Competency based interviews have been around for a while now and many candidates are likely to have experienced them over the course of their job search. For employers, such interviews provide them with a valuable and more accurate insight as to how you as a person could potentially work inside their company.
Competency based interviews use your previous working history and results by using an existing project that you managed successfully as a guide into how well you would perform under similar situations in the future. It is a great way for hiring manager to assess whether you will be a valuable team member by bringing value added into the workplace, as well as that you will adapt to the working culture of the company in question.
A word of warning though, as each competency based interview is likely to vary, the specific competencies that each separate employer will look and test for will be different according to the priority they place on each skill. Therefore as a perspective candidate you need to be prepared to cover all potential angles.
Below we have listed some of the best tips that you can use in your next competency based job interview.
Always plan before hand
As with any interview you need to do your research into your responses for the role in question. This means that you need to draft up and remember certain specific answers that you may have to expand on when pushed. Interviewers are trained to spot and test for weaknesses and missing information in answers, so planning and preparation are key here.
Do your research
As well as planning on how you wish to answer any questions put to you, you need to make sure that you know the key aspects and responsibilities of the job. This will help you to match up your skills and experience to the requirements of the role. As you are likely to be assessed on the competencies of the new role, your previous experience and thus answers need to put the interviewer's mind at rest. If certain key words appear in the job description make sure you are aware of them and use them in your answers. Conversely your research should stretch not only over the key aspects of the job but also over the history, culture and structure of the company that you are interviewing for, even though these aspects are unlikely to be raised in a competency based interview. You would need to research this just to show the interviewer that you are a well-rounded and competent person that will fit well into the company and will be a valuable member.
Have real case examples to hand and use the STAR technique
One of the key aspects of competency based interviews over there more traditional counterparts, is that the interviewer would like for you to give real life cases where you have used your skills and experience for a better outcome. One technique that allows candidates to structure their answers specifically for a competency based interview is to use the STAR approach (Situation, Task, Action and Result) Every answer that you give needs to follow the format for optimal effect, as they allow you to set the scene behind the project that you lead, to tell them what you did and what the outcome of the project was. This is a more unscripted way for you to talk about your strengths and leadership skills and a way that is natural. Always be aware that for a competency based interview the interviewer does not really want you to talk about what the team did in that particular situation but rather what you specifically did, so always talk in the first person. If you are applying for a project management position, the ability to prove you leadership skills will be vital, so using the term "I" is crucial.
Be prepared to answer strange questions
Because of the amount of competency based interview questions circulating on the internet, many candidates these days are more prepared than ever to answer any particular questions thrown at them. As a result many interviewers are looking for ways to 'put off' candidates and this may involve asking random questions not necessarily linked to the job, such as "if you were an animal which would you be and why? ". If you do find yourself faced with such a question the trick is not to panic, as there is no right or wrong answer here, so just take your time in responding and be truthful.
Do you have any competency based interview tips or techniques that you wish to share?