How to prepare for a competency-based interview

During any interview you are likely to face some Competency Based Questions (also sometimes called “Behavioural Interview” style questions)

The interviewer will be trying to assess how you will perform, based on the way you handled similar situations in the past.

In a Competency Based Interview you will be asked specific questions relating to situations which are likely to arise in the type of job you are applying for. The questions will start with “Tell about a time …” or “Describe a situation …” and then you might be encouraged to elaborate further with questions like “So what were you thinking at that point?” or “What was your decision making process?

Here’s how to prepare:

  1. Write down six to eight example situations from your past experience where you demonstrated desirable behaviours and skills that employers look for. What was the Situation? What Action did you take? What was the Result? Take the time to make it strong. You want to get hired, don’t you?
  2. Don’t be bashful – think of examples that highlight your strongest skills.
  3. Half of your accomplishment statements should be totally positive, such as large achievements or accomplishments. The other half should be situations that started out negatively but ended positively.
  4. Have some variation in your examples. Don’t make them all relevant to just one theme/job.
  5. Use fairly recent examples, if you can.
  6. In the interview, listen carefully to each question. Pause, and then choose an example story.
If you found this quick summary useful, I will give you a lot more detail in my FREE 3-day e-course:
  • You’ll find out what the hiring managers are looking for, and what specific questions to ask to uncover their hidden needs.
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