Competency-based interviews

Modern interview techniques have evolved over time in response to social developments in and out of the workplace. A successful interview technique can take years to develop even with extensive interview training, and largely depend on providing a good structure, building up rapport with your candidate, and learning as much useful information as you can about the potential candidate.

For example, what skills, experience and job questions should you ask? How can you identify top talent? How do you ensure cultural fit? How can you best convey your unique employer value proposition during the interview? These are all areas you should review when considering and refining your interview techniques.

What is competency-based interviewing?

The competency based interview (CBI) is a technique you can apply to make your interviews more effective. The CBI interview technique involves judging all candidates on a strict set of predetermined criteria. This interview technique allows all candidates to be compared on an even playing field, and uncovers on their true ability to do the job. Candidates are asked to describe their behaviour according to:

  • The situation in which it occurred
  • The action they took
  • The outcome

Competency-based interview tips

Here is a list of sample competency-based questions to ask your candidate during the interview:

  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills?
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem?
  • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it?
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done?
  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritise your tasks?
  • What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example?
  • Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa)?
  • Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year?
  • Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead?
  • Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker?
  • Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem?
  • Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too low)?

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