Competency-Based Interviewing


During a competency based interview the interviewer will want to search for a number of skills or characteristics that can be identified as being important for success in the role in question.  They are conducted by staff trained in this type of interview in order to give you the best possible chance to demonstrate that you have these characteristics.

What is a competency?

A competency is a specific quality, knowledge, skill or behaviour that a person should have to be successful in a position.

Why use competency-based interviewing?

This standard approach to selection screening, selecting and interviewing is designed to help ensure that the selection procedure is objective and fair.

How might a competency-based interview differ from other interviews?

Rather than using the CV or application form as the basis for the interview, it will be structured around a number of competencies each with its own set of questions. As you move through the questions, the interviewer(s) will take you through what each question is asking and the information being sought. 

This information will require you to refer to your past experiences within/outside work and will centre around your own actions and learning points.

What approach should be taken to the interview?

In order to make the most of the interview, you should spend some time reflecting on previous experience, whether it be employment, academic or from another source. Think about examples of instances where you feel you have performed well or that have provided you with important learning opportunities. If you are taking these examples from out with the work environment, it is important to make sure that they have a strong relevance to the workplace.

When talking about these experiences it may prove helpful to both yourself and you assessors if you adopt the STAR format.

This is a simple, but very effective way of organising your thoughts:

S - Situation or

T - Task

A - Action you took

R - Result

This style should help you to put your experiences into a meaningful context, helping you decide what qualities your examples can show and to express them effectively. Also, focus on your own role and try to resist the temptation to talk in terms of ‘we’ and ‘us’. 

These interviews are designed to show the interviewer(s) how you can fulfil the job in question. The prime concern is to find out as much as possible about your qualities.