Behavioral Interview Questions

It can be difficult to understand a candidate based solely on their resume. To see the big picture, you need to ask questions that invite them to share more about how they operate and what they’ve learned from past experiences.

Behavioral interview questions can help you better understand each candidate, but it’s important to adapt the questions to fit each candidate’s personality, in order to get the best results.

At Crystal, we use a framework called DISC to better understand individual personalities. DISC classifies personalities into a few quadrants that we refer to as D (dominance), I (influence), S (steadiness), and C (conscientiousness), which can be seen on our Personality Map below.

Personality Map DISC

By categorizing personalities in this way, we can communicate with others in a way that helps us better understand their strengths and blindspots. For example, someone who is a supportive, people-oriented S-type may have a difficult time addressing conflict. On the other hand, an assertive, confident D-type may be too comfortable when facing disagreements, which can lead to increased tension. By understanding the personality of the person you are interviewing, you can adapt your questions to fit their personality, which will help you get the information and insight you need to find the best person for each position.

A quick way to understand someone’s personality type is by identifying what quadrant of the Personality Map their personality is in. Here’s a good way to think about the personality map:

Those on the top portion of the Personality Map, D- and I-types, tend to prefer fast-paced, quick conversations, while those on the bottom, S- and C-types, often prefer to build trust over the course of a longer discussion.

Those on the left side of the Map, D- and C-types, tend to be more formal and straightforward, while personalities on the right side, I- and S-types, are more likely to be casual, empathetic, and conversational. 

Behavioral Interview Questions

To help identify what quadrant someone’s personality may be in, you just need to ask them two simple questions:

  1. Are you more casual or formal?
  2. Do you tend to be big-picture-oriented or detail-oriented?

D-types will likely answer “formal” and “big-picture-orientated”.

I-types will likely answer “casual” and “big-picture-orientated”.

S-types will likely answer “casual” and “detail-orientated”. 

C-types will likely answer “formal” and “detail-orientated”.

Once you’re able to identify each person’s type, you’ll be able to choose questions that relate most to their personality.

Asking the Right Questions

When you’re getting to know a candidate while assessing their fit for a position, it’s important to highlight their strengths, challenge their blindspots, and discuss their motivations. Try to pick one behavioral interview question that addresses each of these areas to get a better grasp of how each candidate has handled past situations.

D-types

D-types tend to be determined and self-sufficient. They may have a tendency to be overly assertive or critical, at times, but are skilled at setting and achieving goals. They tend to be most motivated by personal and professional accomplishments.

Confident, ambitious D-types should likely be asked questions that give them a chance to show off their productivity and efficiency skills, consider how they may handle sensitive situations, and discuss their career experience and goals. Here are a few examples:

Strength: Tell me about a time when you saw an issue and took it upon yourself to resolve it, rather than waiting for someone else to fix it.

Challenge: Describe a time you wish you’d handled an issue differently with a colleague. What was the initial issue and how did you deal with the situation?

Motivate: What is your proudest professional accomplishment? What did it mean to you when you achieved the goal?

I-types

I-types are often innovative, out-of-the-box thinkers who are skilled at coming up with new ideas. They may have a difficult time focusing on a very detailed task or communicating solely through writing, as they tend to be most motivated by work that allows them to be imaginative and build relationships with others.

It’s important to ask energetic, creative I-types questions that invite them to discuss their creativity, challenge them to share about needing to communicate differently, and encourage them to express their passions. Examples include:

Strength: Describe a time when you had to come up with new ways to address a problem.

Challenge: Tell me about a time when you had to get your ideas across to your team through written communication.

Motivate: Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was most exciting and most difficult about it?

S-types

S-types tend to be naturally skilled at patiently working through a problem and maintaining their composure. They may have a difficult time discussing personal conflict with those around them, but they are likely to respond well if others can work through an interpersonal issue in a warm, empathetic way. They tend to be most motivated by appreciation and loyalty shown by those around them.

Ask supportive, empathetic S-types questions that allow them to demonstrate their patience, challenge them to discuss conflict, and motivate them to reflect on a time they felt valued. Their answers will give you a chance to better understand their strengths and blindspots. Ask them questions like:

Strength: Describe a time when you had to patiently explain something fairly complex to someone else.

Challenge: Tell me about a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?

Motivate: Give me an example of a time when you felt appreciated for something you did well.

C-types

C-types are likely to be skilled at building strong, effective processes to make things run more smoothly. They may not respond well to change since they prefer working in a consistent and stable environment. They tend to be motivated by working independently and taking their time to make the most well-thought-out decisions.

Rational, reserved C-types should be asked questions that allow them to discuss their natural attention to order and detail, challenge them to discuss their reaction to change, and encourage them to share more about what motivates them at work. Examples include:

Strength: Describe a time when you helped establish a needed process for others to follow. How do you think that impacted the team’s workflow?

Challenge: Give me an example of a time when you experienced a lot of change at work. How did that impact you and how did you adapt?

Motivate: Tell me about a time when you were able to take your time on a project to ensure success. What were you able to accomplish with the time?

Find the Best Fit

By asking the right behavioral interview questions, you can ensure answers that will offer insight into each candidate’s natural strengths, blindspots, and motivators, all of which are important when choosing the right person for the job.

To quickly identify a candidate’s personality (and see plenty of insights that can help you in the interview process), check out Crystal, which uses AI and machine learning to accurately predict anyone’s personality through their online footprint. Rather than going into the interview still needing to figure out their personality, you’ll have a trustworthy tool to give you their potential strengths, blindspots, and motivations so you can spend more time asking the right questions to find the best fit.

Try it out for free at www.crystalknows.com

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