Is Behavioral Event Interviewing Based on Bad Science?

A few in the I/O psychology scientific community have lambasted me on these pages for suggesting that behavioral event interviewing (BEI) might not be all that it’s cracked up to be. Their comments seem akin to climatologists who discredit anyone who suggests an alternate cause of global warming. To stir the pot even further, we’re holding a public debate on this topic on March 25, 2010, with a bunch of ERE authors (Dr. John Sullivan, Dr. Charles Handler), a BEI luminary Dr. Tom Janz, and your humble recruiter/reporter. This will be a slugfest to finish going all 15 rounds, so you won’t want to miss the excitement.

I’ll lay out my hand and concerns in this article. We’ll address them in the upcoming debate. To get started here are a few of the big problems I have with BEI:

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  1. Is a structured BEI all that predictive? According to the oft-cited Schmidt and Hunter Validity and Utility of Selection Methods study, the correlation between a structured interview and on-the-job performance is .51, meaning only 25% (squaring the correlation coefficient) of the person’s performance can be predicted by the interview. This means that 75% is unexplained. Wouldn’t any structured interview give the same results? Also, what’s the predictive value of an unstructured BEI?
  2. Past performance, not past behavior, is the best predictor of future performance. The same study clearly refers to past performance, not past behavior, as the best predictor of on-the-job success. Where’s the research that suggests that past behavior is superior to past performance? As a case in point, I conducted a virtual performance-based interview and assessment comparing Obama vs. McCain before the 2008 election using our 10-Factor Talent Scorecard. If you check it out, the predictions were right on the mark. Using behavior as the criteria, the predictions would have been lopsided.
  3. Why is the criteria used to promote someone from within more predictive than hiring someone from the outside? It seems logical that the methodology companies used to promote those who are successful, which is based on their performance, should be applied to those hired from the outside. If so, this would mean emphasizing a track record of past performance doing comparable work in comparable situations combined with the person successfully taking on bigger roles with less experience. This seems like it would be a better predictor than using behaviors and KSAs.
  4. BEI misses the forest for the trees. The big goal here is to maximize quality of hire, not conduct accurate assessments. While a professional interview and accurate assessment is part of this, more important is having a pool of highly qualified prospects who are willing to go through the assessment process and accept a fair offer of employment if given. This requires great sourcing, great recruiting skills, and strong negotiation skills, plus managers who are strong leaders who can attract top people to work on their team. I haven’t seen any science that looks at hiring from this end-to-end perspective.
  5. If no one is in the forest, can you hear a tree fall? This is a pretty weak analogy, but the point is if no one uses the BEI properly, how can you consider it useful? Most managers find it too clinical, candidates can practice ahead of time, and the best candidates are turned off by it. Plus lack of enforcement and uniformity weakens the pretty weak predictive value even further.
  6. The guidance on making the assessment seems to be limited. What’s a good answer? I’ve looked at dozens of BEI rating sheets and each one is relatively subjective. Statistical process control techniques would suggest that wide variances on any factor are indicative of a process that’s out of control. SPC is a valid scientific technique used in six sigma, but seems to be ignored by those in the I/O psychology community.
  7. Where is the scientific evidence that companies that use BEI outperform their peers? Wouldn’t this be the big Kahuna? In Jim Collin’s Good to Great, there is no indication that BEI was why they hired stronger people. Could it be that there is something else, other than accurate assessments, that drive quality of hire?
  8. There are other techniques that could increase accuracy and improve quality of hire. In Hire With Your Head, I make a strong case that a mashup consisting of a list of pre-hire performance objectives, a few in-depth performance-based interviewing questions, an evidence-based ranking system, strong recruiting and sourcing skills, plus involved hiring managers is the key to maximizing quality of hire. Why don’t the I/O psychologists seek out better techniques, rather than relying on outdated less-reliable methods? One way would be to model all of the managers who consistently hire great people and use this as the framework of a new and better process.
  9. BEI is counterproductive by eliminating the top half from consideration. Since the BEI process assumes the person has 100% or more of the experience required, it eliminates those high-potential people who get more done with less experience from consideration. The best people are looking for a career move involving job stretch, learning, and growth. By forcing everyone through the same funnel, some of the best people voluntarily opt out early, since they find the process demeaning, clinical, and one-directional. By inadvertent default then, the only people considered are those with all of the basic qualifications and those looking for a lateral transfer — aka, the bottom-half.
  10. The BEI is logically flawed. A correlation between two factors doesn’t mean that one is the cause of the other. For example, just because someone has all of the qualifications and behaviors, doesn’t mean the person will be a top performer, even if all top performers have the same qualifications and behaviors. This is similar to the logical “asserting the consequent” argument. Clearly we’d all agree that there is a high correlation between the number of troops required to win a big battle, but having more troops in the field doesn’t mean they’re going to cause the size of the battle. While having the behaviors might necessary, it’s certainly not sufficient. The relationship between the manager might be a problem. The person might not be motivated to do the work, even if competent. The person might not fit with the team, or company culture, or might not want to work with less-than-current technology. These factors, among others, represents the 75% not covered by the BEI.

Now all of this might be the ramblings of an old-line recruiter who has been in the field too long. On the other hand, maybe the scientists never had to close a top performer for a troubled company with limited funding, and then guarantee the person would actually deliver top-notch performance for at least a year. Maybe they should try to do this and then modify their science accordingly. If they do, I suspect they’ll come to the same conclusion that BEI doesn’t improve quality of hire, and in many cases actually causes it to decline.

Lou Adler is the CEO and founder of The Adler Group – a training and search firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring℠. Adler is the author of the Amazon top-10 best-seller, Hire With Your Head (John Wiley & Sons, 3rd Edition, 2007). His most recent book has just been published, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired (Workbench, 2013). He is also the author of the award-winning Nightingale-Conant audio program, Talent Rules! Using Performance-based Hiring to Build Great Teams (2007).


67 Comments on “Is Behavioral Event Interviewing Based on Bad Science?

  1. This should be fun:

    The Great Debate – Does Behavioral Interviewing Prevent Companies from Hiring the Best?

    “Behavioral Interviewing”- How is it defined? Is there only one version? If there is more than one version, which version is being considered? Are all versions considered equally good or bad?

    “Prevent”- Prevent how? Wasting resources? Eliminating other options?

    “Companies”- Which companies? Big, medium, or small? Do some kinds of companies use BE more than others? What if it would work better for some types of companies than others? What if the wrong types of companies are using it?

