How to create behavioral-based interview templates

Part 3 of the BBI Toolkit

Whether you’re a hiring manager independently customizing your interview plan or an HR leader preparing a sensitive executive search, you’ll need specialized behavioral-based interview templates to guide your conversations.

HR leaders should spend significant time—10-16 weeks, on average—creating custom-fitted templates for the highest-priority positions or job families, while creating “self service” forms and pick-lists for hiring managers to use with lower-profile open positions. We recommend a three-step approach:

Step 1: Identify critical job functions for each position

In most cases, your hiring managers will determine the core skills and behaviors needed for a particular role, but high-priority positions demand a more intentional approach. For executive and hard-to-fill positions, host a focus group to elicit various dimensions of job performance, as well as drivers of success in a particular role. We've created a framework to support the session.

Download the Focus Group Framework

Step 2: Translate job functions into behavioral competencies—and interview questions

Use our BBI Interview Builder to map a role's core functions to behavioral competencies and see suggested questions for assessing a candidate's potential. Note that each behavioral competency should encompass approximately 8 to 10 minutes of an interview, so adjust the number of competencies and questions selected below to fit within the aggregate duration of your interviews.We recommend including 2-3 possible BBI questions for each targeted competency.

Use the BBI Interview Template Builder

Step 3: Create your BBI Evaluation Template

Ensure all interviewers are rating candidates consistently by setting objective evaluation criteria. Create a standard template for institution-wide use and update it for each position to include:

  • 2-3 possible BBI questions for each targeted competency
  • Recommended follow-up questions
  • An objective rating scale 
  • Ideal and problematic elements to listen for in candidates’ responses

Use our BBI Evaluation Template to get started.

Download the Evaluation Template

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