Staffing Management

How Do We Determine an Applicant’s Flexibility and Problem-Solving Skill?

By Staff Report

Nov. 16, 2011

Dear Hiring for Attitude:

Behavioral-based interview questions will help you determine whether a candidate possesses the behavioral traits you seek for the position. Behavioral-based interviewing is based on the theory that past behavior and performance predict future behavior and performance.

For example, if you would like to get a feel for the candidate’s adaptability, you might ask:

“Describe a situation when you had to adjust to changes over which you had no control.”

A candidate’s flexibility may become evident in the answer to a question such as:

“Give an example of a time when you had difficulty persuading someone to your point of view. What did you do?”

And the following questions are useful to uncover a candidate’s problem-solving ability:

• “Describe the most difficult working relationship you’ve had with a fellow employee, team member or supervisor. Were you able to improve the relationship? How?”

• “Tell me about a time when you did something completely different from the plan or assignment in order to solve a problem.”

Follow-up questions that delve deeper into the candidate’s answers are critical to getting an accurate read on these traits. After the candidate describes a situation and his or her behavior, follow up with questions such as. “Why did you take that action? What was the outcome? How could you have handled it differently?”

Compare the candidate’s answers with the specific traits essential to success on the job so that you can determine whether he or she is a good match for your company.

SOURCE: Deborah Millhouse, CEO Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina

LEARN MORE: Use pre-assessment tests carefully, never using them as the sole basis for a hiring decision, experts say.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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