10 Ways Behavioral and STAR Interviews Fail To Select Top Talent

by Michael R. Neece, CEO InterviewMastery.com

Behavioral Event Interviews (BEI) and STAR interviews are widely believed to be the best interview format to identify top talent for a specific job. In practice, BEI questions often screen out top talent. This article reveals ten (10) ways behavioral interviews fail to select the best candidates.

  1. BEI Questions Alone: Interviewers falsely believe that just asking BEI questions makes them skilled at gathering evidence and accurately assessing candidate talents.
  2. The Wrong Questions: Most interviewers are unskilled and unprepared to ask the right BEI questions and follow initial questions with a structured probing sequence.
  3. Technical Interviews: Behavioral questions are widely misused for technical interviews that require a detailed technical conversation. Wide-board sessions have proven to be more effective to learn the depth of a person’s technical knowledge and their ability to communicate complex technical concepts clearly.
  4. No Notes or Evaluation: Not taking notes and not documenting candidate evaluations is another indication of an interview process that is out of control.
  5. No probing sequence: Exceptional interviewers use a structured probing sequence after hearing the candidate’s response. A best-practice probing sequence is “What, How, What, How, Why”.
  6. Unprepared candidates: Even when candidates are unprepared, it is the interviewers’ responsibility to ask the right opening questions and follow-up probing sequence that helps the candidate provide the interviewer with the data they need to make an assessment.
  7. Interviewers are certain they have special powers: Interviewers spend 30-45 minutes talking to a stranger, then make a guess about the candidate’s future job performance. Unskilled interviewers falsely believe their conclusion is correct and they do not check the accuracy of their assumption-based assessment with the candidate at the end of the interview.
  8. STAR formula: Interviewers assume that candidates who best follow the STAR method are the most skilled at doing a job. This just means the candidate is the most skilled at interviews.
  9. Pre-scripted questions: The use of pre-scripted questions limits assessments to only the competencies interviews focus upon
  10. Wrong interviewers: Many times interviewers are picked by convenience or because they work in the same department as the open position.


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