Tips on Preparation for Competency Based Interviews

Mar 8, 2023, 22:00 PM by Estelle Davis

The saying ‘Fail to prepare’ is to Prepare to fail’ is never truer than when getting ready for a job interview.

It is now common practice for companies to use competency-based interviews as part of the selection stages of a recruitment process. Here the emphasis is on job related questions, which are compared with internal standards and criteria. A competency is a specific quality, knowledge, skill, or behaviour that a person should have to be successful in a position. Therefore, a competency-based interview works on the principle that past performance is the best predictor of future behaviour. All candidates are asked the same questions and notes are taken to evaluate candidates. The aims of a competency-based interview are:

  1. To obtain information about how you have previously demonstrated the key competencies for the position through specific questions.
  2. To explore the examples of competencies further to obtain a clear understanding of the situation, what you did, your contribution and the outcome.

Preparation is key to performing effectively at a competency-based interview. Here are a few guidelines to help you prepare.

  • Ensure that you have a copy of the job description which clearly defines the key competencies for the role.
  • Know what the key competencies are for the role and what are not being considered.
  • Review and examine your experiences, achievements and successes and their relevance to the job.
  • Think about examples, either past experiences or projects, which can be used at interview to illustrate each competency. Use the STAR Technique to demonstrate examples. This is describing Situation Task Action Result to give evidence of the required competence.
  • Know your motivation as well as why you think you should be considered for the role.
  • Be prepared to persuade the interviewers about your merits at interview.

Individual Competencies - your personal qualities; flexibility, decisiveness, tenacity, independence, risk-taking, personal integrity

Managerial Competencies - managing other people, leadership, empowerment, strategic planning, project management, management control.

Analytical Competencies - the elements of analysis and decision making; innovation, creativity, analytical skills, problem solving, numerical/mathematical problem solving, practical learning, attention to detail.

Interpersonal Competencies - interacting with other people; communication, persuasiveness, personal awareness, teamwork openness, impact.

Motivational Competencies - the enthusiasm that drives you; resilience, energy, motivation, achievement orientation, initiative, focus on quality.

Remember fail to prepare and you prepare to fail! Good Luck!