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Benefits of Using Behavioural Descriptive Interview Questions When Hiring

Behavioral Descriptive Interview (BDI) questions are used in job interviews to help determine if applicants have the necessary skills and competencies.  They identify behaviours related to effective job performance.

Past Behavior’s:  By asking candidates to describe how they have handled certain situations in the past, employers can better understand how they are likely to respond to similar challenges in the future.

Key Competencies: Gain insight into the applicants problem-solving, communication, teamwork, leadership, adaptability, and decision-making skills.

Cultural Fit Assessment: Assess whether a candidate’s values, attitudes, and behaviors align with the organization’s culture and values and if the candidate will be a good fit for the team and the organization as a whole.

Comparing Candidates: By asking all candidates the same behavioural interview questions, employers can more easily compare responses and make informed decisions about which candidate is the best fit for the role.

BDI questions create a pattern that takes all applicants through the same performance topics with specific questions that focus on on a desired competency area such as: communication, time management, problem solving, creativity and leadership.

BDI questions can be developed by using these stems to start each question:

Describe a situation in which …

Tell me about a time when …

What was the (most rewarding, most difficult, most interesting) …

How have you assisted in …

What roles have you played in organizations which …

Give me an example of …

To avoid discriminatory interview practices, remember to link BDI questions to the job description by designing them based on specific competencies that were outlined in the job posting or advertisement. 

You can also use probes to gather additional information as long as you use the same probes for all of the applicants you interview.

Below are some examples of BDI questions:

Tell me about a time when you participated on a team project.  What was your role in that project and your contribution to the team?

Describe a specific situation when you worked with a difficult team member.           

(Probe: What was the outcome and is there anything you might have done differently given this experience?)

Describe a leadership role that you have fulfilled one of your previous positions.

Give me an example of how you were able to develop customer loyalty in a previous sales position.

What was the most interesting position you have held?            

(Probes: Describe what was the least and most challenging about that position.)

What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?

Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem.

Describe a situation in which you found a creative way to overcome an obstacle.

Tell me about a time that you identified a need and went above and beyond the call of duty to get things done.

Tell me about a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation.

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