Behavioral Interviewing is based on the premise that what someone has done in past jobs is one of the best indicators of what they will do in future jobs. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Just looking at a resume with a good pedigree is not enough. You have to ask the right open ended questions and follow up questions to push for details. Typical open ended behavior questions start with “tell me about a time when….” And follow up with “what was your role precisely?” and dig to what they specifically achieved.
Studies show that Behavioral Interviews almost triple the correlation of conventional interviews with job success.
In the pressure for staffing our project teams, we may not ask the right questions or ask them in the way that tells us what we really need to know about the candidate before us.
Following are some sample questions you might want to put in your tool box when you are called upon to interview the players on your next team.
- Tell me about your last project. What was your role on the team? How big was the team? What tools did you use to accomplish the task? Can you show me work samples of use cases you personally created?
- Tell me about a project that you were on with seemingly impossible tasks or deadlines?
- What were the dynamics of the team? How did you accomplish project tasks? What were the results?
- Tell me about a Project Manager you really enjoyed working for. What were the circumstances?
- Tell me about a difficult Project Manager? How did you handle it? What was the outcome?
- Describe a situation where you and your Project Manager disagreed. How did you settle it?
- Give me an example of how you have established trust and credibility with a project manager.
- Users/stake holders play a key role in any project. Give me an example of how you have worked with that group.
- Tell me about a recent split-second decision you made on the job. How did you approach it?
- Give me an example of how you have led Change Management.
- Tell me about a time the user group/stake holders were not involved enough.
Listening – Tell me about a time when you have been effective at a taking vague, ambiguous scope and turning it into a project plan. How did you do it? What was the outcome?
Flexibility – Tell me about a time when the task you were given changed at the last minute. Tell me about a time when your project was canceled? How did you feel about it? How did you handle it?
Organizational skills – Take me through your last project and what you did to organize your tasks? Tell me about a project for which $ or deadline where unmovable. How did you manage it and stay on track?
Presentation Skills – Take me through the most significant presentation you’ve made to a client. In your last project, how did you give your status reports? What frequency, format and what audience?
Common Sense – Tell me about a time when you “stepped out of the box” or away from the methodology to solve a problem. What were the circumstances and what were the consequences? Tell me about a time you took a risk and it failed. What were the results? How did you feel about it?
Sensitivity – Describe for me one of your most challenging “people” issues. What happened and what did you do? What was the outcome?
Honesty – Tell me about a time that you were challenged to do the right thing even though it meant possible negative consequences. Tell me about a time you had to deliver bad news to your Sponsor?
- How have you been described as BA/Project Lead/Project controller?
- Strengths? Give me an example of when you best used all or most of those strengths.
- When have you had to rely on your ability to be influential?
- Often out most powerful learning comes through failure or mistakes. Let me about one of those times for you.
- What was the most frustrating experience in your last project? The most satisfying?
- Who is the best project manager or business analyst you know? What have you learning from that PM/BA?
- When have you been most challenged to keep your cool under pressure? What were the circumstances and what did you do?