What essentially is a behavioral type interview?

Behavioral questions tend to take the form of “tell me about a time when such-and-such happened and how you responded”. The answers can reveal how the candidate acts in specific situations. When creating behavioral questions, it’s important that interviewers ask about situations that can happen in any work environment, but are common with the available position you’re for which you are interviewing.

Supply professionals experience a great variety of workplace situations and an inappropriately phrased question may confuse the candidate and lead the interviewer in the wrong direction regarding their appropriateness for the job. It is always wise to have alternative, albeit similar, questions so that you can tailor the question to fit the candidate’s individual experiences. Also, the interviewer should make sure that they make the questions behavioral and not hypothetical. “Tell me about a time when you had an irate customer and how you resolved the issue” is much better than “We have our share of irate callers. How would you handle them?” The first version lets the candidate be specific about a particular situation; the second is so open-ended that is nearly useless (Why are they irate? Do we have a specific protocol to follow for these situations? How am I expected to answer this question?)

There is a well-known formula for the expected answers to behavioral questions, and it is alternately known as STAR or SAR. The acronym refers to “Situation—Task—Action—Response”. The formula is very useful for ensuring that all the important details are covered. Obviously, it would be ideal if the candidate were to answer following the exact steps of the model above, but there’s no need to insist on that formality. The interviewer should listen carefully and take notes as the candidate tells their story and be prepared to ask for details if any aspects of the story are confusing. You can also tell a lot about the candidate’s personality and communication skills in the way that they relate the story. A good communicator, versed in supply chain’s best practices and ethics can be an excellent ambassador for their company.