Performance Based Interviewing (PBI) is based on three critical characteristics. First, in order for any interviewing method to be effective, it must be based on observable, job-relevant, behavioral information. Traditional interview questioning does not lend itself to obtaining information that can be characterized in this way. Traditional interviewing and management selects candidates based on how they answer questions concerning how they should behave, then seeks to change behaviors when the applicant is hired. Behaviors are very difficult to change and, once established, tend to continue through the life of an individual. The psychological underpinnings of PBI are actually based on that fact. The applicant that actually has exhibited the behaviors that will make them successful is the most likely to succeed. Therefore, the traditional interview format must be altered if it is to permit the gathering of information on past behaviors. PBI is based on the premise that prior behaviors are the best predictor of behaviors that will be exhibited in any given job. Correctly matching the behaviors necessary for success with those exhibited by the applicant will significantly increase the likelihood that the chosen applicant will be a success in any given job. Candidates are asked to describe how they have accomplished work requirements in prior situations. This process permits the interviewer to hear about actual job-related behaviors that can be readily evaluated for effectiveness and tied to the requirements of actual on the job performance. To determine the behaviors necessary for success in the job, PBI also requires an analysis of the actual job(s) being considered.
The second characteristic of PBI is that the interviewer needs specific skills in order to document job-related behavior. These skills include observing, documenting, questioning, listening, responding, and evaluating. The interviewer will use each at these skills to obtain accurate job-related data, resulting in more rational and effective employment decisions.
Third, PBI is based on the premise that job candidates should (and do) select organizations as well as vice-versa. A mismatch resulting from either the candidate’s or organization’s selection mistake will undoubtedly yield negative consequences associated with poor performance, low job satisfaction, and high turnover. In order to facilitate an effective candidate/organization match, it is critical that the candidate obtain an accurate picture of the job and organizational demands; that is, a realistic job preview. In addition, the interviewer needs not only to provide a reasonably detailed account of the job activities involved, but also to explain both the supervisors and the organization’s expectations for performance to the candidate. Such information exchange is just as critical to the proper match as is an accurate skills assessment.
PBI is a systematic approach to job interviewing that is based on an analysis of requisite job duties and skills, the observation of knowledge and skill behaviors required for job success, and a matching process based on candidate and organizational expectations for job performance.