The Power Interview

Behavioral Interviews are Key 

Submitted by Shel Myeroff, President, Direct Recruiters, Inc. March 2007

An interview provides the hiring manager with a perfect opportunity to identify the applicant best qualified and suited for the organization. Certainly true if the interview is conducted properly and the hiring manager is incorporating the best interviewing practices. However, over the course of my 25 years as a recruiter, I’ve witnessed my share of typical interview questions that yielded nothing but a lot of talk. These interviews go nowhere and glean very little. In fact, according to the Chally Group, a Human Resources consulting firm and authors of The 9 Most Common Hiring Mistakes, the typical interview increases the likelihood of choosing the best candidate by less than 2%. You would have a better outcome by flipping a coin. At least those odds are 50-50!

In my quest for the best interview process, I discovered that Behavioral Interviews can be the best tool to identify candidates who have the behavioral traits and characteristics that you have selected as necessary for success in a particular job. Results of behavioral interviews have been so effective that I like to call the process “Power Interviewing.”

During a behavioral or “power” interview, candidates are asked to pinpoint specific instances in which a behavior was exhibited in the past. One of the best questions to start with is “Can you please describe your most significant accomplishment?” This will help you gain insight in the results achieved as well as the process used to achieve these results. It can also be the start of a 5 to 10 minute conversation revealing intelligence, problem solving abilities and team work and how they would relate to the specific job.

Following the initial question, it is important to tailor and apply the behavioral approach to the position at hand. For example, when looking to fill a Sales Rep job, you would be interested in knowing about a successful track record in selling as well as customer account and relationship management. Some questions you might want to ask the candidate include:

 Tell me about how you obtained a new customer through networking activities and how did you approach them?
 Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
 Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
 Give me an example of when and how you motivated others.
 Think of a time when your integrity was tested. How did you prevail in this selling situation?

With answers to questions such as these, you can make comparisons between candidates and their selling styles, therefore allowing you to select the best fit for your company.

To get started on the path of power interviewing, I suggest doing your homework by reading some of the many books and articles available on this topic.* In addition, contact those who are already using this practice. I also recommend attending professional training sessions. The upfront work you do is paramount in making your next interview effective and successful.

* Additional Resources:

1) Beyond a Gut Feeling, By Paul C. Green
2) Behavioral Interviewing Guide, By Tom S. Turner

Web Sites:

Direct Recruiters, Inc., Human Capital Resource Specialists since 1983, focuses on Supply Chain, RFID, Mobile Enterprise, Identification Labels, Packaging, and Material Handling. Top industry companies rely on DRI to help build solid teams in Sales, Sales Management, Marketing and Technical Support.

For more information, contact Shel Myeroff, CPC, 31300 Solon Road, Ste #4, Solon, Ohio 44139, 440-248-3370, e-mail, and