Are you competent to do the job?
When did you last time sit an interview for work? If you were faced with a “competency-based” interview would you know how to prepare for it?
Competency-based interviewing is currently used by many companies and organizations to select the right candidate for the job. What does it mean? Well, a job description is usually based upon a set of “competencies” which are considered necessary to effectively carry out the tasks linked to a job. They can cover a whole set of abilities which apart from technical skills can include things as diverse as communication skills, teamwork, creating and maintaining relationships with people, managing oneself, producing results, and managing change. The job description or vacancy notice usually carry these and they will give you some clues about the type of interview questions you will have to answer.
Competency-based questions work around the tenet that you need to demonstrate that you have the required skill by producing evidence in the form of an example. A traditional interview may include a question like:
“What would you do if you were faced with a difficult customer?”
The candidate may answer with:
“I would always be calm and give good service.”
This may be true but how does the potential employer know without any evidence? By contrast, in a competency-based interview you would be asked:
“Tell me about a time when you were faced with a difficult customer. What did you do and what was the outcome?”
If you don’t have an authentic example prepared, this can be truly challenging. However, if you sit down with a list of the competencies required and think back to some of the projects and tasks you have done in your job, and in previous jobs you are bound to come up with at least one or two examples which you can re-produce at interview. You will need to prepare several examples for each type of competency so as to be thoroughly prepared. Each response can become an anecdote, so the skill is in the telling too.
A good example of a response to the above question might be:
“Yes, when I was working at Oldhams as Departmental Manager, there was a situation with a man who became very abusive because we would not give him his money back for a faulty kettle. The problem was that his guarantee was well out of date. In the end, I calmed the customer down by listening to the him and I gave him a credit note. Fortunately, he came back and bought a much more expensive kettle!”
This response answers all the parts of the question and clearly demonstrates the candidate’s attitude towards customer service.
You can learn more about interviewing techniques through Blue Sky Reflections at: