Competency Based Interviewing

What is Competency Based Interviewing?

Competency Based Interviewing is interviewing a person so that the interviewer can determine if the person has the competencies necessary for the job on offer.

Every Job Requires Certain Competencies

Each job requires a specific set of competencies and skills.  The purpose of an interview is to find out if the person has the necessary competencies. It is best establish competencies by asking appropriate questions.  Interview questions that ask the person to describe examples from their work life to date are most effective.  When interviewees describe situations in which they previously experienced particular difficulties and how they addressed them at that time, they effectively demonstrate whether they are competent in that area or not.

Competency Based Interviewing – also known as Behavioural Interviewing or Structured Interviewing

People can be daunted by this interview technique.  However, there is no need to be daunted.  Once you have mastered the technique, you can have examples ready which will cover most situations asked about.

From a job seeker’s perspective, competency based interviewing is probably one of the better interviewing techniques to be used.  It allows a person to give real life examples of their experience to date, which will demonstrate why they should get the job.

The purpose of an Interview from a Job Seeker’s Perspective is to Get the Job!

What Does a Competency Based Interview Question Sound Like?

If an interview question starts with any of the following, it’s a Competency Based Interview Question:

  • “Tell me about a time when you encountered a situation where…. and how did you deal with it?”
  • “Describe a situation you encountered where you had an unexpected deadline / difficult colleague / etc… and how you dealt with it”

Key Things to Remember when Answering Competency Based Interviewing

  • Answer the question in a concise and structured way i.e. have a start, middle and end to your answer.  If you find this hard to do, think of how you tell a friend an anecdote and how you keep their attention by keeping it snappy
  • Answer with “I did…”, “I worked…” not “we did…”, “we worked…” The interviewer wants to know if they want to hire you and not your colleagues so the use of the word “I” is vital in achieving this objective
  • Have three examples prepared in advance of the interview.  Think of the most challenging situations you’ve had in your career to date and use them.  They are likely to have components that will address every possible element in a Competency Based Interview question.
  • Focus on the Competency being asked about and make sure your answer addresses that Competency.

As outlined earlier in this article, the purpose of the interview is to get the job.  Answering Competency Based Interview Questions with information relevant to the job will get you that job!