It’s time for the interviews and to see how many, if any, of the interviewees are truly candidates for hire. There are many types of interviewing and the larger the company the more bureaucratic and impersonal the process. Smaller companies tend to be more personal in their approach to interviewing and quicker to make decisions. The commonality between large and small companies is that there is no perfect method to insure the best candidate will be hired. If there was, then in time everyone would be using the same process with the same results. Chances are that whatever process you are using today is different than what you were doing a few years ago, and will be different a few years forward. The point is that the interviewing process is an inexact science.

The framework of the interview remains in tact, though the style may change. By framework I mean etiquette, pre-interview and post-interview communication, and follow-up are consistent over time. Style or content is what changes; specifically the type of interview.

One of the more effective styles to interview potential employees is the Behavioral Interviewing approach commonly referred to as SBO (Situation, Behavior, Outcome).

Basically you are encouraging your interviewee to tell you a story, in a clear, detailed account of their performance in a particular situation. The ‘Situation’ is the background or the set-up of the story. The ‘Behavior’ is what the interviewee did; the action they took. For the interviewer this must present a clear unfolding of events. And finally, the ‘Outcome’ will show or state the result or impact of the behavior or action taken.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the above three aspects of the SBO interview question.

In each case you may need to ask probing follow-up questions to better understand the example provided by the interviewee.

So for the ‘Situation’ some possible probing questions could be what were the circumstances or who else was involved, or what did you notice.

Probing questions for the ‘Behavior’ aspect would be how did you handle the situation, or what did you do.

Useful questions when probing the ‘Outcome’ would be how did the person respond, or how did it turn out, was the task accomplished and if not why.

The process of probing is vital in order to clearly understand the interviewee’s thought process and it allows you to fully evaluate the situation presented before moving on to the next interview question. It also shows the interviewee that you want to fully comprehend the ‘story’ and understand the interviewee’s actions. It encourages the interviewee to share more when they know you care enough to truly listen to their responses.

The interviewing process is not an exact science; however you can enhance your opportunity to select the right candidate by asking the right type of questions.