Behavioral-based interviews provide foundation for in-depth candidate assessments

Last year, we had conversations with more than 15,000 prospective candidates to determine not only their level of interest in an opportunity but also their level of qualification for a role. A résumé may highlight aspects of a career, but it takes more than a high-level overview to assess how prepared a leader is to take on a new role.

Our firm utilizes behavioral interviewing techniques when assessing candidates for fit, covering technical and soft skills as well as cultural fit and future success, in each and every search engagement we enter. While our assessments come from the culmination of résumé reviews, telephone qualifications and ad-hoc interactions throughout the process, the core of the assessments emanates from our in-depth behavioral-based interviews.

Often times, these questions coincide with key traits an organization wants to see in its workforce. Some common behavioral-based interview questions might include:

  • Give an example of a time you had to handle conflict with a team member. How did you resolve it? (TEAMWORK)
  • Describe a time when your team or organization was undergoing a significant change. How did you adapt? (ADAPTABILITY)
  • Explain a scenario when you had to persuade stakeholders to see things your way. How did you manage that? (COMMUNICATION)

The Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) recently published an article further explaining the validated technique of behavioral-based interviewing that our firm utilizes. Following is that article:

Behavioral Interviewing: What It Is, Benefits & More

In the ever-evolving landscape of the executive search profession, the ability to find and select the right leaders is crucial for driving organizational success. Traditional interviews, although widely used, often prove insufficient in accurately assessing a candidate’s suitability for a leadership role. This is where using behavioral interviewing to differentiate yourself from the competition can give you a distinct competitive edge.

Behavioral interviewing offers a comprehensive approach that goes beyond surface-level assessments. It enables executive search professionals to gain a deeper understanding of a candidate’s past behaviors and, in turn, predict their future performance. By exploring a candidate’s behavioral patterns, this interviewing technique provides valuable insights to determine their fit for a leadership position. 


Behavioral interviewing is a technique that takes you beyond the surface when assessing qualifications and skills. It dives deep into a candidate’s behavioral patterns by exploring their past experiences and actions in professional settings.  

Forget about hypothetical questions – behavioral interviews invite candidates to share real-life instances where they encountered challenges, made critical decisions, or showcased their unique behaviors. It’s like peeling back the layers to gain a genuine understanding of their competencies, problem-solving abilities, and how they can add to an organization’s culture. By analyzing these stories, you can gain valuable insights that help find the perfect match for the position. 


Enhanced Predictive Validity 

Behavioral interviewing has proven to possess high predictive validity, making it a valuable tool in executive search. By examining a candidate’s past behaviors, executive search consultants can assess their potential for success in a particular role. The idea that past behavior is a reliable indicator of future performance enables organizations to make more informed hiring decisions and minimize the risks associated with selecting leaders. 

Comprehensive Soft Skills Assessment 

Executive roles require a blend of technical expertise and soft skills. Traditional interviews often struggle to evaluate a candidate’s soft skills accurately. Behavioral interviewing provides a platform to probe into a candidate’s soft skills, such as leadership, communication, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. By analyzing specific scenarios from the candidate’s past, executive search professionals can gain deeper insights into their ability to navigate complex situations, influence others, and drive organizational growth. 

Culture Add Evaluation 

Assessing culture add is vital in executive-level hiring as the focus shifts from mere fit to seeking leaders who can bring a fresh perspective and enhance the existing work culture. Behavioral interviewing enables executive search consultants to evaluate a candidate’s potential culture add. By delving into a candidate’s past professional experiences, behaviors, and values, executive search professionals can determine how these unique qualities and perspectives can enrich a company’s ethos. This evaluation ensures a seamless integration of the candidate into the organization’s team and culture, fostering an environment conducive to growth and innovation. 

Structured and Objective Evaluation 

One of the key advantages of behavioral interviewing is its structured nature, which ensures consistency and objectivity in the evaluation process. By utilizing a standardized set of behavioral questions, executive search consultants can conduct fair comparisons between candidates. This approach minimizes bias and enables more objective decision-making, resulting in the selection of the most suitable executive for the role.