The following steps will help you to design behavioural interview questions that are customised to the role you are recruiting for.
Step 1: Identify capabilities and levels
Firstly, refer to the role description and your assessment plan or matrix to identify the capabilities to assess (see Selecting assessment methods). Also make sure you are aware of the capability level being assessed so that you are getting information relevant to the role.
Step 2: Decide capabilities to be assessed for each question
Decide which capabilities you want to assess with each question and think about how these relate to the role. For example, when examining the Manage self capability for a Park Ranger role, you may be looking for something different than for the same capability and level for a Disability Support Worker role.
Step 3: Develop behavioural questions
A good behavioural question allows candidates to draw on their work experience. To do this is to think about the types of situations that are encountered in the role. For example, a Client Services Officer in a call centre is likely to have challenging situations where they need to seek assistance from a more senior colleague or where they cannot resolve an enquiry to the client’s satisfaction. You could base a question on these challenges.
Client Services Officers often deal with clients who are not satisfied with the outcome of their enquiry. Could you tell us about a time when you dealt with a dissatisfied client?
It is important to avoid making questions too specific; asking about situations they may not have encountered or that is unique to your work environment. Your questions should allow all candidates to demonstrate relevant experience that is transferable to the role you are filling. Here is an example of taking a narrow question and making it applicable to a broader audience, while still assessing the capability (in this case Act with Integrity):
|Tell me about a time when you were involved in a procurement process and an external service provider asked you for preferential treatment.
||Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something that went against policy or that you believed was not right.
Finally, if a question doesn’t relate to the role, don’t ask it. See: Australian Human Rights Commission: Questions in job interviews.
Step 4: Probing questions
Probing questions are useful for:
- Drawing out more information – e.g. what was the situation? Can you give an example? What was your role?
- Examining a candidate’s level of self-awareness and commitment to personal growth – e.g. What did you learn from this situation? What would you do differently if faced with a similar situation?
Preparing probing questions in advance allows assessors to be consistent in seeking further information from all candidates.
Step 5: Set standards for rating responses
It is a good idea to set the standards for rating responses when designing your questions. By listing the main points you want candidates to cover you can score responses using a standard rating scale. See set the standards and rating approach for more information.