As recruiters engaged with both candidates and clients we are keenly aware of value of the interview process. We have seen a gradual transition from opinion-based to fact-based, or behavioral questions. Inc’s recent article “4 Vital Interview Questions to Ask” discusses this shift and suggests that “Asking opinion-based questions is a complete waste of time. Every candidate comes prepared to answer general questions about teamwork, initiative, interpersonal skills, and leadership.” The following examples bring the concept into sharper view:
“What do you feel is your biggest weakness?” This is one of the most common questions asked in an interview as like most opinion-based questions, provokes a very rehearsed response with little room for productive follow up questions.
In comparison, a fact-based question such as “Tell me about a time you knew you were right but still had to follow directions or guidelines?” allows for detail, data and may be followed by an open-ended conversation.
The shift in style supports the potential employer’s desire to access facts rather than opinions. The article suggests that “You should ask interview questions that elicit facts instead of opinions. Why? I can never rely on what you claim you will do, but I can learn a lot from what you have already done.” This builds on the basic premise that past behavior predicts current behavior and current behavior is a firm predictor of future behavior.
The take-away for candidates? While it is still important to practice for an interview to assure a sense of confidence and comfort, keep in mind that your interview will be a conversation, rather than a Q & A.