How to succeed at a competency-based job Interview

iStock_000021080638XSmallWritten by Katie Reid

Competency based interviews can be daunting for candidates who have not done them before. However in some ways this style of interview can be a great way to showcase your skills and experience. With preparation candidates can do very well. Quite simply the more you put into them the more you get out. Once you follow the golden rule you can maintain control and show a polished you. The rule is simple: STAR: Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

For example, when in a competency interview situation the interviewer may ask how you work under pressure. It is easy to say “I work well under pressure” and leave it at that. Where is the proof? To make a memorable impression you should use the STAR methodology. You can explain and give an example of the high pressure situation you were in, the task that needed to be done, the actions you took to do it and the results of this. This is an excellent way to demonstrate that you do in fact possess the given competency. It is also measurable for the interviewer. It highlights strong verbal communication and a logical approach to answering questions.

A lot of companies now have set out or standard competencies that they look for when recruiting new employees. These can be around prioritising workloads, achieving objectives, analysing problems and solving them, teamwork and working under pressure. You can draw on previous work experience, your time in college or other projects you have been involved in for example. The good thing is you can prepare and practice all this before the interview. Do some mock interviews with your recruiter, family or friends.  This will build your confidence and after all, practice makes perfect.

Finally, once you have wowed your potential employers with well thought out examples, have some really strong questions prepared for them. Do not ask about salary, working hours, holidays etc. Ask about the role (day-to-day tasks, technologies used etc.), the company and the team. This shows a genuine interest in the role and the company and will give you a better idea of what the job involves. This is also a really positive way to finish an interview as it shows a diligent and interested candidate.

For more information and advice on how best to tackle a job interview, check out some of our other career advice blogs: 5 Tips to a successful Skype Interview and 4 Ways to prevent a bad job interview.

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