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Take Interviewing to the Next Level 

By now you certainly know the value of offering alternative work arrangements as a means of recruiting and retaining quality individuals.  You can’t get away from the articles telling you that people are interested in balancing work and family and want to find more free time. 

Would your organization be considered a pioneer in this area?  Have you taken the plunge and hired people to telecommute or job share, or is fear of the unknown holding you back?  How do you know that the person you hire will be effective working from home ~  Will be able to work unsupervised ~ Work well in a team?

The answer is simple: Behavioral Based Interviewing!

Yes, it is true, interviewing and selection will never be an exact science.  We will always be putting ourselves out on the line somewhat when we make that hire.  But behavioral based interviewing will get you closer to going beyond your gut and can help you feel better about any hiring decision you make, including one for a position where the individual will be working from home.

The concept of behavioral based interviewing is based on the premise that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  To use this technique you just need to frame your questions so that the candidate is required to give you real life examples.

For instance, if you are hiring for a position that will allow telecommuting, you will want to know that the person can work unsupervised.  You can ask them about taking initiative, prioritizing on their own, working without strict guidelines.  For instance:

Tell me about a time when you had a project to finish on a strict deadline and little or no direction for how to get the job down.  What was the project?  Tell me about the circumstances.  How did you handle it and what was the outcome?

~ Or ~

Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do at once.  What was the specific situation?  How did you handle prioritizing and what was the outcome?

You get the picture.  The key is to ask for a specific situation where the person would be demonstrating how they exhibited or failed to exhibit the behavior that you are looking for.  And follow these guidelines:

  •  Do stay out of the “woulds”.  If the person starts their scenario with, “I would”, you know they are speaking hypothetically rather than giving you a specific instance of past behavior.  Don’t let them get away with it.

  • Do allow the person quiet time to think about their answer.  Your candidate was probably all prepped for the basic “what are your strengths and weaknesses” questions.  But you have just thrown them for a loop.  It can take some thought to come up with good examples, so give them the time to think.  And tell them that it’s okay to take some time.  They may panic otherwise.  Just quietly say, “go ahead, take your time.”  And then be silent. 

  • Do make sure that the candidate answers all parts of the question.  You want to hear:

  • Description of the situation;

  • How the candidate handled the situation;

  • What the outcome was.

Once you’ve mastered this easy interviewing technique you’ll feel more confident hiring telecommuters or in-office employees!

Would you like more assistance in developing behavioral based interviewing questions?  We will be happy to help you! Just email us for details.

Kirsten Ross is mother of two sons and is a Certified Human Resource Professional (SPHR) dedicated to helping women achieve more life balance and to transforming the design of work.

Visit at to search our revolutionary flexible work job board featuring more than 35,000 fresh work from home, part time, job share, flex time and telecommuting opportunities, search for a job share partner or read valuable career, life balance and family articles.  You may also email her at






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