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Behavioral Observations: Present behavior is the ultimate predictor

Posted by Margot Nash on June 3, 2011

Myth: Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Most behavior based interviews are built entirely on this false assumption: they ask questions like "Describe a time in the past when you solved a difficult problem at work," and the candidate's answers are scored according to how you'd like the candidate to behave in YOUR role.  While this approach is often effective, we've found that a different approach to behavior based interviewing might be more predictive: We've seen that PRESENT behaviors (the behaviors demonstrated during your interview) are actually a better predictor of success.

We guide our customers to focus on behavioral observations made throughout the course of the interview in addition to scoring the content of the responses given. Before our customers discover the benefits of focusing on the present, their frustrations often sound something like this:

"Candidate x had all the right skills, abilities, etc... but what I REALLY liked about her was that she answered all the questions in the most direct way. Anyone would immediately trust this person, and that's what we really need."Behavioral Observations Section

While most behavior based interviews would not account for this general observation, Hireology's Elements interview has an entire section devoted to scoring the behaviors (like directness) that you've observed throughout the course of your interaction with the candidate. Our scorecard asks users to carefully evaluate things like the degree to which they would want the candidate on their team, and the level of enthusiasm the candidate displayed towards the role.

Once our customers switch to this model, they feel as though their "gut instincts" were accounted for - largely because the Behavioral Observation section of the scorecard helps them identify real, observable reasons for their inclinations.

Fact: Measuring both past AND present behaviors can yield the most predictive results.

Measuring behavior is crucial to hiring great sales talent. Find out below what else you should be looking for.

how to hire salespeople

Interviewing Help, How to Hire

Margot Nash

About the Author

Margot Nash is Hireology's VP of Product where she integrates her experience in psychology, selection consulting and recruitment into Hireology's platform. As a self-proclaimed "selection junkie," Margot has a true passion for understanding the psychology of success and is determined to pioneer a shift in the way businesses approach the hiring process.