Preparing for competency based interviews
Competency based (also known as behavioural) interviews are designed to interrogate candidates on the basis that past behaviour is the best predictor of the future. The objective of asking these types of questions is to understand how you have approached particular situations in the past.
What questions am I likely to be asked?
In many cases the interviewer will start with a general question, which they will then follow up with more specific, example-based question. Look out for questions that begin with “Could you give me an example of when…” or “Can you describe an occasion…”
- Could you give me an example of an instance of when you have had a disagreement at work? What was the outcome?
- What do you think makes a good manager? How would you motivate people?
- Do you feel you are a good leader? Why is this? How would others describe your leadership skills?
- How do you influence people in situations where there are conflicting agendas?
- What are the three most important events in your career to date?
Preparing for a competency based interview
Make sure you have checked the job specification to prepare for any questions they may ask in relation to your past experience and the role requirements. When in an interview situation, ensure you fully understand the question before answering – be specific and don’t waffle. Finally if you have never experienced the situation in question, relax, be honest and explain this to the interviewer before elaborating on how you would manage the situation if presented.
What will the interview panel be looking for?
The key to answering these questions is ensuring that you demonstrate you have the right skills using examples based on your experience.
You could choose to use relevant examples from your current job, a previous role or a situation outside of the workplace altogether. The interview panel will ask you to discuss this example in some detail and as a result, may ask some probing questions. They will be interested in the outcome of the situation and whether there was anything that you learned from this experience.