Competency based interview techniques

Posted by
Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
Community, Jobs & Careers
An increasing number of employers are using what are known as competency based interviews these days, where a candidate is asked to give examples of situations where they can show that they have demonstrated specific skills and abilities. Johnny Nolan, careers manager for Newry in the Department for Employment and Learning’s Careers Service explains. “A competency based interview looks at your past experiences and demonstration of behaviour as a guide for your suitability for a new role. Whilst each interview may vary in terms of the questions asked and competencies reviewed, there are general themes that are usually covered, such as teamwork, leadership and communication. “Another way to think of a competency based interview is as an interview using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format.” Situation: The interviewer wants you to present a recent challenge and situation in which you found yourself. Task: What did you have to achieve? The interviewer will be looking to see what you were trying to achieve from the situation. Action: What did you do? The interviewer will be looking for information on what you did, why you did it and what were the alternatives. Results: What was the outcome of your actions? What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your objectives? What did you learn from this experience and have you used this learning since? Nolan continued, “To succeed in a competency based interview, consider the following quick tips, identify the competencies required for the position, for example organisational skills, flexibility, teamwork etc. and then develop model answers and examples based on the STAR format. “Rehearse your examples. Make sure you review the examples that you develop with a colleague, friend or careers adviser. It’s all about you, so remember to answer the questions with an “I”. He added, “If possible, choose employment based examples over a hobby – make the most of the opportunity by describing your past behaviours and your skills within the workplace.” If you need further information, please log onto to find your local careers adviser. This site also carries extensive information on education, skills and training. You can also contact the Careers Service by phone on 0300 200 7820.
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