around for 25 years, but the practice has recently been gaining momentum with the increasing demand for skilled and competent employees. According to Mark Murphy (Mark Murphy Hiring for Attitude), Behavioural interviewing is a popular and mainstream mode of job interviewing. The premise behind behavioural interviewing is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in similar situations.

The main difference between this type of interviewing and a regular interview is that candidates are asked to give specific examples of how they acted in the past, instead of being asked to share their opinions or ideas. In conclusion in the behavioural interview, effective communication, adaptability and being results-driven are the top skills HR is looking for in candidates. Unfortunately, job seekers miss the mark. While they have listed list communication skills as a top skill set, they tend to forget other top skills they’ve reported, which are leadership and teamwork.