See All Jobs

Behavioural Interview Questions – The New Trend

Job Interview

When it comes to your job interview, “hope for the best and prepare for the worst” is the best possible mantra. Attending your interview well prepared and well rehearsed goes without saying; however, the preparation can be daunting. You have no idea what sort of interview style this hiring manager will prefer.

Interviews in general pose a particular challenge when it comes to predictive validity. That is, the ability to determine someone’s future performance based on limited data and a relatively brief amount of time, at interview stage.

Google says “Brainteasers are a complete waste of time”

Google sign via toprankonlinemarketing/Flickr

In the past Google were known for conducting extremely difficult interviews by asking their candidates some crazy brainteasers e.g. “How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?” A recent article by Sean Ludwig ( revealed that Google now admits that those tough questions really served no purpose. “This is an interesting view from Google about the value of brainteaser type questions as a means of interview screening”, says Ken Murphy, Director of CareerWise Recruitment.  Some other examples of these brainteasers:

  • Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco
  • Why are manhole covers round?
  • How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
  • A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?
  • Explain a database in three sentences to your 8-year-old nephew

While these questions and scenarios are certainly challenging and tested the creativity of candidates, Bock said that Google now emphasizes “behavioural interviews,” where there is a consistent rubric for how it assesses people. The omnipresent interview question “Describe a situation where you did well on X or failed on Y” is an example of a past behavioural measure; asking someone to describe how he/she would solve a particular task would be a future measure.  Unlike your traditional interviewing techniques, which are based around asking open questions to the candidate, behavioral interviews focus on past performance and behaviors.

The bottom line is that the behavioral interview is not about potential scenarios. It’s about what you have done and more importantly, how you did it.

“We would have a similar view that the style of interview favoured by employers is very much the behavioural style of interview”.

Ken Murphy, Director of CareerWise Recruitment

As stated previously, the interview is a relatively brief amount of time, however, what appears to be significant is the personal impression that the interviewer forms within the first minute (and sometimes less) of meeting the prospective hire.

Some examples of these behavioural questions are:

  • Tell me about your biggest accomplishment
  • Tell me about a time when you had to use your spoken communication
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to communicate successfully with another person, even when that individual may not have personally liked you.

Google admitted its failure, and moved its interviews in a different direction. Finding the one right candidate in a group is hard, and companies don’t have much time to figure out exactly which questions can help them tell similar-seeming candidates apart.


Upload Your CV

Upload your CV to apply for as many jobs as you like.

upload your CV

Send Me Job Alerts

Stay up to date with the latest jobs entered onto our system, emailed to your inbox.

Cork Office

CareerWise Recruitment. EastGate Village, EastGate, Little Island, Cork.

Phone: +353 (0) 21 206 1900