How do I use behavioural evidence?

How do you predict the future?

Hi, we’re on day nine of our 52 top tips for business owners, entrepreneurs, and managers. If you’re in a position where you’re managing staff, recruiting for the first time, or suddenly got responsibility for staff, then these are a really invaluable set of tools that will help you to manage your staff more effectively, and that helps you to get support and advice where you need it. 

Today, we’re talking about behavioural evidence. That’s the process that you would go through when you’re interviewing. So I’ll read it to you and then I’ll elaborate a little bit on it. 

Behavioural evidence, the way in which someone behaves in the past is perhaps the best indicator of how they might behave in the future. Instead of asking, “what would you do if,” ask, “give me an example of a time when you have,” whatever it is. Then probe their answer, test what they’re saying. “What happened?” “What was your role?” “How did you feel?” “Could you have done anything differently?” 

It’s very easy to ask hypothetical questions about situations that a candidate has never actually found themselves in. That does have a time and place, but very often, you want somebody who’s got a proven track record. You want to know how they’re going to deal with an emergency. You want to know about how they’ve dealt with a situation in crisis, what their thought process was, why they took the decisions that they took. What did they learn from that experience? What would they do differently next time? I’ve actually managed to identify when somebody has been lying to me by really probing down. It’s like a funnel. So you ask an open question and then you ask more and more questions, more and more detail so you really, really understand what that person did in that situation, why, and what they would do differently next time. 

You actually learn more from your mistakes than you do from when everything is always a success and actually understanding that process that people go through can be really powerful when taking a decision between a number of different candidates to find the best fit for your organisation.

All our videos are available on YouTube with captions. If you wish to view this video with captions, please visit

The Interviewer's Toolkit

For more assistance with writing job descriptions and recruitment, check out our interviewer’s toolkit.