One of the main objectives of an interview is to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of a potential candidate based on how they detail their prior experience, their skills, and their interest in the role you’re interviewing for. The behavioral interview approach focuses on the first item; prior experience. A potential new hire will likely list their skills, their interests, and their previous work accomplishments during the interview. However, interviews are meant to unravel qualities of the candidate that aren’t placed on resumes, and the best staffing agencies understand the approach that needs to be taken to find these qualities.

Intro to Understanding the Benefits of Behavioral Questions

Personal achievements that are tied to a quantity are appreciated and likely one of the first things a hiring manager gets to know about a candidate. However, a frank re-telling of one’s resume is not optimal, as it does not allow the company or staffing agency to learn more about the candidate they’re interviewing. A primary objective of behavioral interviewing is to assess a candidate’s actual history of work experiences. This approach helps recruiting professionals assess the communication style, conflict resolution skills, and quick-thinking instincts of job-seekers. Here are some examples of these questions:

  • “Give an example of when you have had difficulty working with another member of the team. How did you solve these difficulties?”
  • “Talk about a time when you made an error on a task or your performance fell short. How did you go about improving your performance and amending errors you made?”
  • “Tell us about a time you’ve had to take leadership on a project or task on short notice. How did you work with the limited information or preparation you had to create successful results?”

The anecdotes communicated here will allow staffing agency services to accurately assess the character, work habits, communication style, values, and various other qualities of the candidates they speak with. Let’s look into other beneficial observations that can be made from the behavioral interviewing style that the best staffing agencies employ.


Quick thinking and finding solutions to unforeseen circumstances are pivotal to nearly every line of work. Personal accounts of a job-seeker’s level of creativity and improvisational skills cannot be easily captured on a resume or even a cover letter. A prospective new hire’s capabilities will rely on how well they are able to provide context here and tell a story of a workplace project or task that went wrong and how they had to use limited information or expertise to find a satisfactory solution.

Attention to Detail

While this quality can be somewhat surmised by the thoroughness of the prospect’s resume or cover letter, they should still be presented an opportunity to detail a time their attention to finer details led to quality results at work. How a recruiting and staffing agency frames the question should allow the candidate to summarize why their own attention to detail led to a positive result, and how the task or objective could not be completed without it.

Ability to Work Under Pressure

No matter the industry the candidate has previously worked in, there was undoubtedly some level of heightened stress they’ve experienced while working on a project, completing a transaction, or finishing a task. Whether or not their previous roles directly relate to the one they are interviewing for currently, it helps to get a good idea of their approach and mindset regarding performing under pressure. Pay close attention to the vocabulary used by the interviewee as they answer any behavioral question you’ve structured around working within a sense of urgency or under pressure. Do they express a clear arc of where they started to how they managed to meet expectations in restrictive circumstances? Are they able to detail the result of their previous pressure-filled experience, good or bad?

Conflict Management

Whether it’s with a supervisor, co-worker, or customer/client, conflicts or misunderstandings are not foreign to someone who was worked with or for a person or organization. It’s crucial to assess the candidate’s ability to succinctly lay out the miscommunication or source of conflict, as well as the pivotal pieces of its solution. Are they able to take accountability for their role in the conflict that took place? Is it clear that they took proactive steps to find a solution with someone else?

The Difference Between Behavioral and Situational Interview Styles

Asking hypothetical questions, or situational interviewing, is a go-to interview tactic used by hiring managers or companies using headhunters to staff for a new position. These hypothetical questions can be less predictable for candidates to prepare for, as they are pretty generalized and may not be specific to their own experiences. A downside to these questions is that it gives the interviewee ample room to reply idealistically and without a basis of reality to lean on. Their own bias can come into play, and they may feel inclined to answer what they believe the hiring manager or company wants to hear, rather than answering honestly without regard to meeting an objective. Here are some examples of situational questions:

  • “What would you do if a manager gave you feedback that you did not agree with?”
  • “How would you approach a co-worker to address unfair workload division?”
  • “How would you communicate your own difficulties in mastering a certain task or project?”

A potential new employee could gather that the company would want to hear that they’re “communicative” or “collaborative.” However, this is not always the case for everyone. The best staffing agencies understand that behavioral interviewing techniques do not give prospective employees so much room to express what they believe to be correct for a workplace situation or how they would personally like to respond. Real-life accounts of how they have handled workplace disputes, miscommunications, and performance issues give a hiring manager a clearer picture of the person they are trying to honestly assess without biases playing a factor. From the experiences that the job candidate re-tells, a headhunter/recruiting company can make a detailed list of qualities ascertained by the interview, how compatible these behaviors would be to their own culture, and the stage of productivity/workflow this person is currently in.

On average, recruiters take 42 days to fill a new position, according to Capterra. So when an open position needs to be filled, a company is limited by the amount of time and resources they have to make the perfect hiring choice. Luckily, one of the best staffing agencies out there, Kane Partners, is here to help you find the perfect candidates for full-time, high-level positions.