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Competency Based Interviewing

Posted on 17 June 2021 by Wallace Myers Team

What is a Competency Based Interview?

A Competency Based Interview is an interview technique which is designed to draw out of you what you actually DID, SAID, and THOUGHT in a situation within or outside of work.

Unlike other interviews a Competency Based Interview eliminates the possibility of a subjective or biased assessment, instead we use a method of investigative questioning.

Interviewers are trained to listen for evidence of COMPETENCY and press for detailed descriptions of actual behaviour.

Research has shown that past experience is the best predictor of future performance.

The advantages of using a Competency Based Interview are:

  • The process is more reliable and valid than any other interview techniques such as the traditional interview, CV etc.
  • It allows the interviewee the opportunity to talk about their contribution to a particular situation.
  • Competency focused assessments will be based on tangible specific behaviours associated with success

What is a Competency?

In the first stages of the recruitment process 3 elements in particular were reviewed:

  • Skills
  • Knowledge
  • Experience

To complete the job matching process we need to look at the 4th element:

  • Skills¬†
  • Knowledge
  • Experience
  • Competency

A competency is an underlying characteristic of an individual which is directly related to effective or superior performance on the job. Levels of competency vary between each individual, for example, if you show a higher level of competency in a particular area, you will undoubtedly perform to a higher standard in that role.

Typical examples of competencies are innovation & problem solving, development & coaching, business & product awareness, customer focus, two-way communication, team working, motivation & support, drive & commitment and direction & purpose

How should you prepare for a Competency Based Interview?

Contained within this pack are a list of competencies and their definitions (Appendix A).

It is a good idea to look at all the competencies listed and then think about the situations where you feel you have shown these competencies. These situations could be as far back as 2 years ago (try not to go back to situations too long ago as you may have difficulty recalling specific details).

What sort of questions might you be asked during the interview?

Here are some typical questions that you may be asked during your interview:

  • What was going through YOUR mind when you did that?
  • How did YOU do that?
  • What was YOUR role in that event?
  • Can you give me an example of a time when YOU...
  • Tell me what YOU said in that conversation?
  • What was the first key thing YOU did?

In answering these questions, you should describe your situation in as much detail as possible - what you have DONE, SAID and THOUGHT.




Direction & Purpose

Identifying meaningful, practical objectives that support the overall aims of the business.

Customer Focus

Knowing, understanding and delighting internal and external customers.

Business and Product Awareness

Understanding how the business performs, its operating procedures and deliverables, in order to achieve objectives.

Two-way communication

Sharing information openly, encouraging others to speak and listening to their views.

Team Working

Supporting, co-operating and working with others to achieve common objectives.

Development & Coaching

Accepting responsibility for our own development and supporting and helping others to achieve their development plans.

Motivation and Support

Encouraging and supporting others to give their best.

Innovation and Problem Solving

Applying flexibility, imagination and creative problem solving, taking novel ideas and approaches and putting them into practice.

Drive & Commitment

Overcoming obstacles and delivering results by showing tenacity and persistence.

 #Competency Based Interview

Next Blog: Typical Competency Interview Questions

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