Behavioural Assessment Interviews


Behavioral Assessment Interview


Basic Philosophy

The behavioral or psychological assessment interview is a commonly used instrument by MACO International. The term 'psychological assessment' refers to the interpretation of an individual's characteristics by a psychologist. This interpretation is based upon data gathered from an in-depth and semi-structured interview. The behavioral assessment interview can be conducted for a wide variety of reasons. The most common aims are:

  • To determine the strengths and weaknesses of a manager in view of further professional development.
  • To provide top-management with compelling insights about the strengths and weaknesses of an individual manager.
  • To assist specific managers in making rational career decisions.
  • To detect underlying problem areas whenever a manager is not meeting the performance expectations.


Dimensions of the interview

The assessment consists typically of a three-hour interview between the executive and the consultant. The interview seeks valid and reliable information on a number of dimensions that have proven to be of the utmost importance for effective job performance. Those dimensions and related characteristics are:

  • Problem Solving: including conceptual and analytical thinking, judgment and decision making, intellectual flexibility, creativity, …
  • Emotional Stability: including self-confidence, self-control, stress-resistance, flexibility, dependence, level of energy, …
  • Motivation: including career ambitions, drive, wanted job profile, level of goal setting, performance standards, identification with company objectives, loyalty…
  • Interpersonal Style: including interaction skills, communication skills, persuasiveness, degree of diplomacy, natural ascendancy, negotiation skills…
  • Psychological Insight: including self-insight, understanding of others, awareness of shortcomings, openness for criticism, interest in other people, flexibility versus others, …
  • Leadership and Management Style: including strategic and tactical insights, planning and organization of the job, control and delegation, leadership style, follow-up of action plans, commitment to excellence, business acumen, team work characteristics, …

The evaluation of those characteristics leads to an accurate 'portrait' of the interviewee's behavioral patterns and style.

The interview is always conducted in a permissive, semi-direct manner so that the manager has the choice to bring up and discuss his/her thoughts in a personal way. Interrogations, cross-examinations, stress situations or 'tricky' questions are excluded. No psychological tests are used. As a reference, the following topics are typically discussed during the interview:

  • Educational background
  • Professional experiences
  • Present job responsibilities
  • Social environment, general interests
  • Career expectations
  • Outlook on life and the future.



The consultant writes a detailed report centered around the above-mentioned dimensions. Furthermore, the report contains a summary spelling out:

  • An overview of the manager's competencies
  • The weaknesses that ought to get appropriate attention
  • Concrete and specific suggestions/action plans aiming at a better overall professional/personal performance.



Shortly after the interview, feedback sessions with the manager and with his/her hierarchy are organized.

  • The feedback session with the interviewee consists of the discussion of the re-port and the review/planning of specific developmental action plans
  • The feedback session with his/her hierarchy (including the interviewee) focuses on the commitment and implementation of the developmental action plans
  • The feedback sessions are specific, performance- and results-oriented
  • Both the interviewee and the hierarchy receive a copy of the report.



It is obvious that the context and the nature of the interview, the report and the feedback sessions require a strict confidential handling of the information. The consultant indeed respects the highest ethical and professional standards in this regard (The Ethical Practice of Psychology in Organizations, edited by Rodney L. Lowman and published by the APA and the SIOP, USA, 2006).  For recent Amendments to the Ethics Code see

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