I've been hiring a junior software developer, and decided to try the interview creation tool for it. I have not been having any luck with it at all - for the most part, they're unable to answer the questions, or dance around it, or talk in hypotheticals. The "tell me about a time when..." piece of the question is thoroughly ignored, and if I ask for an example after their response, they generally say "no, I can't think of one".

I've had 4 interviews without a single candidate giving a single solid answer. Is this related to the fact that these are all very junior people (under a year experience, if not fresh out of school)? Could it be a language gap (English was not their first language)? Have I just had some really bad luck with candidates, or am I possibly doing something wrong?

Thanks for the help.

Ambrose023's picture

It's pretty standard for job applications to include hour-long behavioral tests, done online. And this for minimum-wage jobs! How much moreso for higher paying jobs!

jordan_kirk's picture

I use behavioural questions for all levels of interviews, including practicum students.  The standard for the company I work for is to provide the questions ahead of time with an explanation of what behavioural questions are and how they need to be answered.  This allows the candidates to put some thought into their answers and be prepared.  There is some emphasis that the answers should be work related but don't need to be.  I have had numerous excellent team examples come from sports experience for new to the workforce candidates.

The side benefit is it really highlights the candidates that don't put the effort into being ready for the interview!

Hope that helps,



basking2's picture

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I'm not junior, but I did go through a behavior interview recently. I was coached going in that my behavioral responses should highlight several principles that were valued by the company. As a result I suspected every behavioral question masked some other desired response and I talked broadly and with poor direction.

There were follow-up questions, but they were almost restatements of the initial question and didn't communicate to me what the desired information was. The whole time the interviewer typed notes onto a laptop. Of the 5 people I spoke with, all behaved this way, and I was very bothered by how disconnected they seemed from my presentation.

While my poor performance at the interview is my own responsibility I will say that having clear questions ahead of time would have been immensely helpful. I love that idea, Jordie. (Also the laptop note-taking was very off putting, but seems to have been because of instruction, not rudeness.)


Doris_O's picture

If they are recent graduates they may have been given bad advice about how to interview effectively. In addition if they have been working for a year or less then they don't necessarily have enough professional experience to draw on.

When I interview college students I'll ask questions such as: Have you ever helped an older family member or friend learn to use technology? I then ask follow up questions about how they approached doing so; what was challenging for them, as well as for the person they were assisting; what did the interviewee say or do if/when the other person was frustrated, and so on.

In other words if I know someone has little or no work experience, I'll first ask some specific questions to understand what experiences they have had and then frame the question in relation to their answers, to get a behavioral response.