    “the Best”- The best what? The best qualified candidates possibly available for the position? The best qualified candidates interested in the position? The best candidate for the position as it is now? The best candidate for what the position may become? The best qualified candidate, the best fit for the company, or a combination?

    This should be fun:

    The Great Debate – Does Behavioral Interviewing Prevent Companies from Hiring the Best?

    “Behavioral Interviewing”- How is it defined? Is there only one version? If there is more than one version, which version is being considered? Are all versions considered equally good or bad?

    “Prevent”- Prevent how? Wasting resources? Eliminating other options?

    “Companies”- Which companies? Big, medium, or small? Do some kinds of companies use BE more than others? What if it would work better for some types of companies than others? What if the wrong types of companies are using it?

    “The Best”- The best what? The best qualified candidates possibly available for the position? The best qualified candidates interested in the position? The best candidate for the position as it is now? The best candidate for what the position may become? The best qualified candidate, the best fit for the company, or a combination?



  2. This is why recruiting is an art not a science. But like a similar field of study, Economics, we can apply trends learned.

    Unlike economics the data collectioned is anecdotal from a bias source the candidate. In other words, even when truthful we see these past results from their perspective.

    That is why after over 20 and as a 2nd generation recruiter and career manager I seek quantitative, solutions based answers. Easier in technical fields but I have applied them to marketing and sales.

    This argument is a red herring. Employees tenure has been shrinking for the last 5 years. Managers are looking for solutions to immediate problems. The biggest issue is ‘institutional memory’. It will cost companies in the long run if this trend continues.

    That’s my 2 cents

    Rich Goldberg
    Your Career Course

  3. Lou,
    Is the industry playing mind games? Or a new spin on an old concept? Behavior Event Interviews vs. Performance based interviews? Both appear to be based on the premise that “past performance is the best predictor of future performance”. The articles I’ve read intertwine the two without distinction.
    Perhaps Lou, you could give clear distinctions that would separate and clarify the differences Behavior and performance in relation to the interview process.

  4. Patsy – in my mind past behavior is about providing an example of when a behavior (e.g., drive, team skills, organizational skills)was used, which might or might not be related to job performance. This makes the link to the assessment process weak. This questions are usually quite short.

    Past performance is about comparing past results in direct comparison to what’s required for on-the-job success. These questions are very detailed and involve peeling the onion. Most last 15-20 minutes each. They uncover process, cultural fit, motivation to do comparable work, environmental fit, managerial fit, and team fit. There are only two questions involved coupled with very intuitive fact-finding. The assessment is much more accurate since it’s measuring the gap between required performance vs. past performance directly.

    While behavioral and performance-based interviews have some overlap, performance-based questions map more closely to actual job needs. In many cases top performers use a different mix of behaviors and processes to achieve better results. These people would normally be excluded in traditional BEI.

  5. First, my compliments to Rich.

    “In many cases top performers use a different mix of behaviors and processes to achieve better results. These people would normally be excluded in traditional BEI.”

    Lou, I know how to measure a top Salesperson. How do you measure a top Sales Manager? What about a top Financial Analyst, or Engineer, or Teacher, or Human Resource Generalist, or Assistant Chef, or Rabbi? If the position deals largely with qualitative, subjective, and/or intangible results, what does it mean to be “top”?

    If we could agree on a definition of “top performers”: how and why would BEI “exclude” them? Also, how do you define “traditional BEI”? Do your colleagues and honorable debate opponents define it the same way?



    P.S. Lou, Thanks for all you say and do- it helps us think.

  6. I think the title of this article should be “More Misinformation About Behavioral Event Interviewing”

    BEI is a circular event…It starts with a job analysis to clarify specific competencies (i.e., ones that make the difference between job success and failure). Based on information from the JA, the BEI structure makes it hard for the candidate to fake good by probing for evidence that the candidate has used the competency before…

    A skilled BE interviewer will gather complete and (hopefully) honest information about the candidate’s competencies, motivations, past performance, and so forth. This data is compared to job requirements, thereby completing the circle.

    Questions are only one part of the BEI process…and, they are not necessarily short. In fact, without a JA, the BE interviewer will not know what to probe, or how to evaluate the candidate’s responses. Aside from semantics, the rest of this article sounds like a sales presentation.

  7. Patsy, I think your comment regarding mind games is close to accurate…although I think it is more like thinly-veiled sales presentation…any well-done BEI looks a lot like the system described in this article.

  8. Thank you, Dr. Williams. (I hope I’m getting your title right).
    1) How would you define BEI?
    2) Are there various types of BEI?
    3) IMSM, Lou’s techniques include a section which sounds like a JA, too.

    As far as sounding like a sales presentation, is there anyone actively participating in this debating event who ISN’T trying to sell us what they have, wherther it be products, services. or a combination? Isn’t the point of much of what goes on here to sell something recruiting-related to anyone who’s got the dough?


    Keith “Seen a Lot, but Hasn’t Seen It All” Halperin

  9. BEI is a fairly generic and much mis-used term…Generically, it refers to a process starting with data taken from a JA (this is easier said than done)…using structured questions to gather candidate stories about job situations, skills used, and results (also, easier said than done). And, comparing candidate answers with data from the JA (ditto). Sometimes it is forward looking and asks hypothetical questions (i.e., situational interviewing).

    Accuracy depends on clarity of the JA, thoroughness of the questions, ability of the interviewer to draw forth information, ability of the candidate to recall information, clarity of the answers you want to hear, and agreement among multiple interviewers.

    In my experience, there is only one definition of BEI (i.e., trying to infer candidate skills/motivations by asking specific questions about specific events), but abundant bad-practices and wrong-headed people offering bad advice.

    I think everyone who reads ERE wants to get something out of it…Some lurk around the corners looking for free advice and others have products or services to sell…Any topic is certainly open for discussion, but blatant self-promotion is just tacky. Personally, my objective is to promote good hiring and selection practices…If that leads to business, fine…If not, that’s fine also.

  10. WW I don’t like hijacked threads or blatent sales pitches either- I’m always on beadle patrol when they happen.

    On this topic, I still firmly believe that assessing candidates as individuals and not as players in a group is a huge blindspot, because that’s not how things play out in the real world. This applies to abstract and higher level roles more than rote jobs, naturally.

    I think you can be very successful in pre-assessing who may perform well or poorly as a bank teller or barista, but when you start talking about leadership, creative work, and teamwork, you are looking at chaotic emergent systems where cause and effect are going to be dicey at best- and so much depends on the interactions between leadership and the dynamics of a given group.

