Day 49 (of 185) Motivational Based Interviewing (changing some of my interview strategies)

Day 49 (of 185) Motivational Based Interviewing  (changing some of my interview strategies)


First a review from Day 48:

  1. What are the three components that all High Performers share in common?
  2. What are the two constant Laws of Achievement
  3. When we think we can’t, we believe we are being ________
  4. There is a connection between one’s ________ and the outcome
  5. The perceived control or power a person thinks he/she has to determine an outcome is called __________________
  6. The “I Can” attitude is an _______________ Locus of control
  7. When you hear an excuse of blame placed elsewhere, it is a sure clue to an ________ locus of control
  8. Matching an applicant’s passion with the duties and responsibilities of a job is called a _______________
  9. The aim is to have a person’s passions, not dislikes, be more of a _______ with the job
  10. ______ & ______ = self-motivation



  1. Passion Skill Attitude
  2. Always obstacles. Only those who find a way to overcome the obstacles achieve results.
  3. realistic
  4. attitude
  5. locus of control
  6. internal
  7. external
  8. career fit
  9. fit/match
  10. passion & attitude



Day 2 – Ie Identifying High Performers – the interview


Quote to conclude yesterday/start today: If you want a team or an organization full of passionate, driven employees who go above and beyond to solve problems, the best way to achieve this is to hire passionate, driven people for each and every job opening!



Writing Effective Interview Questions:

O-S Obstacle Situation Skill Scoring

A Action Taken (1  2)    3   4   5    (remove 1 & 2 as so infrequent)

E End Results




O-S  Tell me about a specific time when you……went above and beyond to satisfy a customer  (this will often/almost always be a success story and score a 3+)….change 2nd part to “had to deal with an irate customer” <— able to focus on +ves and -ves views of the job.   (obstacle: the customer/student/parent….   success story is comfortable for both, not as comfortable when asking about tougher parts….or “fails”….)


A Tell me about the actions you took


E What were the end results?   (don’t prompt/guide with followup questions – probe for answers, but don’t give information away and be careful when probing about what you are looking for) If vague or no answer, they just don’t have experience in this <— that’s okay…it’s still information.



use a 3-part skill assessment question that includes an obstacle.


the obstacle helps show the full skill-range of the interviewee <— even okay for a response to be “I’ve never had to deal with ____ before” as it illustrates an area for growth…it just depends how vital that part is.


How to add an obstacle? Nice customers are easy, dealing with an irate customer makes the job a challenge. Insert one or two words that express difficulty or describe a challenge:


hard complicated awkward not enough

perplexing inadequate oppressive vague

irate tough unyielding unmanageable

annoying below standard difficult demanding

unfair insufficient overwhelmed unprepared


It can make this “feel” negative because we want to know how we will be working on the toughest parts of the job. 


Second questions need to gather needed information. “What are you trying to gain from asking the questions”.



Using adjectives:


Tell me about a specific time when you had to communicate a ________ message to a co-worker.


awkward difficult complicated troubling uncertain sensitive negative vague


Tell me about a specific time when you were faced with ____ when you were trying to do your job


unsafe situations troubled/irate parents tight timelines multiple timelines unclear directions unhappy coworker competing priorities inadequate tools change an obstacle inadequate training


Tell me about a specific time when you had to implement a(n) _____ policy/change


innovative confusing controversial challenging inspiring compelling inspiring goal-oriented unique unreasonable radical unfunded unpopular unnecessary



Tell me about a specific time you were ________ at work

coached consulted encouraged influenced mentored stimulated tested supported evaluated frustrated overwhelmed embarrassed collaborative



Making Good Questions GREAT!

Rule 1: Obstacle – include one obstacle per question

Rule 2: Open Outcome – don’t ask for successes or failures   (this can be toughest part)

Rule 3: Specific – ask for the details (interviewer POWER word)



Behavioural Interviews did not get specific “tell me a time when….” vs “tell me a specific time when….”



Previous “template questions” (and suggested answers) are now online….which is a reminder “if your question can be answered via google….are they good questions?” When specific an looking for personal connections…..well, that can’t be copy-pasted.



Still need to ask followup questions to probe for more information.




Audience Question: share questions ahead of time?   <— not different from behavioural interviews other than looking for specifics and putting forward “an obstacle”.  This means we have to be better listeners. 




When creating questions, keep it straight/focused to the point (less wordy – as this will allow more open-interpretation by the interviewee)


Is the question “open” enough for the person to answer either +ve or -ve stories


ie Tell us a specific example of when you had to work with a student with separation anxiety.  (answer can balance ‘what they can do’ as well as ‘where do they get support’). Also more specific than “a difficult child”. Doesn’t say +ve or -ve example.



GASE = give a specific example

GASE when you used differentiation with a student

GASE when a difficult decision affected a relationship

GASE when you lacked what you needed for a lesson




Observation shared to me: you’re putting all this on your blog? sharing all the questions? table response: if the questions are able to be answered via online search, they’re not good questions – need to get personal connections started and shared.





