Sample Behavioural Interview Questions for Assessing the Executive by t8929128


									Sample Behavioural Interview
 Questions for Assessing the
   Executive Leadership
    Competency Profile
Introduction to Behavioural Event Interviewing

Competency based selection is the best predictor of performance on the job; therefore the
selection process uses competency-based assessment tools to evaluate candidates.
Behavioural Event Interviewing is a competency based assessment method that uses
customized questions related to the Executive Leadership Competency.

The sample questions found in this guide aim at having candidates for executive positions talk
about times when they had to show certain competencies. Candidates will be asked to recall
events when they demonstrated a given competency. For this purpose one example interview
question is suggested in this document for each competency of the Leadership Competency
Profile for Executives.

Assessing the Leadership Competency Profiles for Executives

The Leadership Competency Profile for Executives contains 6 competencies. These are
defined broadly, as multiple concepts are found within their definitions. For instance, in the
case of the competency “Coaching and Team Development”, the definition integrates two
important elements. The first element focuses on acting as a coach. The second element,
which is congruent with the first one, has to do with being a change agent and championing
change. After the interview, the interviewers review all the evidence provided by the
candidate and indicate, for each competency assessed, which behavioural level best describe
the candidate’s competency level.

The approach is somewhat different than other interview techniques as the interviewers must
truly understand the situation that the candidate faced, what the candidate did, said or felt, and
why they did so, and the consequence of the action. Because of this requirement, interviews
will often take the form of a conversation where the candidate does 80% of the talking.

Basic Structure of the Interview

An interviewer first reads the lead question for the first competency, and then proceeds to
obtain an overview of the event.

A) Obtaining the event’s overview:

The event overview is the road map that the interviewers need to structure how the candidate
(the interviewee) will provide the information. It provides a high level overview of 1) the
Situation (task), 2) Actions and 3) Results of the involvement of the candidate. Here is a list
of 8 standard questions designed to obtain the overview in the most effective manner. These
questions are applicable for all of the competencies:
        1. Begin with a caption or heading that describes the candidate’s role in the event.
        2. In two sentences, what is this event about? (This is the 40,000 feet overview).
       3. Who else was involved, what was their role?
       4. What was your job function (position, title)?
       5. Why is this event a good example of a time when you (rephrase the question that
          was asked)
       6. What were the major milestones? Ask for 3 to 5 key actions (“bullets”) to describe
          the steps the candidate took.
       7. How long were you involved in this event?
       8. What was the outcome.

B) Probing for Details:

Once the overview is obtained, the interviewers can go back and probe specific milestones or
steps undertaken by the candidate to explore behaviours in more detail.

Typical probing questions:
• What event led up to the situation?
• What did you actually do? Say?
• What was your intent in doing so, saying that, etc?
• What were you thinking? Feeling? (explain your reaction to the situation)
• What happened next?
• What was the outcome of doing this, or saying that?
• How did others react? How do you know this?

Coaching and Team Development
Definition: Develops effective, highly motivated individuals and teams to achieve common
goals. Respects, acknowledges and recognizes the contribution of each individual.
Encourages individuals to develop competencies and support opportunities to use these
competencies. Willingly shares personal experience and knowledge and provides feedback to
improve individual and team performance. Empowers others through delegation of
responsibility, authority and accountability. Champions new initiatives and stimulates others to

Tell me about a situation where you had to coach an individual, or a group of individuals.
What was the situation? How did you approach the coaching intervention? What was the
outcome of your involvement?
Organizational Awareness
Definition: Understands the business and all key relationships in the public sector environment,
including the decision makers, partners and stakeholders who influence them. Remains open-
minded and flexible when presented with different perspectives. Quickly adapts their approach
as the requirements of a situation change.

Tell me about a time when you had to deal with different or conflicting points of view
concerning the best course of action to take for your organization. What was the issue? How
did you handle it?

Organizational Commitment
Definition: Aligns actions and decisions with the mission, vision and values of the
organization. Acts with integrity while promoting consistency among principles, values and
behaviours. Sets challenging personal and organizational performance standards and
pursues them with passion and energy.

Tell me about a time when you set and achieved a challenging goal at work, one that was
important to do, but may have been unpopular. What was your intent in doing so? How did
you sell this to others? What was it about? What was the outcome?

Relationship Building
Definition: Builds effective working relationships, networks of contacts and partnerships with
internal and external individuals at all levels. Actively listens to what others have to say and
responds in a clear, concise and diplomatic manner, adapts communication style as
appropriate. Self aware, perceptive and sensitive to the attitudes, feelings and concerns of

Tell me about a time when you had to truly listen and understand another person’s point of
view in order to solve a problem or to deal with an issue. What was the nature of the
problem/issue? What was your approach in resolving it?
Results Orientation
Definition: Drives for quality results, paving the way to success, while maintaining a focus on
the organization’s strategic goals. Brings issues to closure in a timely manner. Strives to
continuously move the organization forward while effectively and efficiently maximizing the
use of resources. Persists in advancing initiatives despite adversity, creating and negotiating
alternate solutions as appropriate.

Tell me about a time when you had to face a challenge such as tight resources during a
project you led or an assignment for which you were responsible. How did you handle the
challenge? What was the outcome?

Strategic Thinking
Definition: Understands the strategic direction of the organization. Anticipates and plans for
future events, trends, problems and opportunities and exercises sound judgement. Makes
timely quality decisions, taking a broad range of issues or factors into consideration.
Evaluates reasonable risk taking opportunities. Develops creative solutions, stimulating new
ways of thinking and solving problems.

Tell me about a time when you had to anticipate potential obstacles to implementing a high-
visibility strategic initiative. What were the obstacles? How did you approach the situation?
What was the outcome?

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