    One prima dona is fine, while two may be too many. One cheerleader is great, while no cheerleaders can hurt. One high energy, contrarian maniac may be very helpful, while three make a a mess. Looking at people as individuals against a job is far too narrow a lens, and I think many I/O people and everyday businesspeople have seen that approach fail often enough to know something is missing.

    The best generals, leaders, and creators seem to be able to facilitate any given group to put out- often in different ways for different times. It’s almost as if the sine qua non of great leaders is that their people reach beyond expectations, develop esprit de corps, and happily revel in both their limitations and powers, especially in the presence of a well-managed star or two…..

  11. Hey Lou: Are you mentally prepared to get schooled? The science in research studies is good but the practices in the field by some recruiters and many hiring managers departs from what works. I will save the details for this Thursday.

    I would argue that BEI(Behavioral Event Interviewing) or PBDI (Patterned Behavior Description Interviewing) focuses on specific past performance as the essential grist for predicting future job performance in related situations. Situational Interviewing is NOT about what has happened, but about what people think COULD, SHOULD, or WOULD happen. It is not confimable.

    And while Dr. Williams correctly points to a surplice of moral hazard, I haven’t noticed that, none of us fall in the ‘Mother Teresa’ category in that regard. One can only hope that we all care about what actually works best to maximize the value of talent all around.

    Looking forward to Thursday.

  12. Think about this, Martin, every position requires a core set of KSA’s and AIMS…After that, the employee has to deal with climate, direct manager, policies, and so forth. A good JA will uncover most of those things. If you don’t start with a core set, the environment will not make much difference. As to your military analogy…all generals have to first demonstrate core sets of skills to earn their stars…after that other factors come into play. Or you can use athletics as an example…before they can play as a group, everyone to first pass a set of athletic standards…no pre-qualification standards, you get crushed.

  13. I agree with Martin. RE: the athletic analogy- Isn’t there an example of an NBA or NCAA team that doesn’t have lots of superstars, yet continues to win a great deal, year after year?


  14. I think we can assume that everyone who makes it to an interview has cleared the various prescreens that all recruiters use. The focus of this discussion is selecting among various ‘qualified’ candidates.

    My point is that no interview or assessment technique is likely to be as effective as the use of custom fitting conducted by skilled teambuilders, with explcit reference to the group that the candidate will be joining, including current leadership and star lineups. I would like to see assessment moving in the direction of predicting group dynamics rather than the too limited notion of fitting a candidate to a job.

  15. Martin seems to on to something. BEI, even when implemented properly, fails much of the time. I wonder why. Based on the statistics one would expect it to fail more than 50% of the time. Why is no one discussing this?

  16. It does, Martin…

    As to Lou’s comment, if BEI failed most of the time, so would your interview product. You probably don’t know it yet, but you are reinventing the behavioral interview wheel.

  17. Martin – those two objectives aren’t mutually exclusive. Job fit must take into account team dynamics or else you’re missing a key factor affecting performance. In addition to team dynamics you also need to consider managerial fit, cultural fit, environmental fit, intrinsic motivation to do the work under the actual circumstances, and clarity and reasonableness of expectations as part of the puzzle. My concern with traditional BEI is that it’s too generic in this respect.

  18. Martin: I would like to see assessment moving in the direction of predicting group dynamics rather than the too limited notion of fitting a candidate to a job.

    Keith: good in theory, but it presumes the group dynamics are functional. That’s a big and(IMHO)often erroneous assumption.


    Lou: BEI, even when implemented properly, fails much of the time. I wonder why. Based on the statistics one would expect it to fail more than 50% of the time.

    Keith: What do you mean by “fail”? If we agree on a common definition of “fail” in a hiring sense, *what empirically-demonstrated single technique DOESN’T “fail” 50%+ of the time? Actually, based on empirical, unbiased studies: *are there any conbinations of techniques which fail less than 50% of the time? Conceivably (and I’m pulling numbers out of the air here) we might be stuck between things which fail 90% of the time and things which fail only 65% of the time….



    *If someone makes a claim to this, please send a link to the URL that backs this up, so we can all see….

  19. Wendell – if it failed, it must be changed. Period. Failure is not an option. This is true whether you’re selling automobiles or guaranteeing someone’s performance for a year.

    My concern with BEI is that the statistics backing it up would never be accepted in an engineering group for designing a product or process, yet they are defended as great in the I/O world. I’m okay with changing anything that makes the end-to-yield better.

  20. Lou…when it comes to I/O you simply do not know what you are talking about. You must know that candidates are partly predictable and partly variable, otherwise you would not be asking them questions, attempting to evaluate their fit and qualifications, and offering guarantees (which by the way, everyone knows are better indicators of complete failure than levels of performance).

    However, if you want to compare I/O to engineering methodology, you might want to remember that continuous improvement is based on statistics, quality control is based on sampling, and there is a whole field of management decision science based on probabilities such as poisson arrival distributions and probablistic regressions.

    Give it a break.

  21. Fantastic – debates like this are important and I look forward to it.

    However, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that based on the statistics one would expect ‘it’ to fail more than 50% of the time. We also have to be careful to distinguish structured interviewing and behavioural event interviewing (one type of structured interviewing).

    The predictive validity of .51 helps to improve prediction ABOVE chance levels (i.e. if candidates are chosen for the job randomly from a pool). For example, if you have 5 ‘good’ candidates (who would perform well in the job) and 5 ‘poor’ candidates (obviously this is an over-simplification) you already have a 50% chance of randomly selecting someone that will perform well in the job. If you also conduct a structured interview, then you will improve further on this to give yourself an above 50% chance.

    The mathematics of prediction are complex though – you can’t just take chance levels (e.g. 50%) and then add the predictive validity squared (e.g. 25%) to give 75%.

    No assessment method gets you up to 100% prediction, but a few in combination (e.g. Cognitive Ability Tests is an obvious one) definitely improve your chances.

    Hope the debate is illuminating.

  22. Joshua – why not take 25% of 50% to compare the structured interview to chance? This results in 62.5% vs 50% (chance). I believe this is the correct comparison. On the same basis an unstructured interview would be 57% vs 50%. Neither are too good.

    My big concern that there are many other types of structured interviews that would improve predictability over the traditional BEI. Interestingly the I/O PhDs I work with agree with this point and we work together to improve the assessment process. What surprises me is that some actually fight change and improvement for reasons I can’t understand. As mentioned on these pages and ERE articles, every aspect of the recruiting and selection process is undergoing change and we have to deal with it, not fight it.

