Basic Tips For a Successful Competency-Based Job Interview
The key to a successful competency based job interview is preparation; and the first step is knowing exactly what it is you are preparing for. A competency based interview is essentially aimed at identifying candidates that are suitable for a particular role, based on their past job experience. The interviewer will normally ask the candidate to provide examples of how they have dealt with a given scenario in a previous job, and then record a score based on the answers the candidate gives. If you are applying for a position that is specific to your training or experience, you are likely to have an idea of the type of questions you will be asked; but this alone is not a guarantee of a successful interview. There are many qualities that perspective employers are looking for in a candidate, and whether you manage to convince them that you are the best person for the job, or not, is dependent on how many of those qualities you are able to display. This article will concentrate on the methods you can use to ensure that you are prepared for your competency based interview, and able to conduct yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the rest.
Before the interview
The best way to get an idea of the kind of experience the interviewer will be looking for is to do some research on the company; and specifically the companies mission statement. This will give you the best insight into what the company is about, what their goals are, and most importantly, what sort of qualities they will be looking for in an employee. Memorize some basic information about the company; you do not need to know everything, just enough to show that you have done your homework, and have a genuine interest in working there. Read the criteria for the role carefully; the examples you are asked to give during your interview will be based on these, so think about past work experiences that will cover every point. When deciding on examples to give, where possible, choose examples that also reflect the companies mission statement. Once you are happy with your answers, practice them with an interview buddy as this will help you become more fluid in your responses.
During the interview
When you are asked a question, do not immediately launch into your answer, take the time to consider the question and exactly what it is you are being asked. If you are asked a question that you were not anticipating, do not panic; apply the same principle that you did when you first read the criteria for the job; look for the key words in the question, and draw from an experience that will cover those points. If after doing this you still cannot think of a time that you have been in the given situation, then be honest and tell the interviewer this; they will then allow you to draw from a personal experience instead. Do not use terms like, "I would", "I think", "I could have" etc. Remember, the interviewer is not looking for a hypothetical situation, they are looking for an example of how you have dealt with a specific scenario in the past. If after answering a question, you are unsure whether you have given a complete enough answer, ask the interviewer if you have covered everything.
Know the company and you will know what they expect of you. Cover the criteria of the role as specifically as possible when giving your answers. Make sure that your answers are based on what you have done and not what you would do. Draw from your experience; this is what the interviewer wants to see more than anything. Most of all, keep it simple; the interviewer will be scoring you on a point system based on whether you covered the criteria in the question.