Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hating BDI Questions

Nick Corcodilos--author of the long-running newsletter, website and book of the same name, Ask the Headhunter--disdains Behaviour Descriptive Interview questions. In his recent foray into blogland, he has even sprung out a hate-on for BDI questions. Though I agree, somewhat, with many of his arguments, like past behaviour doesn't always express future success and that the BDI interview can be rigged in favour of the glib, there is one enormous problem with shedding BDI questions: what else are people going to ask?

Well, more intelligent questions that are trying to elicit information about skills, such as:
  • Give me an example of a collection development project that you worked on: how did you plan it and what was the outcome. -Or-
  • Give me an example of a time when you accepted a teaching assignment with very little time to prepare.
Wait, those are both skills-based and BDI questions. Could it be that BDI questions aren't bad but are just selected and delivered by people with little or no interview experience?

I would also beg you not to throw the BDI out with the bathwater since we have scripted interviews for very good reasons:
  • for the unimaginative, scripts are good
  • for the grandiose and easily distracted, scripts are better
  • we need to measure fairly and objectively
  • an unstructured conversation can also favour the glib
  • structured interview questions, with rules, also allow the candidate to think logically and reflectively about her presentation and delivery
BDI is part of the proportions of a mix of interview questions, but it shouldn't make up all of the interview questions.

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