  23. Lou, I absolutely agree on this – we need to keep challenging our own techniques and improving on them. I think it’s great to have a variety of views and debate. We should embrace methods that have solid scientific evidence for improving selection and be suspicious of those that don’t, until the evidence gathers. It’s a very young field and in the future we’ll need to be open to a whole host of challenges to the current status quo.

    To be scientific, we should actually be trying to disprove the methods we use (e.g. BEI) to see whether they stand up under scrutiny or can be improved upon. To be fair, this is happening to a degree. Also, anyone coming up with new methods needs to subject their ideas to the same scrutiny and scientific investigation.

    I applaud anyone who comes up with new ideas and wants to debate them. My only aim is to give my clients the best chance possible of getting the right person, so I’m interested in anything new with a solid basis in evidence.

  24. FWIW, Schmidt and Hunter found that across all jobs, the most reliable predictor was job simulation, followed closly by general smarts and structured interviews. The more complex the job, the more often general smarts were predictive of success.

    Joe Murphy offers some superfly simulation products that clearly rock for jobs like call center reps, bank tellers, etc. Simulation is so vital for airline pilots that they are not only assessed for employment via the simulator: they are trained for the job via simulator. The same is becoming true for surgeons and other highly technical roles.

    It’s likely a good bet that devising accurate simulations, including the participation of current team players, is probably the best way to make high value hiring decisions.

    That may speak to longer and more extensive hiring processes- perhaps requiring a candidate to spend several days on a site and taking workers off the real job as well-because an hour or two of conversation, no matter how well-planned, may not meet economic value/risk of the decision at hand……

  25. Lou and Joshua: Please try really hard to understand the difference between a percentage and a correlation. I know its confusing but it is also critical. A percentage is a frequency stat. It represents how often some event (such as a new hire being judged “successful”) occurs as a function of the total number events (such as the of hires made) X 100 (to make it a percentage). Someone has to make a judgement about who is “successful” or not, and that has its own issues. A more objective hit rate percentage could be defined as the percentage of new sales candidates whose first year sales exceeds 3X their base salary. The percentage of new hires retained after one year is sometimes reported as the retention rate. For binary hit rates (where new hires are divided into predicted successful and actually successful) there are four possible outcomes– the two ‘on track’ outcomes, false positives, and false negatives. False positives are folks you predict to succeed, but who fail on the job and false negatives are the folks you predict to fail, but who would have been successful if hired. False positives early up in the selection funnel can be corrected later but false negatives are forever. If the base rate of success is 50% and the percentage of new hires predicted to succeed is 50%, then hit rates of 50% can be achieved with a coin toss (randomly).

    A correlation is a completely different animal. Statistically, it is the average cross product of the standardized predictor and criterion scores. Got that? It is NOT a hit rate. Do I need to repeat that?

    What is a standard score, I hear you cry? It is the raw scores on a predictor or criterion transformed such that the average is 0 and the standard deviation is 1. Correlations vary between -1.0 and +1.0. They quantify the linear relationship between two variables (the score on the test and performance on the job– in the case of selection). What VALUE of correlation represents random hiring? 0. Anything above 0 represents improving the average performance of new hires over that which would have occured by chance alone. Values below 0 mean that the predictor is actually picking people WORSE than chance alone. Stuctured interviews based on opinion-based questions do that, in a doctoral dissertation reported by Weisner.

    And can we dispose of another myth while we are here? It is the validity correlation (and not the correlation squared– sometimes called variance accounted for) that indexes the power of a predictor. If Rsquared were really the index of value, it would be in the utility equation. It is not. The validity correlation IS one kind of prercentage– the proportion of Performance Value in the Talent Pool captured by this predictor X 100. In that way 10% is lame, 20% occurs via traditional resume sorts and screening interviews, 40% can be had with validated performance tests, 50%+ can be achieved with either measures of mental ability and structured behavioral interviews. Combine PBI and MA and you can get into the 60% regions. And that’s it folks. 60% is three times as accurate (and valuable) as 20%. Simple when you know the baics.

    All this talk about population corrected validites of .53 being “just above chance” is yet another illustration of why people science may not be rocket science, but it is science with need for clear language and the ability to “do the math”. I hope this will save me some time on Thursday so we can focus on the real issues and not the A B Cs.

  26. Thank you, Dr. Janz. This is rather hard for me to understand, but let me see if I am on the right track:

    “And can we dispose of another myth while we are here? It is the validity correlation (and not the correlation squared– sometimes called variance accounted for) that indexes the power of a predictor. If Rsquared were really the index of value, it would be in the utility equation. It is not. The validity correlation IS one kind of prercentage– the proportion of Performance Value in the Talent Pool captured by this predictor X 100. In that way 10% is lame, 20% occurs via traditional resume sorts and screening interviews, 40% can be had with validated performance tests, 50%+ can be achieved with either measures of mental ability and structured behavioral interviews. Combine PBI and MA and you can get into the 60% regions. And that’s it folks. 60% is three times as accurate (and valuable) as 20%. Simple when you know the baics.”

    It sounds like we want “things” with high validity correlation. Is that correct?

    “In that way 10% is lame, 20% occurs via traditional resume sorts and screening interviews, 40% can be had with validated performance tests, 50%+ can be achieved with either measures of mental ability and structured behavioral interviews. Combine PBI and MA and you can get into the 60% regions. And that’s it folks. 60% is three times as accurate (and valuable) as 20%.”

    So, if you combine PBI (Behavioral Inteviewing?) and MA (Mental Ability) you get *the best available predictors for “what”? “Success” in a given position? How is that defined in these cases? If this is generally accepted (by whom?) to be the case, WHY ISN’T THIS THE STANDARD? Are these two combined methods impractical or too expensive? Are mental ability tests inherently discriminatory? Is there too much invested in the status quo which prevents acceptance of this?

    Thank You,

    *Could you send over the link to the source?

  27. I am saving my specific comments for the event on Thurs.
    My laid back nature makes it hard for me to jump into debates like the one that is unfolding here.

    At the end of the day, people are all very different and we as Psychologists can only do our best to predict various aspects of human performance. This is a double edged sword because it is what makes us so amazing and wonderful but it is also what keeps Psychology apart from the “hard” sciences. We know that on earth all water molecules will behave the same way under certain conditions. We cannot say the same out people (even though we are made mostly of water).

