How to Master Competency-based Interviews
Preparation is the key to success when you are
faced with this challenging interview technique
To give yourself the best chance of success when applying for a job, it
is important to be well prepared for competency-based interviews.
With the right
amount of practice and guidance, you should be able to respond well to this
interviewing technique which has become very popular with employers.
for its popularity is simple. Competency-based interviews provide the employer
with valuable clues about how your past performance will equip you to do the job
you’re applying for.
Unlike standard interview techniques which simply go over
what you’ve done in the past in a very general way, competency-based interviews
use highly specific questions that address a particular ‘competency’ – skill,
experience, capability or approach.
Competency-based questions could relate to
one of many qualities seen as desirable, or essential, for the job in question.
Examples could include:
- Teamwork or interpersonal skills
- Managerial or leadership skills
- Motivational, academic or individual competencies
- Creativity or technical skills
The interviewer will focus on the relevant
competency areas and ‘drill down’ with yet more detailed questions. Your
responses are then measured against pre-set criteria.
questions is best done concisely, in a positive way, and with a high degree of
relevance to the interviewer’s question. If you’re well prepared, this type of
interview can be an excellent opportunity to showcase your recent past
Preparing for a competency-based interview
It may sound obvious, but don’t expect your interviewer to announce that they’re
about to conduct a competency-based interview! Once you’re asked to outline
specific examples of your experience, however, you’ll know soon enough that your
preparations have probably been worthwhile.
Here’s how to prepare. Think about
the likely questions. Imagine the scenario. Go over the answers in your mind.
Write notes if that helps. Remember: you must try to imagine the type of
competency-based questions that will relate to the job for which you’re
To answer the questions effectively, you could use the well proven
‘STAR’ technique as a guide. This is an acronym describing:
- The Situation
- The Task
- The Action you took
- The Result of that action
You don’t need to
lose any sleep memorising the STAR technique! Just bear in mind that your
answers should ideally cover all four bases.
If you’re not sure what to do, one
of our consultants will guide you through the process. Once you know the best
way to answer a competency-based question, you can face your interview with
To discuss competency-based interviews – and how to land the job you
really want - talk to us today.