Are Behavioral Interviews Effective Assessments?

Behavioral interviews are a mainstay of the hiring process, but are they actually effective assessments?

While the popularity of this interview format might lead you to assume the answer is yes, it’s important to examine the question critically. In addition, employers should constantly seek new ways to reveal competency in potential employees rather than overly relying on familiar tools.

In this post, we examine the behavioral interview, the value it provides in hiring, and other solutions that can be even more effective at assessing the skills of candidates.

What Are Behavioral Interviews?

Behavioral interviews are a job interviewing technique that incorporates narrative recall methods to determine a candidate’s suitability for a position.

Instead of asking an interviewee how they would behave in a hypothetical situation, In a typical behavioral interview, the candidate is asked to recount how they acted in an actual situation. For example,  a candidate might be asked to describe a time when they were at odds with a coworker and explain how they resolved this conflict.

When Are Behavioral Interviews Effective?

Behavioral interviews help you understand a candidate’s thought and decision making processes in key experiences, projects and roles that are relevant to the position  you’re hiring for. Interviews can reveal a candidate’s behaviors in specific instances, as well as their general philosophy in regard to conflict resolution, problem solving, and other core competencies.

Although behavioral interviews give employers insights into a candidate’s past behavior, they do not reliably jndicate future behavior. Despite conventional hiring wisdom, you simply aren’t getting a wide enough scope of behavior examples from a few narrative recalls to accurately judge how a candidate will perform as an employee.

So, are behavioral interviews effective? While behavioral interviews can be a solid resource for assessing a candidate’s past behavior, they have  limited effectiveness for predicting future behavior

Are There Better Ways to Assess Candidates Than Through Behavioral Interviews?

A much more reliable and cutting-edge,=approach to assessing candidate’s future behavior is through skill-based assessments, especially those backed by machine learning.

Skill-based assessments utilize open-ended questions about real-world situations to assess the actual behavior and problem solving strategies candidates use ijn the present. Skill-based assessments are more effective than any of the standard multiple-choice assessments or behavioral interview techniques because,, they force candidates to work through job-relevant scenarios and formulate a response on the spot as opposed to recalling something that has already happened.(CAE).

Authess provides a platform for candidates to be assessed with Skillmetric and other real-world scenarios.I  SkillMetric analyzes candidates’ actions within the platform using machine learning, drawing on a performance metric database to objectively rank candidates.

An example question in Authess might look something like this:

You are an account executive tasked with meeting a monthly sales quota of $25,000. The deadline is one week out and you have closed $22,350 so far. You are currently in talks with a potential client about opening an account valued at $3,000, but negotiations have been dragging on. The prospect has expressed hesitancies about paying the bulk sum upfront and has asked about the possibility of paying in installments. You know from previous discussions that the prospect has the requisite capital to pay the full amount immediately, but you also know that pushing too hard on that front may lose you the sale entirely. There is potentially enough time to source a new lead and close a sale, but with the deadline so near it isn’t a sure bet. How do you proceed in this situation?

By testing candidates with scenarios like those they will encounter on the job, you can more accurately assess candidate fit with your open jobs and make better hires.

Looking Towards The Future Of Interviewing

There will always be a place for traditional interview techniques, and behavioral interviews are good for building rapport while learning about a candidate’s past approach to relevant experiences.  

However, when it comes to accurately assessing the potential of future hires, skill-based assessments out-perform behavioral interviews in all categories.

By testing candidates with role-based, real-world scenarios, you measure how potential employees solve problems and approach challenges, giving you meaningful and objective insight into their potential. Performance-based critical thinking assessments such as SkillMetric reveal whether a candidate can work through the demands of the job they’re interviewing for as opposed to simply telling you what they’ve done in the past.

SkillMetric assessments hosted in Authess analyze how your candidates and employees work through role-specific scenarios and compare performance to exemplar benchmarks. By leveraging AI to score these authentic tasks, Authess is able to reliably indicate proficiency levels from “emerging” to “advanced,” thus helping you compare talent in regard to  critical skills required for their role.


Tested in this way, candidates and employees are given practice navigating challenges they must overcome while on the job, and you are given insight into their future behavior.

To see how Authess provides insight into the current behavior and future potential of candidates and employees, schedule a demo here.