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 change. 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 others. 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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