The behavioural or situational-based interview is one of the most reliable selection tools in the recruitment toolkit.

To get the best possible information to make your final decision to hire, it’s critical to take the time to determine what you need to ask in a particular job interview. Specific interview questions will vary based on the job or role.

It is a good idea to ask, score and comment on the same set of interview questions for each candidate who is applying for the same job. This ensures you give each interview candidate the same opportunity to provide the same type of information. This helps you compare “apples to apples” and differentiate successfully.

To fully realize the effectiveness of your interview questions, design the questions so that they are:

  • Based on the position requirements
  • Accurately weighted
  • Paired with a well-designed assessment scheme (see below)

Developing and weighting job interview questions

To develop effective interview questions, follow these steps:

1. Identify a key job qualification.
(E.g., conflict-resolution skills)

2. Develop a behavioural-based question to assess that quality.
(E.g., “Describe a situation in which you resolved a conflict among team members. How did you do it? What was the outcome?”)

3. Assign the question a weight that reflects the importance of the quality being assessed.
Consider how important this quality is in relation to other requirements. If it is more important than others, weight this question more heavily (e.g., multiply the answer score by 1.5 or 2).

4. Develop an interview assessment scheme for each question.
To ensure reliable scoring among multiple interviewers, develop clear, concrete assessment criteria.

Scoring assessment scheme for interview questions: Example

                                                                      Score
0 1 2 3
No answer Demonstrates minimal understanding of conflict-resolution techniques Demonstrates some understanding of conflict-resolution techniques Demonstrates full understanding of conflict-resolution techniques

Interview assessment template for scoring a job interview

Candidate: Job:
Interviewer: Date:
Question Qualification (sample) Score Weight
(sample)
Weighted score
1 Subject-matter expertise “A” 1
2 Subject-matter expertise “B” 1
3 Subject-matter expertise “C” 2
4 Behavioural skill – communication 1
5 Behavioural skill – conflict resolution 2
6 Management skill – staff development 1
TOTAL SCORE
Comments: (Comment on the quality of communication and presentation, the level of engagement, etc. Be sure to remark only on qualities that relate to the job. For example, your position may not require the person to be bubbly and engaging, so that information would not be relevant.)

Interview assessment template for scoring a job interview

Question 1: (State the interview question here.)

Notes* from question 1: (Record key points of the candidate’s answer for review later.)

                                                                      Score
0 1 2 3
No answer (Include criteria) (Include criteria) (Include criteria)

*Repeat this process for each interview question being asked

Interview assessment template for scoring a job interview

Download (pdf)

Read next: Open-ended and behaviour-based interview questions: Examples