  1. Tell me about a specific time when you helped an employee improve his performance.(no obstacle; no open-outcome)
    1. gase when you worked with an employee regarding their performance
  2. Tell me about a time when you successfully solved a difficult problem
    1. gase when you encountered a difficult problem
  3. Tell me about a specific time when you were the leader of a team
    1. case when you unexpectedly became leader of a team   (of a conflicted team)
  4. Tell me about a specific time when you wrote a program that exceeded everyones expectations
    1. gase when you wrote a challenging program
  5. Tell me about a time when you were unable to meet a project deadline
    1. gase when you faced a tight timeline when you were trying to do your job  (when it was difficult to meet a project deadline)



Regarding Questions:


Vary between “only ask” O-SAE questions…8/10….”it depends”


Describe position at start vs at end….(sometimes better to save that to the end as it can heavily influence how the questions are answered….can be good can be bad – but it has been successful to get to the specific position towards the end of the interview)




  1. Your questions must be written before you start interviewing job applicants
  2. You should consistently use the O-SAE format when writing your skill assessment questions
  3. Simply by adding an obstacle, you’re able to gather a second piece of valuable applicant information
  4. MBI elicits two valuable pieces of information (skill and attitude) without any extra interviewing time



When passing on ‘bad news’ – keep it brief on the initial call/contact; provide feedback later; be available – but focus on the skills (not how to answer questions) because the skills (areas of emphasis) will help candidates better share their passion (see previous days notes)  <— feedback from “group interview” keeps it ‘not personal’ in why the decision was made…concrete examples vs “it felt like…..”



Assessing skills….



this topic brings up the usual discussion….what is a 3, a 4, why not a 3.5 or a 3.17568?



Suggested Scoring:

5 = excellent

4 = above average

3 = satisfactory

2 = below average

1 = unsatisfactory



to determine if the candidate has the sufficient skills needed for doing the job, or does not. the goal here is to truly be able to defend the decision made.



Behavioural interviews lean towards success stories, which are easier to share & hear. We need to be able to focus on what is said and allow the candidate to reveal best ‘who they are’ (not who you hope they are/become)



Only 2 Locus of Control Responses:

  1. Internal – refuses to give up. can provide specific problem-solving details. Persistent. Worked hard to conquer obstacles. (this is the big difference) – “I can and I did! Let me explain specifically what I did!
  2. External – gives up easily. Can’t provide specific problem-solving details….because there aren’t any.  Great intentions, great excuses & great reasons why not. “I couldn’t and let me explain why it wasn’t my fault”.




Is failure bad? Trying is important. High performance candidates more willing to take risks. Persistence matters.



Wrong!                                                                      Right!

Assessing words or generic answers               Assess the ACTION (or note the lack of it)

Assessing good sounding intentions               Assess follow-through and action

or notice words are empty due to inaction

Assessing the size of the obstacle                     Don’t assess the obstacle. Assess the quality

of effort that was put into conquering it

Assessing the outcomes (success/failure)       Don’t assess the outcome, but rather the

action and problem-solving effort put forth



If you’re going to make a hiring mistake, err on the side of the Kids. 



Easy to hire “good talkers” and so hard when you know that someone “needs” the job…



Only a few questions to Assess Career Fit



Match or Mismatch:



career goals





these are also good reflection questions for what you are doing now….

Likes & Dislikes

  1. Out of all the jobs you have held, which was your most favourite? Why?
  2. Out of all the jobs you have held, which was your least favourite? Why?



Strengths and Weaknesses

  1. On your last performance evaluation, in which 3 areas were you rated strongest?
  2. If I talk to your last supervisor, what are 2 areas you could improve upon?

(we are not asking for the applicants opinion of their weaknesses)


Career Goals

  1. Tell me about the career goals you have for the next 2 to 5 years
  2. (what steps have you taken toward reaching them)



Career fit is vital, so never, ever assume! Don’t assume the perfect job skills, education or experience equates to passion.



MBI Information Gathering – Recap

  1. The O-SAE questions to reveal a second piece of information regarding the candidates predominate reaction to obstacles.
  2. Ask O-SAE questions for each job skill required
  3. Ask 5 specific Career Fit questions to determine what motivates and does NOT motivate the candidate   (this is 5 questions on top of the other Qs for the position)

Look for “Fit”  based on Attitude (I can figure out a way to do this) Skill (I’m GREAT at doing this) and Passion (I love doing this)



Interview Relationships….

To get a job offer, applicants must:

  1. Be on their best behaviour and educate themselves on how to ace an interview
  2. They must sell themselves and all their great attributes. They must provide answers that make them sound perfect for the job
  3. If at all possible…they must avoid sharing any negative information about themselves

To do this, interviewers must learn how to gather information effectively in this setting….getting relaxed and comfortable to “be who you are” because it is so often about “best fit”




Question Setup:

Question 1 Skill Focus

1  2  3  4  5       I   E

Tell me about a specific time when………..What was the end result?

Looking for a MATCH or MISMATCH

suggested 8 questions + 5 “career fit” Qs




Actually Hiring High Performers

  • Your decision to hire will now involve three components – not just one
  • Some likeable applicants will only have one or two of the components and not all three
  • Identifying High Performers is not the same as HIRING High Performers – you must reel them in!
  • Find out where else your candidate is interviewing and how far along he/she is with each
  • Attract them with their passions.



“New Generation” is more concerned over work-life balance than $. Things are different for hiring than they were in the past.  Your High Performers are the ones who keep getting things done even if you get in their diary – so hire MORE high performers.




  1. MBI Trained interviewers
  2. Effective Questions (there are some Qs that are becoming dated)
  3. Hire “ONLY High Performers”

it takes all three





  • Gut feeling/instinct
  • chemistry
  • prejudices
  • stereopying
  • Interviewers locos of control


All of these can incorrectly sway your judgement



Interviewer Best Practices:

  • Treat all applicants exactly the same (probing Qs may be different0
  • ask only job-related questions
  • use a structured interview. ask all applicants the same set of interview questions
  • ask only about the candidates abilities…NOT disabilities


Kind of looking forward to my next interview experience!


Glad that I got my badge/certificate for this new learning……;-)

MBI Certificate.png


About technolandy

Educator in BCs Sunny Shuswap Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback
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