Competency based interviews
Behavioural or competency based interviews are used to show how you would demonstrate certain behaviours/skills in the workplace.
You will be asked to give an example of a situation or task that led you to take a certain course of action. Probing questions will then be used to determine the course of action you took and how these actions affected others around you. When answering, remember that the interviewer wants to know what YOU as an individual delivered and achieved so avoid over-using examples of ‘we’.
How to structure your answer
The STAR model will allow you to effectively structure your answer logically and concisely.
Situation Describe the situation or problem you were faced with, keep your examples recent
Task What did you have to do?
Action What action did you take and why? What were the challenges you faced?
Results What was the outcome?
Preparing for a competency based interview
Review the job description in order to identify the competencies the organisation is looking for. For each core competency try to think of specific examples of times when you have demonstrated those behaviours, do not prepare specific responses as this is will mean you may provide answers that do not fully answer the question.
This competency assesses your personal motivation and how you approach challenges.
- What achievement are you most proud of?
- Tell me about a time when you have “made things happen” for yourself or your team?
Your ability to communicate effectively and influence others to act in support of your own and team goals will be examined. An ability to adapt your communication methods depending on situations and individuals is important here.
- Can you give an example of a time you influenced a colleague to adopt your way of thinking?
- Has there been a time when you had to communicate a difficult issue?
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This competency analyses your ability to plan and manage activities and projects.
- Have you ever had to plan a large piece of work?
- It is a busy day with conflicting priorities and deadlines, what do you?
Your ability to understand and believe in the importance of customer focus will be tested here. You must display a competency for understanding the difference between internal and external customers.
- Can you describe a time where you dealt with an angry or upset customer in the past?
Strong verbal skills are one thing, but being able to influence another person to change their thinking or take some action is as important. Can you influence a colleague to change or a client to buy?
- Is there a time where you were able to change another person’s viewpoint?
- Can you give an example of a time where you were asked to do something you disagreed with?
Many workplaces function on the basis of project teams. If you are highly collaborative and co-operative, you are most likely to thrive in this type of environment.
- What skills and personal qualities have you contributed to the teams you have been part of?
- Who is the most difficult person you have had to deal with?
Decision making is a skill that requires the ability to process information and filter this information to ensure you produce a sound and valid decision. You should be able to provide examples of situations where this skill has been tested. Use examples where an obvious answer is not immediately apparent.
- What difficult decisions have you had to make in the recent past?
- Have you made any decisions that have ultimately been unpopular?
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