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Competent with competency

Posted by
11 Feb 2015

As a candidate specialist, not only do I speak with candidates about their job search and relevant opportunities, but I also arrange job interviews with them. One of the things that is most apparent is that clients are reverting back to the traditional competency based question format.

Most candidates are versed in the art of competency based interview questions, but a lot of candidates, particularly those who have been in permanent employment for a number of years, haven't experienced those types of interviews and are therefore unprepared for what type of format they will take.

Part of the process of arranging interviews with candidates includes as much interview preparation as possible. From a competency based perspective, where appropriate, I will provide example questions to allow the candidate to be best prepared as possible.

The reason that clients utilise a competency based interview is because they are looking for the candidate to demonstrate where they have used certain skills or attitudes. With that in mind, here are some guidelines for competency based questions:

  • Look at the job description for the role you are interviewing for and have a think about times in previous roles where you have had to either complete or deal with something similar, then make a note of these examples
  • Once you have a list of either problems or situations you have been in, have a think about what you did to resolve them and the outcome of that.
    You may be asked about a variety of competencies, for example if staff management is a requirement for the role you may be asked to demonstrate your leadership and communication skills. Think about times where you have either had to manage varying personalities, or where you have had to communicate information to the team effectively; again thinking about how you did it, any objections you came up against and how you dealt with them and the overall outcome
  • By thinking about examples before you go to your interview, you will find that you are more confident in answering these types of questions and will have a number of examples you can instantly call to memory when asked
  • If you need 30 seconds to think of a relevant example then say so. It shows you are not too rehearsed and are keen to provide a relevant example
  • Be concise with the answers you give and stick to the point! Provide the example, how you handled the situation and the outcome that was achieved
  • Ensure that your examples are about you. Don't lose track and make it about someone else and what they did
  • Competency based questions will be open questions, for example, 'tell me about a time when', 'describe a situation where you' and 'how did you'

How do you find the competency based interview format? If you are looking for help with your interview technique, or are looking for your next opportunity,  please call me to discuss.

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