Competency Based Interviews

Competency based interviews are now common place in the recruitment process. In these interviews the questions focus on real (your past experience) and – importantly – theoretical situations in order to determine your ‘key competences’.

Don’t let this concern you, it is simply a tool that your interviewer will use to access your suitability to fit in with their team or organisation, and make them feel confident that you can do the job.

In fact it’s as important for you as it is for the recruiter that you find out if you would fit in to their organisation. Finding out if your competences are right for the job at this point could save a lot of heartache later on.

Hopefully a right decision made at this point could be a successful and happy career move for you.

Knowing that there will almost certainly be competency based questions in most interviews is important, because you can prepare ahead of time and think of how you can ‘showcase’ your strengths. For example, if the role requires strategic thinking, there will no doubt be several questions in the interview designed to give you an opportunity to demonstrate your ability in this area.  It is a good idea to have examples in mind of where you have used competencies in past employment, or ideas of how you would use these competencies if you secured the advertised role.

Examples of Common Competencies

  • Communication Skills
  • Delivering Results
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Use of Initiative
  • Planning and Organising
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Building Relationships
  • Developing Others
  • Team Work

In responding to a competency-based question, the most important principle is to:

  • Give a real example that actually happened to you.
  • Don’t talk in broad terms about how you generally tackle those sorts of situations – talk about a specific example. Keep you’re answers concise.

It’s always a good idea to rehearse giving answers to likely questions, using a friend or relative as your ‘interviewer’. You’ll be much better prepared for your interview – and they’ll probably be impressed at what you are capable of!

Questions Frequently Asked at Competency Based Interviews

The most common types of questions asked in Competency Based Interviews are ‘Behavioural Based’, to discover how you would react or have handled a situation. This will help them access your suitability for the job.

Such questions will usually start with phrases such as:

  • “Tell me about a time when you….”
  •  “Give me an example of a situation where….”
  •  “Describe a scenario….”

Your interviewer may also choose to ask direct questions such as:

  • “How would you rate you Communication skills?”
  • “Describe your Management style”
  • “What is your Leadership philosophy?”

Something to be aware of; even if your interview is not described as such, it is very likely in today’s recruitment market that you will be asked Competency Based Interview Questions.

Use this tool to help you prepare for your interview, but please feel free to call us if you would like any further help or advice. After all, that’s what we’re here for!