When interviewers say something such as- "Provide me with an idea of how you recognize and reward high-performing employees-" they are using behavioral interview questions to get a glimpse into how you have handled past situations. This snapshot is critical because how you have behaved in the past is likely similar to how you will behave in the future. Such a question as the one above can be rephrased in a few ways- for example- "Recognizing and rewarding high-performing employees is critical. How do you do it?" Another way to ask the question is- "How have you successfully and unsuccessfully handled employee recognition and rewards?"
For quite a few job applicants- such behavioral questions may be a marked departure from fact-based queries such as- "What is your management style?" That does not mean that such fact-based questions are disappearing- though. In many cases- they remain- with behaviorally-based questions giving an expanded picture of a job candidate. In this case- an employer wants to know what kind of manager you would be at the company- so it only makes sense to ask about your actions in past situations.
While behavioral questions may seem problematic to answer- they are fairly easy to handle once you acquaint yourself with the STAR method and a few good preparation tips.
How to Answer the 'Provide Me With an Idea of How You Recognize and Reward High-Performing Employees' Behavioral Interview Question
Let the STAR Method Guide Your Answer. The acronym STAR breaks down into three parts- the first being "ST" for situation or task- the second being "A" for the actions you took to address the situation or task- and the final being "R" for the positive results that came from your actions.
Following the STAR approach lets you organize your answer and have a solid guideline in place to keep you from panicking and floundering. It also enables you to prepare thoroughly before your interviews for any type of behavioral question. Your first step is to brainstorm situations that illustrate how you have recognized and rewarded high-performing employees in the past. Factors to think about include how you defined "high performing-" who was involved in the process- the personalities and team cohesiveness of the employees- and how many employees you were supervising.
Discuss Specific Credentials You Have in This Area. Perhaps the reason you chose a particular recognitions and rewards system is because you had recently undergone a relevant seminar or read a book on the very subject. Discussing the specific credentials you have on the topic is important because it shows you approach management by making educated and thoughtful decisions backed up by research. Or perhaps you don't; perhaps you manage by gut feel. Still- discuss specific credentials you have that make you a good person to run effective employee recognition and reward programs. Failures may be relevant and insightful- for example- maybe a specific approach failed at a previous job but you believed with some small adjustments- it could succeed in your next positionÂ—and it did.
Talk About Lower-Performing Employees. Since you are recognizing and rewarding high-performing employees- it stands to reason that you are also able to identify lower-performing employees. You can talk about how your system of recognizing and rewarding higher performers helped lower performers step up their game. As an example- before your system was established- perhaps 20 percent of your employees never reached a specific quota in upselling- and after the system was established- that figure dropped to 10 percent.
Illustrate With Numbers. And speaking of numbers- use metrics to add credibility to the results portion of many behavioral interview questions. Show how your recognitions and rewards system was effective. There are many ways in which to use numbers. Perhaps sales figures or profits rose- or the team's overall performance soared. Perhaps absenteeism dropped to all-time lows. There are many numbers you can use to show your effectiveness; sometimes- you just have to look for them.
Sample 'Provide Me With an Idea of How You Recognize and Reward High-Performing Employees' STAR Interview Answer
I had taken a course in how to motivate and manage employees- and it discussed several ways to recognize and reward high-performing employees. I realized that I needed to work more on day-to-day recognition- so I did just that. I made a point to praise employees- individually and in front of the team- for something they did every day. I also realized that the company had no set metric in place to identify what it meant by "high performing-" so I developed a program with target criteria that high performers met. I used that criteria to identify different types of performers and to set up formal rewards programs such as pay raises for the high performers. In the span of one year- overall productivity on the team rose by 20 percent; even the lower-performing employees stepped up their game. Perhaps best of all- retention of top employees increased by 70 percent.
The high likelihood of behavioral interview questions means that you must prepare for abstract questions using the STAR method. A few good examples help round out your answer.