What is a Competency-Based Interview? All You Need to Know

More interviewers are using competency-based interviews for job roles than ever – but many candidates are left wondering, what exactly is a competency-based interview? We thought we would cover all there is you will need to know.

Competency-based interviews are geared towards assessing skills and knowledge of all job candidates, so if you’re a nervous interviewee with worries about attending your competency-based interview, then it’s worth learning about what to expect.

What is a Competency Based Interview

What is a Competency-Based Interview?

Competency-based interviews have become increasingly common across a variety of employment sectors. They will follow the same format for each interview candidate, so every job applicant is judged on a level playing field basis, and they are designed to evaluate your competencies as completely as possible.

They are also referred to as behavioural or situational interviews, and can be a stressful experience for unprepared candidates. It’s not always the case that an employer provides detailed interview information or guidance prior to the schedule date and time, so any interviewee in the modern work environment should be aware of the demands of competency-based interviews and fully prepared to be tested on competencies when attending job interviews.

We’ve prepared detailed information on competency-based job interviews, alongside details on the kinds of questions you may be asked and examples of typical answers.

Graduates and executives should be particularly aware that competency-based interviews are likely for most scheduled interviews. If you’re worried about whether an interview is likely to be based on competencies, the application form you completed may hold clues.

Application forms requiring examples of employment situations you’ve already faced can be an indication your interview is likely to be based on competencies and skills.

During your competency-based interview you are likely to be asked to talk about:

  • activities and experiences within the workplace or during your studies
  • leisure and personal activities, with examples of typical experiences
  • your motivation for applying to this particular job and employer

The answers you provide to these questions will be graded by sets of criteria that have already been identified as positive or negative by your interviewing employers.

For example, if you’re applying for a sales or customer-focused role you should be able to evidence great communications skills, ability to work as part of a team and good social skills.

If your answers to interview questions for roles of this nature prove you to be a fairly introverted character, with limited social skills then you’re unlikely to be offered the sales or customer-facing role you applied for.

Ways to ace competency-based interviews include thorough preparation, learning how to answer competency questions succinctly and fully, and ensuring the first impression you make on your interview panel is good.

You’ll discover a variety of useful interview tips on our website and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have about our coaching sessions and help you overcome the very real interview concerns you have.

Interview Skills Competency Based Interviews

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