Lesson 3: Competency-Based Interview

We spoke in a previous lesson about this type of interview.

Here is a reminder about them, and then we will look at this technique in more detail.

Whilst preparing the job description the company has identified what skills are needed for the role, and the interviewer will ask questions to find out if the candidate has those skills.

“What is it that you like doing? If you don’t like it, get out of it, because you’ll be lousy at it.”
Lee Iacocca, former Chrysler CEO

This is easy to prepare for especially if you have the job description. Even if this type of interviewing is not used, this is very good preparation for any interview.

Behavioral interview questions will be more focused than traditional interview questions and the candidate needs to respond with related examples of how they handled situations in the workplace.

Most job adverts will list qualities they’re looking for – a team worker, a good communicator – so prepare examples of how you can demonstrate these skills.

Be ready to talk about your knowledge, experience, abilities and skills.

Review examples of the questions you may be asked during a behavioral job interview and think about how you would answer them.

You need to have relevant and engaging stories for the interviewer that demonstrate that what you put down on paper can be backed up by actual anecdotes about your life. These should be completely at your fingertips, so that you can pull them out of the bag as needed during the interview.

Competency or behavioural based interviews are an incredibly powerful tool for the interviewer because it immediately gives them an insight into your past behaviour, and therefore your likely future behaviour

Make sure you are ready for the scenario questions.

Cover these points in your answer:

  • A specific situation
  • The tasks that needed to be achieved
  • The action you took
  • The outcome

Begin by having at least three strong points about yourself that you can relate to the company and job on offer, and anecdotes to back them up.

Be aware that often competencies overlap

Some typical competencies and behavioral Interview questions might be;-

Competency identified – Goal oriented

  • Tell me how you set goals and achieve them.
  • Did you ever not meet your goals? Why?
  • Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.
  • Give an example of a goal you didn’t meet and how you handled it.

Competency identified – Communication skills

  • Do you listen? Give an example of when you did or when you didn’t listen.

Competency identified-team skills

Give an example of how you worked on a team.

Competency identified-change management

(this question and response could also be used to illustrate team skills )

Have you had to convince a team to work on a project they were unhappy about? How did you do it?

Competency identified-influencing skills

Have you handled a difficult situation with a client or vendor? How?

Competency identified-managing performance

  • Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or co-workers.
  • Have you handled a difficult situation with another department? How?

During the interview, if you are not sure how to answer the question, ask for clarification.

This is an extract from a document that went out in an interview pack, advising interviewees what to prepare;-

Skills & Qualifications

You will be required to provide evidence of the following Competencies:

In each case, think about a response you could give

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