    I have recently gained some experience with Lou’s method and although I find it a bit different from the methods I choose to use, it does have merit just as more established methods do. I honestly feel that the two are not really that different. My biggest criticism of Lou’s method is that it does not provide enough structure in the ratings scales and rating are not made relative to each individual question. The more the rating allows for subjectivity or taxes the raters cognitive resources, the more accuracy may suffer.
    At the end of the day, rater bias has a huge impact on the results of any sort of interview. It is one of the most limiting factors we face in regards to the interview.

    Which method has more merit depends on the situation and the people who are involved and the STRUCTURE imparted to the process.

    As far as claims of what percent of variance of work performance can be realistically predicted via employee selection tools, decades of work shows that claims above 20 or 30 percent are downright unrealistic.

    The good news is that even though this seems like a small percent, it represents HUGE ROI.

    If you want totally predictabilty- Hire a robot.

  28. Tom, I’m not sure why you’ve addressed your comments at me, even though I welcome the general content.

    If you re-read my thread, you’ll see that nothing I’ve written really conflicts with what you wrote afterwards. My thread was actually a gentle questioning of some of Lou’s points. I actually agree with most of what you say and am very familiar with the ABCs of this issue.

    I realise that this is an emotive issue and one that is close to many of our hearts. However, it’s unnecessary to be sarcastic or question people’s intelligence. Let’s be professional and ‘Play the ball, not the man’.

    Look forward to the debate.

  29. As I read this thread, I know you guys are missing the point (at least #4 above) – also in my numerous stat 101 classes – (I had to take four before I got it right) I was told that squaring the correlation coefficient explained how much of the variance was predicted by the variable(s). So if you square .6 (the combined correlation coefficient of a structured interview, not BEI, and MA) you get 36%. What about the other 64%?

    And Tom don’t pick on Joshua, pick on me. You can spout all your stats you want, but until you tell me about the other 64% I still say you’re missing the forest for the trees.

  30. My apologies to Joshua for any barbs in general and particularly barbs that were aimed at Lou. And even Lou can be forgiven for reciting the mantra of the ‘variance accounted for’ thinking. There are lots of scientists who don’t quite get the proven power of the selection utility equation to identify the metric that matters– the simple validity correlation. (See Brogden, 1949– The Dollar Criterion). As per Lou’s request, I will continue to pick only on him. I can do what I am told, on occassion.

    I took stats 101 too, Lou, and then 201, 301, 501 and 701. My minor Ph D field at the University of Minnesota is in Statistics and Measurement. I taught multivariate statistics to Masters level Engineers at the University of Waterloo. But all of that only gave me a language for thinking about what matters when choosing the metric that matters when sizing up the accuracy of a prediction tool.

    As for the “unexplained” 64%, until you can explain what sqaring the average cross product of the standardized scores means for the things that count in business (i.e. financial business impact of best practice vs. traditional intuitive hiring), I say that you are missing the trees for the forest. If I were to argue that E=mc I would be wrong, and smarter people than me would show that the proof only works when it is mc**2. THe same is true for the utility equation that relates selection program parameters to the value of new talent hired over the value of talent hired at random, but in that case it is r and not r squared that belongs in the equation. The answer to: “Why we can’t predict the other 40% of Talent Pool Performance Potential ?” is simple. We are dealing with the most complex living organisms on the planet–us. We are controlled by brains that house over 12 billion neurons with between 20,000 and 50,000 synaptic connections each. We are really lucky to get to 63% when we manage that.

    Is variance accounted for (R squared) the wrong metric for quantifying the value of a prediction tool? Can Charley Daniels play a mean fiddle?

    For Keith:
    See Cohen and Cohen (book in 1964 I believe) for stats references. See Schmidt and Hunter (1998– Psychological Bulletin) and Sackett and Leivens (2008- Annual Review of Psychology) for the latest accuracy research.

  31. The magic 36% bantered around in this discussion sounds a great deal like the magic “32 million people” who are not covered by health care..It sounds like a real number, but it actually contains a considerable number of unexplained factors…(as learned in stats 201, 301, 501 and 701).

    Aside from Tom’s explanation (which I think was excellent)..we must always remember that meta analysis numbers do not apply to specific studies. It is just a way to rank-order the effectiveness of different assessment technologies without getting bogged down in individual investigations. Every client is slightly different; however, as ageneral rule, the closer the assessment (e.g. in this case a BEI question)to a specifc job activity, the more accurate it becomes.

    For example, we might find that BEI has a “perfect” correlation with “performance” if we were interviewing a candidate for a Polar assignment. For example, we might ask about his experience with frostbite in the past, compare his answer to actual frostbite data, dump his nude body onto an Arctic iceberg, and measure the temperature at which frostbite occurs. See? Strong links between what we need, what he did and what actually happened…
    Some of the reasons (aside from the complexity and occasional unpredictability of human beings) why BEI is not perfect has to do with the skill of the person asking the questions, the use of data integration among multiple interviewers, the relevance of answers, the thoroughness of the JA, the performance measurement used, and so forth.

  32. Every step forward in this discussion seems to bring another backward….Tom thats great info on the science, and your humility in regards to the complexity of human behavior/motivation/output is refreshing.

    Wendell there is nothing magic about a bunch of uninsured Americans nor does bringing raw politics to bear on this discussion really bring anything to it: if it did, I would have fully Fisked the laughable (esp. in hindsight) 10 factor analysis of Obama and McCain……

    The Polar job is a handy hypothetical for the whole discussion- we really need to stop talking about methods and efficacy without talking about individual roles- again to invoke Joe Murphy (because I know him and have had the opportunity to try and understand his work) description and prediction are two different but similar sides of the coin. For large samples with well bounded parameters,(i.e. job performance vectors) current assessment and statistical methods can be highly predictive, but for jobs (like Polar explorers) that are unbounded and rare, the power of the stats and assessments break down quickly; in some cases to worse than random.

    The dollars in involved in mass hiring for rote jobs are major, so the ROI of these methods can be (and is in reality) often outstanding.

    However, the dollar value of high-level creative and leadership roles can also be heavy, but using these methods in those situations can destroy ROI in large chunks too. Our recent Wall Street experience with quants (and the hiring selection of their leaders) has shown those limitations dramatically.

    Most people don’t do nuance very well- that’s why its up to the people who care about this stuff to get it out there. That’s also why I believe the future of these practices points toward group dynamics and the chaotic systems involved.

