How to Use Behavioral Interviewing to Build Team Diversity
Hiring is a tricky process and many employers dread having to select new employees. Some still rely on increasingly obsolete methods, and do not understand the interrelatedness of behavioral interviews & team diversity. The rationale often given for such questions as ïtell me about a time when you solved a problemï is that this can reveal core competencies in an applicant.
Increasingly, though, with the expanse of information on the internet, anyone can give a canned answer to these situational questions. All that behavioral interviews reveal, as they are typically conducted, is how well someone has learned the interview game. In today’s world, what an employer needs are employees who fit into the corporate culture and can make contributions to a team. It is possible to use the behavioral interview to find the right candidates, but how this interview type is conducted must be changed. Behavioral interviews & team diversity can work together to reinforce a successful workplace.
Strength in Diversity
The solution for some employers is to rely on networking; they ask their own top employees to bring in someone they know and like, on the assumption that this will provide a clone with all the characteristics of a star employee. This method has a serious flaw, which is that people are not robots. Getting a number of clones working for you will not help a business solve problems, innovate, or boost production. Research has shown time and again that this is achieved via a diverse workforce, which means employees who are not all alike in how they think and act.
The effect of diversity can be dramatic. A 2015 think tank study revealed that the top 25% of companies for ethnic diversity were 35 times more likely to financially perform above the median for their industry than less diverse firms. Similarly, companies in the top 25% for gender diversity were 15 times more likely to financially outperform their less diverse peers in their industry. This study helps to highlight how behavioral interviews & team diversity can be used together.
Know Who You Are
In order to find an employee who is a good culture fit for your organization, you have to identify the key components or values of your company culture. This can take some brainstorming, but developing a solid statement of purpose and core values will provide the road map to determine who fits into your organization and who does not. Behavioral interviews & team diversity will go hand in hand as the questions for the behavioral interview should steer towards identifying the applicant’s values, while allowing for diversity in style and personality.
Design the Interview
Once you have identified core values, script interview questions that are tailored to reveal these values in an applicant. These questions could be written down in a guide, along with a score sheet to rate each answer given by the applicant. An interview guide will ensure that all interviews, no matter who conducts them, will provide consistent information on all potential employees and are directed to the same goals.
The guide should have carefully crafted questions that will enable the interviewer to determine a value match. The interviewer must understand the concept of how behavioral interviews & team diversity inter-relate. If customer service is a paramount value to your firm, you might ask the applicant to describe a time when they helped a customer beyond the bounds of company guidelines. A question like that could reveal the passion for truly aiding a customer rather than perfunctory behavior of a more disengaged employee. Likewise, a startup company might ask an applicant to describe a time when they built something from scratch. This question is looking for evidence of planning and persistence that would be core values to a budding new company. If an applicant does not answer questions like these with much depth or detail, they probably will not be a good fit as an employee.
Don’t Rely on Personal Vibes
Interviewers frequently fall into the trap of choosing an applicant because they felt a subjective rapport. Inexperienced managers can nearly be counted on to hire according to these personal preferences. Inevitably, this decreases diversity as the interviewers are only hiring people who are most like themselves in personality. Even a designed interview guide cannot eliminate this from happening, so it is best to always have more than one interviewer review a candidate. A good rule of thumb is to conduct a panel interview, and then be sure to have the panel discuss a candidate just after the interview is conducted. Interviewers should be prepared to communicate how a potential applicant matched or did not match the most important values sought and provide solid evidence from the interview. Panel members should be able to gracefully accept the choice and decision of the majority.
While you are designing a new interview format to start making smarter hiring choices, have a look at the resources at Mighty Recruiter for additional tips on behavioral interviews & team diversity.