Behavioral Examples in Interview Questions

Behavioral examples focus on specific incidents:

How did you arrange the classroom for the learning teams?

What did you say to the parents who asked the discipline questions?

How did you set up the groups to include the new students?

Rather than offer vague opinions on how students should interact with each other or parents should be addressed. Behavioral questions can be followed up by analysis questions.

Behavioral examples are more powerful than just a source of focused information. According to the extensive theory on critical incidents interviews (Flanagan, 1954), behavioral questions elicit unusually rich descriptions for the interviewer. This is because the on-the-spot recall of the interviewee is more likely to bring up an emotionally loaded topic event than a planned and revised statement or essay. The importance of this spontaneously recalled event may include pride and satisfaction, or the opposite (chagrin, embarassment, anger). The candidate will disclose much information as he/she rationalizes the significant event, and the emotions, to the interviewer.

Flanagan, J. C. (1954). The critical incident technique. Psychological Bulletin, 51(4), 327-358.


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