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What is a competency based interview?

Competency Based Interview Techniques

Be prepared and be in the driving seat when it comes to a competency based interview.

In my experience every interview is competency based, it’s a line of questioning that is thorough.  HR professionals are fully trained to deliver these questions and have been following this style for a number of years.  If you are faced with this, it’s not daunting, just a pattern of questions that will give any good candidate the opportunity to talk about themselves and what they do in their current and previous jobs.

Competency based interviews, otherwise known as ‘behavioural’ or ‘situational’ interviews are not designed to catch you out.  They will draw out relevant details about you tackle a real problem or situation and they will always identify the best candidate and eradicate the  bluffer.

The questions will be around current and previous work, and are good predictor for future job performance.  Be prepared to give a real example or a situation or maybe a project, and be prepared to talk through this in great detail.  Imagine the line of questions are:

  • Please describe to me a situation when you have helped a colleague who was in trouble?
  • What was the situation and how did you try to tackle it?
  • How recently did this happen?
  • Why did they come to you?
  • How were you supportive?
  • What was the outcome?

Think about your example, was it a project or a situation, and explain how the situation occurred in the first instance.  Be prepared to discuss this matter in detail, what happened, how you were involved, what did you do, what challenges you face, on reflection could you have done anything different?  Be open and discuss the good and the bad.

This is an opportunity to demonstrate your thought process and demonstrate a clear communication style.

It is likely that you will be asked probing questions so the interviewer can gain a deeper understanding, and it is very important to remember that they are not trying to catch you out, they were not involved, they want you to tell them more.  Imaging that your objective is to fully demonstrate you are competent in:

  • Team work
  • Level of responsibility
  • Commitment to career
  • Decision making
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • Organisational skills

Helpful Tip – How should you end the meeting?

There will always be the polite conversation, ‘when will I hear?’, What is the next stage’ – I actually think the best last question I ever heard was “How are we going to take this forward!”

If you have any great lines for ending an interview, do email me, I like to compile this type of information – pip@branwellford.co.uk

Pip Sanford, MD

BranWell Ford Associate Limited

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