Competency Interviews: What to expect & what you need to know

Competency-based interviews are structured interviews designed to assess specific skills, behaviors, and qualities that are essential for a particular job or role. Here’s what you can typically expect in a competency-based interview:

Behavioral Questions:

Instead of asking hypothetical questions, the interviewer will ask about your past experiences, actions, and behaviors in specific situations. These questions are designed to evaluate how you’ve demonstrated certain competencies in the past, as past behavior is often a good indicator of future behavior.

Key Competencies:

The interview will focus on specific competencies relevant to the job or role you’re applying for. These could include problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, communication, adaptability, decision-making, time management, customer service, etc.

STAR Technique:

Interviewers often use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure their questions and your responses. You’ll be asked to describe a specific situation or task you encountered, the actions you took to address it, and the results or outcomes of your actions.

Examples from Past Experience:

Be prepared to provide detailed examples from your past experiences, such as previous jobs, internships, volunteer work, or academic projects. These examples should showcase your abilities and how you’ve successfully applied relevant competencies in real-life situations.

Probing Questions:

Interviewers may ask follow-up or probing questions to delve deeper into your responses, seeking clarity or additional information about your actions and decision-making process.

Assessment Criteria:

The interviewer will assess your responses against predetermined criteria or competencies relevant to the job. They may use a scoring system or rubric to evaluate your performance.

Preparation is Key:

To excel in a competency-based interview, it’s essential to thoroughly prepare beforehand. Review the job description and identify the key competencies required for the role. Reflect on your past experiences and identify specific examples that demonstrate your proficiency in each competency.

Stay Calm and Confident:

During the interview, remain calm and composed. Listen carefully to each question, and take your time to formulate your responses. Be confident in sharing your experiences and highlighting your skills and achievements.

Ask Questions:

Towards the end of the interview, you’ll likely have the opportunity to ask questions. Use this time to inquire about the company culture, team dynamics, growth opportunities, or any other relevant topics that demonstrate your interest in the role.

By understanding what to expect in a competency-based interview and adequately preparing, you can effectively showcase your skills and experiences to the interviewer.

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