Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Competency Based interviewing

Here' a beginners guide to competency based Interviewing.Hope it proves useful to all the members.


Ajit Chouhan

What is competency based interviewing?

It's a style of interviewing used so that a candidate can best show how they would demonstrate certain behaviours/skills in the work place; by answering questions about how you have reacted to and dealt with previous work place situations.

By using past experience a potential employer can predict future behaviour by:

  1. Eliminating misunderstandings
  2. Preventing personal impressions
  3. Reducing the candidate's ability to "fake"

You will be asked to give an example of a situation or task which led you to take a certain course of action. Probing questions will then be used to determine the course of action you took and what changes were created by those actions and the effects of those actions on others.

Traditional job descriptions are now quite out-dated. Most organisations will analyse a role by breaking it down into key competencies. For example the competencies of a lawyer may be planning and organising, innovation, personal drive, problem analysis and decision making. If an organisation uses this type of interviewing, it is very likely that your job will be defined on this basis and your performance in it will be managed through competencies. For example your appraisal may well be linked to evidence and real-life examples of having demonstrated these competencies.

2 How can I prepare for this type of interview?

The simple answer is you can't. You can prepare for the interview in the normal way by researching the company, making sure you are able to talk through the work and skills that you have described on your CV. You will be given the opportunity to market yourself for the role in the normal way. However, most candidates will find this type of interviewing much more interactive and enjoyable and it is likely that the interviewer will be able to encourage you to be much more open than in a traditional interview.

How will I be measured?

Usually the interviewer will have a number of pre-planned questions to ask you. For each of these questions they will ask for real-life evidence where you have demonstrated the behaviour or skills. They will know what the desired behaviours are and will look for positive and negative indicators. Examples of competencies and related questions are as follows:

Example one - Planning and Organising
competency & definition
Planning & Organising: prioritises; sets stretching but realistic targets and deadlines; plans ahead and has a structured approach to the work

Suggested Questions

Describe a project you have managed/been responsible for:·
 How did you plan your time? (& others time?)
 How did you deal with obstacles?
Have you ever managed a project which you knew would run over the timescale?
 What did you do?
 What could you do differently next time?
In your current job, how do you schedule your time and set priorities?
How did you prepare for this interview?


Working in a structured and methodical way
Maintaining candidate details
Planning ahead to ensure timely delivery of results
Managing time effectivelyMaintaining accurate management information, administrative records etc

Negative Indicators
Works late but unproductively most of the time
Seldom completes a task unless they do all of the work themselves
Reactive approach
Inflexible in modifying plan/priorities
Is easily fazed by obstacles/interruptions

Example two - Team Skills
competency & definition
Team Skills: the ability to work with other people constructively to improve the effectiveness of the team

Suggested Questions

Tell me about a time when you have started a new job

 How did you go about building an effective working relationship with your colleagues/team?
 What effect did that action have on your success in that position?
 What effect did that action have on the success of the team

How do you galvanise your team into action?
When has your own self-motivation rubbed off on others from whom you work?
Describe an occasion when you chose not to work as part of a team
Have you ever had to work in a team where you felt other members of the team were lacking in commitment/ability?
When has a colleague let you down and how did you react?

Desired Bahaviour
Selecting staff who will complement others in the team
Co-operating with others; helping people out when necessary
Building effective teams
Consulting others for advice when necessary
Ensuring that important information is communicated accurately and quickly
Resolving conflict or disagreements quickly and without holding grudges

Negative Indicators
Afraid to confront issues
Insensitive to people, their feelings and needs
Indiscreet and gets involved in gossip
Plays people off against each other
Holds grudges
Withholds information

Example three - Professional knowledge and judgement
competency & definition
Professional Knowledge &Judgement: has an extensive knowledge of his/her own field or department; understands the business and uses this to provide credible advice

Suggested Questions

What examples are there during the past 3-6 months where you have made an important decision which turned out to be correct?
Have you made any poor decisions in the past 6 months? Tell me about it/them?
How do you gather information on clients?
 How have you used that information to influence a client or candidate?

When did a client last ask you for advice (other than re a live assignment)?

Desired Bahaviour
Sound understanding of current law
Sound understanding of clients
Managing the flow of information to clients effectively
Providing commercial and practical advice to clients
Providing the client with credible advice

Negative Indicators
Inaccurate understanding of client's situation
Assumes professional responsibility beyond level of competence/experience
Abdicated decision-making to othersIgnores side issues as irrelevant

Example four - Leadership
competency & definition
Leadership: Takes control of situations and events; recognizes and rewards others performance; motivates; coaches and develops others

Suggested Questions

When was the last time you disciplined a member of staff?
 How did you handle the situation?
 What was the outcome?
Describe a time when you have set goals for an individual or for your team

 How did you go about it?
 Were they achieved?
Tell me about a sensitive or difficult staffing issues you have dealt with

 What did you find most difficult about it?
 What was this so?
 What was the outcome?

How have you introduced change to your team?
How do you ensure your team gets feedback on its performance?
Describe a situation in which you coached a team member

Desired Bahaviour

Giving feedback
Conducting performance appraisals
Developing people on the job
Coaching and training staff
Setting development objectives
Delegating effectively
Confronting difficult management/staff issues promptly
Motivating teams to give their best
Handling disciplinary procedures
Recognizing good performance
Reviewing performance of staff on a regular basis
Conducting effective meetings with team

Negative Indicators
Believes in an autocratic style of leadership
Is insensitive
Demonstrates an inconsistent style of leadership
Tries to change how things are done without any consideration to proven methods and working practices

Subscribe to hrfunda

Powered by


Anonymous said...

i seriously adore all your writing taste, very unique,
don't give up and also keep creating due to the fact that it just simply good worth to read it,
impatient to browse additional of your current article content, enjoy your day ;)

Anonymous said...


I read this post two times.

I like it so much, please try to keep posting.

Let me introduce other material that may be good for our community.

Source: Performance appraisal examples

Best regards