  33. What’s your point, Martin?

    I was trying to point out that any correlation below perfect is due to unclear performance measures and weak links between the question, technique, answer, and performance measures.

    What part of that do you find backward?

  34. WW, because performance measures and links between the question, technique, answer, and performance measures all add up to diddly squat when the s**t hits the fan in the real world – WHEN we are talking about leadership roles, abstract and creative jobs, and highly team-oriented jobs, which in many cases are sui generis to their time and place.

    Who would hire a short Corsican artillary officer for a French dictator job ? A few bicycle mechanics with no science training to spring, fully formed, a complex device to change the world ? A college dropout with Asperger’s as CEO of the world’s greatest tech company ? A river-pilot and layabout as a leading selling author of his century ? A heavyset African American woman with no history of success as the leader of a media empire ?

    Ask them all the questions you want to prior to their success, and what would you find ?

  35. I’m tempted to say that structured Behavioural Event Interviewing is simply a straw man that lives mostly in academe – but then I remember the poor kids who come out of formal HR and recruitment training who believe in it’s very most narrow and formal interpretation and application. The fact is, formal structured behavioural event interviewing rarely occurs in the real world except some places – mostly in the public sector – where the recruitment process is strangled by bureaucracy and/or unions and where results aren’t as important as the process. No one is taking these as models to emulate.
    However, the debate is interesting. As many have already pointed out, a lot of work still has to be done to clarify the definitions of the words being used and to disentangle the multiple issues. For example, the people who support behavioural interview questions tend to come from two camps: academics who defend the research; and recruiters who fervently believe that you need to find out about what people have actually done in work situation to understand them – not what they tell you think they would, or would like to do.
    The science isn’t bad itself, it’s just not complete or practical in its current state of development. And asking behavioural questions is a heck of a lot better than asking vague hypothetical questions or asking about hobbies and non-professional interests – sometimes know as “getting to know” the candidate. As most recruiters (and many candidates) know, “behavioural” questions are best answered in the S/A/R format – which includes a discussion of the result of the behavior. (That’s ‘performance’ to you, Lou).
    When Lou talks about peeling the onion, he is talking about what other recruiters call “probing”. It is true that you can find formalists who will tell you that probing destroys the scientific validity of the question structure and introduces bias and unfairness, but any good recruiter knows that the aim is to find the best candidate, not the one that gives the “best answers”.
    So in the end, it is a bit of a straw man argument we are engaged in after all. I think the villain is the structured part of what some people imply by BEI, not the behavioural part. But the discussion will be fun!

  36. Just an observation…I did a quick name search on all the people participating in this thread. They seem to fall into two groups: One group of people who use, read all the research they can get their hands on, and actually study the effectiveness of various kinds of assessments…and another composed of a few independent recruiters arguing their own techniques were superior to others. Unfortunately, the second group provides little or no hard data (other than personal stories) to back their claims.

    Nothing productive can come out of an argument between two people who have no common misunderstanding of the same subject.

    By the way Mark, BEI is alive and well in the real world..I know at least one major consulting house that consistently has waiting lists to attend its BEI programs. As I recall, none of the attendees were ever independent recruiters.

    Martin…I think you topped you stated in your last sentence: “Ask them all the questions you want to prior to their success, and what would you find?” I think most people would, at least, be looking for trustworthy evidence the candidate was either job-qualified or unqualified. You work from a list of questions in your job, don’t you?

  37. Thank you again, Dr. Williams. I think you divided our two camps quite appropriately into the “Statistics Nerds” and the “Product Peddlers”.

    Martin, I think I agree with your basic premise that these
    “leadership roles, abstract and creative jobs” may not be effectively chosen the same way. At the same way, these folks often aren’t “hired” in the traditional sense at all….

    Keith “A Proud Statistics Nerd” Halperin

  38. Keith
    Not sure where that leaves me as a Proud Statistics Nerd who peddles the most powerful AND least expensive assessments of potential AND performance on the web.

    We squash the competition by assessing the long list for the same budget as most charge to assess the short list– delivering selection ratios that are an order of magnitude better and offering the ONLY automated way to move the power of behavioral interviewing up to the long list. Our test constructs have been taken by 140 million candidates and validated in over 240 studies. Check it out at !

    Shameless enough for ya?

  39. Wow that’s an ugly ad !

    Keith you are probably right but do we want to even add the politics of hiring selection in higher value jobs to this puzzle ?

    So what group of selectors has a large sample of the best to choose from using a well-structured process, but sometimes miss the boat in a big way ? College admissions people…….

    From today’s WSJ:

    WW, you don’t even want to know how we find and develop talent at our firm: five words- land of the misfit toys.

  40. Note: if you Google “Behavioral Event Interviewing” this article and comments comes up on the first page. Interestingly, some people are defending their positions despite evidence to the contrary, others are seeking new solutions.

    Also, interestingly, recruiters who make a living out of placing top people have a different perspective of reality than those with an academic bent.

    Is there a bridge to an optimum solution, even if it’s not perfect? Remember not to lose sight of the ultimate goal here to optimize quality of hire, not maximize assessment accuracy. Is it possible to have both?

  41. What??? Lou as the voice of Reason? Wonders never cease. Nothing at all to argue with there Lou. Assessment accuracy is a necessary but not sufficient condition to maximizing the average performance value of those who accept offers of employment. And that is even if assessment tackles Person-Environment fit along with KSAs and Motivational/Cultural Factors. Even once the offer is accepted, there is much work around setting up new hires for success that extends well beyond the first day “walk around” and the provisioning of a cell phone/pda, computer, phone number list and washroom key.

    Quick— we better find something to disagree about. No worries there 🙂

  42. Looking forward to this debate. Hoping to get their perspectives on WHEN to implement drill down questions with passive candidates. Too early and we drive them away….too late and we may not be getting good “raw data”.

  43. I don’t know where the statement “Evidence to the contrary comes from”. I have yet to see anything other than personal anecdotes and empty rhetoric. If you are looking for unbiased broad “Evidence” of senior management success, check out Bob Hogan’s studies on leadership…To make along story short, their track record is pretty shabby.

    I agree with your statement that “recruiters who place top people have a different perspective of reality”. The ones I know told me they mesure success one survival period at a time… On the other hand, reality for organizations is reducing turnover, hiring people with higher individual productivity, intelligent problem solving, flexible team members, and higher training pass rates. Surviving guarantee periods is never mentioned.

    Martin’s WSJ article is newsworthy primarily because it is UNUSUAL and out of the ordinary…Does the fact Walt Disney had a dishonorable discharge legitimize dishonorable behavior in the military? We can all hold our breath waiting for the WSJ to do an article on highly successful people who are highly educated, intelligent and ambitious…It’s too dull to be interesting.

  44. Steve – according to BEI lore – you can’t drill down. I think all recruiters would be fired if they were prohibited from determining if the person is a top performer or just a person with all the KSAs and appropriate behaviors. I suspect the difference is in the “missing” and not talked about 64%.

    As for me, once I conduct a quick work history review to see if there’s even a reasonable fit I dig deep into the person’s major accomplishments to determine if the person is a strong performer or not. During this digging the person’s behaviors, skills and abilities are demonstrated via their performance.

    Thanks for the soft-ball question.

  45. WW since you can’t prove a negative, so there is no way of saying how many misfits, losers, and otherwise nominally unqualified people may have gone on to success but for disqualifying factors actually untied from outcomes, most especially in political (leadership) situations.

    I’m sure millions of choices have been made over the years based on race, social class, age, backward looking formal qualifications, untoward credentialism, overvalue of perfection, and a hundred other non-quantifiable and non-relevant factors- in other words, the ordinary.

    What would be interesting would be to learn that much of what we think is cause and effect may not be…. reality can be mighty tricky like that.

  46. Dr. Janz:
    If your stuff has been proven in objective, un-biased testing, you’ve got my vote on its “scientific” validity. Just show us who did it, and then promote all you like!

    Dr. Williams:
    What are “top people”? CXOs? People who do really well at what they’re paid to do? What about a really good. As Martin said (I think) it’s not always easy to say what a
    top performer is.

    Maybe it’s different in your area, but I tell my clients that I can get detailed, basic general information (KSAs) on candidates and can ask some more in-depth technical/professional questions to note candidates’ replies, but to drill down and determine how “good” someone is at their job should be left to a phone interview with someone in that specialty.


  47. Keith – I guess you’re not a recruiter. Maybe that’s the difference of perspective in all of these posts.

    As a recruiter, I must make a technical, managerial, fit, performance and motivation decision, among others before I present candidates to my clients. If they have a track record of performing similar work in similar environments at peak levels they always have the right skills, experience, abilities, etc. Surprisingly, these are often different than what’s listed on the job description. This allows us also to open up the candidate pool to more diverse candidates, military vets, and high potential. In fact, Fisher and Phillips and Littler, Mendelsohn opine that using performance objectives as the measure of success might be more objective than KSAs.

    To start an assignment I ask hiring managers what the person in the job would need to do to be considered a B+ player or better. Then we assess their track record of performing at this level. As part of this we look for a track record of continuous and growing performance.

    I’d also suggest (as a rational discussion point) that using KSAs as the independent variable when conducting regression analysis might be a flawed approach, since they’re not really independent. The performance objectives are the independent variable here, since different KSAs can lead to the same level of performance.

  48. I must say, I love the passion this discussion has generated! Isn’t this fun? But I still think that besides some interesting stats lessons, we aren’t making much progress because we haven’t defined our terms. I think the various sides are a lot closer than they appear.
    Lou has created a straw man that he calls BEI, but he is really calling into question a very specific form of behavioural interviewing with rigidly structured questions, little or no probing, and question that focus on simple behaviours, rather than complex patterns of goal-focused action (i.e., “performance”). The target of his criticism is a bit of a simplified caricature of behavioural interviewing, but it is recognizably similar to some academic models –at least it is how some not very experienced people interpret what they have been taught.
    What I find interesting is that (as far as I can tell) no one seems to be defending the specific features that Lou is criticizing – they are defending the label he used to describe it.
    And as several people have pointed out, Lou’s system appears to be a version of behavioural interviewing itself – it’s just not the specific version he takes issue with. I think he is really proposing a specific (better?) type of behavioural interviewing – reinventing the wheel, as someone said, after all.
    In the meantime, there is a lot of animated discussion pro and con BEI, with little effort to get behind the labels and to the actual practices.

    Oh – and for the record, I don’t fall into either the “nerds” or the “peddlers” camp. I’m not selling anything (and I’m not a recruiter) – I just think it is an important topic that is being under served by too much “common misunderstanding” of the subject.

  49. Mark is pretty much right on, with one big proviso. Since, I assert that behaviors are not independent variables, using them is fundamentally flawed from a statistical, mathematical (decision theory) and logical standpoint (asserting the consequent).

    With that said, extracting behaviors by evaluating performance is appropriate since this preserves the independent/dependent relationship. Asking for examples of how behaviors were used in my opinion results in skewed data and is leading the witness. By asking about accomplishments and observing what behaviors, skills, competencies were used is a more unbiased approach and increases validity. This way the assessment is based on a comparison of required vs. past performance. Growth and change of behaviors over time can then be observed. This also increases assessment accuracy.

  50. Dear Lou
    You would be well advised to focus your comments on what works in a search setting with limited talent populations for highly specialized positions. That is where your valuable expertise lies. Your points around asking about accomplishments and then probing for the choices and actions that produced those accomplishments makes great sense to me.

    When it comes to dependent and independent variables, decision theory, and statistical analysis, you might just as well throw in matrix rank reduction and SCREE curve analysis— for all the relevance that the words you already use have. You couldn’t differentiate an independent from a dependent variable if it ran over you in broad daylight.

    Scores on behavioral scales can be dependent or independent variables, depending whether they are predictors or the criterion. The dependent variable is the measure one is trying to predict. Its all quite simple really. No need for obscure words like ‘assering the consequent’– whatever that is. As Robert Frost once said–Obscurity is usually just a cover for nothing.

  51. Try as you might there will never come a time when a formula will replace a solid recruiter. And yes some of this is helpful
    both sides have gone off on a huge tangent. Does past achievements project into an indicator of course. But there are too many human factors. Such as the self reporting from the candidate that continues to make this an art not a science.
    So more psychology less statistics.

  52. Now Tom, I know you want to discredit me, with the Great Debate coming up and all, but if you read my book, you’ll see that we do have a decision model for both top performers and hiring managers on how each makes a decision to accept/not accept and hire/not hire. Working backwards from here we ensure both parties obtain the info they need to optimize their choices. Now you might not want to call it decision, but it is. In fact, the sub-title for the first edition of the book was “A Rational Way to Make a Gut Decision” – for that exact reason that much of the problem with hiring is flawed decision making in an area of uncertainty and limited data.

