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What you should know about behavioral interview?

Guest Author - Helen V. Calalang-Javier, MSN, RNC, IBCLC

Going for a job interview is nerve wrecking especially for first timer or for those who have not been interviewed for a long time. When the preliminary interview is completed with the representative from human resources or nurse recruiter, candidates go for the second interview with the manager or administrator that is hiring. More facilities are adapting behavioral interviewing techniques to find the best match for the job.

The behavioral interview is like any other interview except that it is more focused on ones previous experience. The interviewers consists of a group of 4-5 staff members who will ask specific questions using the master match matrix questionaire that reflects motivation competencies, leadership skills, delegation effectiveness, effective communication, team experience, goal setting, staff development, performance and accountability, etc.

The interview team is usually staff from specific service or units and a staff who does not work in the unit but knows the area or specialty, like the educator/clinical nurse specialist or another manager, and a director of patient care services who is the team leader. Each of the interviewers will be given a set of questions to ask and later will turn in their score based on the candidate’s responses (total score is 100%). A post conference of the interviewers will follow the interview of candidate to discuss how they rate the candidate and to tally the scores given. The higher the score, the better the chance that the candidate will be hired.


Behavioral Interview Questions
In a job interview, it is believed that the past performance is the best predicator of the future performance and has been the basis for the use of behavioral interviewing techniques. The behavioral interview questions used are geared to reflect on the past experiences of the candidates, captures reactions in specific situations that will reflect level of knowledge and expertise, and demonstrates critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision making. The behavioral interview questions must meet 2 criteria:
  • · The questions have no right or wrong answer. These questions allow the candidate to respond to real life situations or events, or give them the opportunity to talk about specific examples in their personal experiences or demonstrate ones ability to problem solve. Most of the questions will start with

      "What if…?";
      "What has been your experience with…?";
      "What has been the most challenging or rewarding or difficult situation(s) when….?"

  • The interviewer must know and anticipates specific answer to the question. There are key response that the interviewer is looking for, for example,
    "What do you think are the characteristics of an effective communicator?"
    The candidate must able to mention in their response that, "to be an effective
    communicator, one must be a good listener." The word good listener is the key response. If the candidate failed to give the key response, this can lead to a lowered matrix score and chances of being hires is slim.

    Here are some more sample behavioral interview questions:
    “Tell me about the time when you handled an abusive family member in your workplace?”
    “In the past, how did you address the issue when you delegated some task to a non- licensed staff and refused to do the tasks?.”
    “When making the patient rounds and you noticed a sudden change in the patient status or appearance, how did you handle this situation?”

Having familiarity with some of these behavioral questions will make one feel at ease during the interview and here are some more calming tips for you:
  • Prepare for interview. Read the standard of care, code of ethics, about the mission statement of facility where you are being interviewed and their various programs that are offered in their facility
  • Role play an interview with someone and rehearse your response. Be succinct and direct in your response. Give short responses unless instructed to give more details.
  • Dress up for success. First impression is lasting.
  • Arrive 30 minutes at the interview place or otherwise instructed.
  • Avoid chewing gum.
  • Smile and give a good handshake upon meeting the interviewer. Be courteous
  • Remained poised and relax at all times. Your body language will speak louder than words
  • Think of the following methods to logically respond to situational questions:

    • SOAPIE (Subjective symptoms-Objective signs& symptoms-Assessment-Plan-Intervention-Evaluation or outcomes) when dealing with specific patient conditions,
    • PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) if questions are related to quality improvement,
    • STAR (S-ituation. T-asks, A-ction and R- esult) when responding to the specific situational questions.

  • Listen well to the question and ask for clarification if the questions are unclear
  • Think and organize your thought.
  • Don’t rush to answer. Speak clearly and slowly, this will allow you to remain calm and think for your answer.
  • When the interviewer, stands and extended their hand for handshake, this cues you in that the interview is over.
  • Thank the interviewer for taking the time to interview. Don’t forget to ask when you will get their feedback and their contact number should you need to call. If you have not received any response in two weeks, give them a follow-up call. This gesture will let the interviewer know that you are still interested.

Good luck and happy job-hunting!




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Content copyright © 2014 by Helen V. Calalang-Javier, MSN, RNC, IBCLC. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Helen V. Calalang-Javier, MSN, RNC, IBCLC. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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