    Again, Tom, we’re looking at the problem of maximizing quality of hire, differently than you. But when you start with the end in mind, you take a different path.

  53. Now Lou,
    Once again, when in the world of matching top talent with big jobs, your thinking and procedures make great sense.

    Your comment above bears not one iota on the issue I was critiquing around dependent and independent variables. Guide us with your opinions on on what works based on 1500 successful placements, and most of the time we gain valuable advice. Try to tell us pointy-headed scienctists on how to do science, and we are both wasting our time. You are in the talent biz, not the science biz. Until we have a full and complete science of recruiting (which we surely don’t yet), we need experienced masters like you for guidance on what to research and how to act in the mean time.

  54. Tom your earlier humility has been washed away by your later sarcasm. Lou has been contributing here forever and he is only wrong like half the time- may I suggest that a softer tone may be more effective and respectful to the community ?

  55. Martin – that was great! If 50% is the r, than r squared is only 25% – which explains much of problem. But at least my 50% is far greater than many others. As someone once told me you only half to be half right and you can be successful.

    Tom – you are correct re: independent variable, in general (GMA, structured interview, test score) however, the issue I have with many KSAs is that they are not independent. How much, mix and differences come into play here. I’ve seen many JMOs and those on high-potential rotation programs out-perform their peers who have more knowledge and skills time and time again.

  56. Martin
    Ooooooooouch! To be schooled by a true master of the obscure and chaotic. There are both obvious and subtle ways to communicate disagreement. I believe Lou and I prefer the obvious and frank ones, even though it leaves us open to being obviously wrong some of the time and perceived as arrogant. Neither of us is, actually. In your case, (with the exception of your clear smack on the wrist above)one is just never quite sure. The pleasure of being PC, I suppose.

    So let’s ask Lou respectfully— are softer, quieter tones in order?

  57. Tom,

    Perhaps you are reacting to the “bad science” suggestion in Lou’s original article. Fair enough. I have no doubt that the science is fine, as far as it goes. I think Lou is actually implying either that this science hasn’t looked hard enough at the right things, or it has simply been misapplied. Moreover, as you propose, I think he actually is suggesting what to research. He is suggesting that we should focus selection methids on larger more complex patterns of behaviour displayed over an extended period of time (call it the ‘macro’ level), rather than simple, independent “micro” behaviours. “Micro behaviours” – the kind sometimes associated with classical behavioural interviewing (“Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a co-worker . . “) – are often the types of things where a “correct” answer can be easily guessed or learned and where the behaviour described in the answer a candidate gives may not be representative of the candidate’s typical behaviour. A collection of assessments of these simple behaviours may be less than fully adequate to effectively predict job performance, which is a very complex thing – even for junior jobs. Further, if you are selecting against simple behaviours and you believe that you have identified simple “preferred responses”, you can convince yourself that you should avoid rephrasing questions, asking follo-up questions, clarifying and “drilling down”. But if you are selecting against large, long-term, complex behaviour patterns, you simply have to “peel the onion”. It would be great to see some research comparing these two approaches.

    This debate should not be about statistics, let alone statical science credentials. (I think Lou only introduced statistics to suggest that there is a lot of room to improve). The debate should be about the proper size and complexity of the ‘behavioural’ elements that we should be selecting against, and the appropriate methods to use to assess them.

  58. Mark – your last post was absolutely right on! Thank you –

    Tom – whatever Mark says, I’m okay with regarding your last question.

  59. I also agree with Mark and Tom.
    So what IS the debate question?

    Some aspects of BEI may be misused in the wrong hands.
    Some aspects of BEI may not apply in all circumstances.
    BEI is evil- EXTERMINATE!

    Something else?



  60. So how’d it go? Some of us had to recruit, though Lou might disagree on that’s what I was doing. Hope everybody made lots of money, came off as smart and professional, or otherwise helped themselves. Also I hope there wasn’t too much sound reasoning, clear analysis, or much revealed insight, because those’re SO BORING! Finally, I trust that nothing too definite was settled, because where’s the profit in that?


    Keith “Putting the ‘Silly’ Back In Sillycon Valley for Over 20 Years” Halperin

  61. Keith “Busy with the Silly Business” Halperin
    In response to your request for the research, I have created a Google folder that contains both complete articles/chapters/presentations and a document with 30 some citations.

    You can access that folder here–>

    Tom “Happy Reading” Janz

  62. What about the creative mind?
    My personal experience with Behavioral Interviews (only once as an job candidate—mostly observing who gets hired) is that this interview style creates a prejudice toward the detail oriented. Those personality styles best able to record and regurgitate a detailed accounting of past events are likely to do best.

    I’d submit that these people, while quite possibly competent, “successful” candidates, are of a similar personality style. And an organization which, over time, utilizes Behavioral interviews exclusively might well find itself with a dearth of innovation and the strength of diversity in its work force.

    I’ve never seen this issue addressed or researched and I’d love to hear comments from anyone with more information, particularly from the author or Dr. Janz.

  63. This is a very old article…However, I have conducted BEI, taught others to conduct BEI, and been on the receiving end of BEI myself…The only people who seem to do poorly in BEI are those who cannot clearly communicate what they have done. However,this holds true for any interview, behavioral or not…AND, it’s one great reason why interviews should be supplemented with a variety of other tools. I cannot speak to your interview experience, but it’s possible your interviewer was unskilled.

  64. Well, well, well…does this article ever ring true. I have been through dozens of these types of interviews…literally dozens! There are a number of “executives” who appear to not want to be involved. Nobody is looking at you. It’s a crap shoot if you happen to mention the “money words” they seek. It is the most off putting experience I have ever encountered. Here is an idea, lets have a conversation about the role for which you are recruiting. Lets have a conversation about the challenges of this particular position and how one might approach the situation. Lets have a conversation about what the candidate does when they are not at work…etc. I have more than 25 years of Business Development experience and I can tell you, unequivocally, that I have never, not once, been asked by a potential client in a sales situation to tell that individual “about a time when you helped someone. Tell me the circumstance, who was involved, what you did to assess and manage the situation, what was the outcome and what did you learn?” Never…not once! I have been asked where I was from, did I have family, what I thought of the current brackets for the upcoming NCAA tournament…etc. I have asked many of my HR friends if their turnover rates or productivity or sales performance etc. has improved since the dawn of the BEI. They won’t even answer the question because they don’t know the answer. Welcome to my personal hell!

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