Competency Based Interview Q&A
Looking for expert advice on how to answer and prepare for competency based interview questions? Get structured answers for specific positions, and see how JobTestPrep can help you ace your next interview.
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What are Competency-Based Interview Questions?Competency based interviews rely on the assumption that past successful or unsuccessful job scenarios provide evidence of compatibility with the position's requisites. You will be required to answer questions that call upon on your work experience to explain the outcome of your past decisions. Interviewers use these to get a better understanding of your personality, your thought process, and how you may act in the future.
You may be asking yourself what are competencies in the first place. Well, competencies are a wide range of behavioural, cognitive, and knowledge-based skills which characterize people in their working environment, and are compared with specific, employer dependent standards.
Most employers - especially those who operate in large scales - are interested in evaluating applicants' competencies prior to their qualification, to make sure they will not only fulfill the specific skills required for the job, but also cope with the company's vision and with future promotions and position replacements.
Competencies are often divided into three main categories:
- Behavioural competencies may include a person's values, moral, desires and motivation, or alternatively, could also span around social skills, such as communication, leadership, teamwork and coping with stress.
- Cognitive competencies are usually measured by measuring one's learning skills, aptitude and abilities.
- Technical competencies include field-related knowledge and performance, such as the ability to operate certain technologies or systems, apply computer skills etc.
How to Approach Competency-Based Interview QuestionsThe best way to prepare for these style of questions is to reflect on your past experience. Interviewers are looking to get as much information out of you during these questions so make sure that you provide answers provide all of the necessary information for the interviewer to understand the scope of your answer.
Often times interviewers will focus on instances of past failures or successes. Admitting your failures will not reflect negatively during your interview as long as you relate how you remedied the situation, what you learned and how you plan to avoid making the same mistake again.
Competency-Based Interview Questions And AnswersHere are several examples of recommended questions and answers in a competency-based interview. Some questions can be asked for almost any positions, while some questions vary from job to job.
Examples of team member positions are programming, customer service, project engineers, a team of accountants in an accounting firm, and the like. Questions for a team member position will usually test for ability to conform to a team, to form good relations, to accept authority, and to work under pressure.
Question: "How would you describe yourself as a team member?" "What do you enjoy better, working as a team or working alone?"
Answer: "I'm a good team worker. I enjoy the company of people, I like working in a team, and am always willing to help and do my share."
Question: "Give me an example of a contribution you made to your work team."
Answer: "I recently worked with five programmers on a project for a large food company. I made a significant contribution to the success of the team in carrying out the project. At the end of the project I got a letter of commendation for my contribution to the success of the team."
Question: "How do you deal with working under pressure?"
Answer: "I work well under pressure. For example, recently the number of workers in our department was cut while the amount of work I was given nearly doubled. I was asked by the managers to work overtime, and I managed to work efficiently and in a professional manner during a busy and stressful time. I showed efficiency and professionalism in spite of the stress."
Comment: Adding the example reinforced the competency that the candidate described.
How To Prepare For Competency Interview QuestionsThe questions above test competency in various positions as well as your attitude towards customers. You need to show competency in dealing with conflict, and demonstrate a positive attitude toward superiors, colleagues, and customers. In addition, you must demonstrate that you function calmly and purposefully even in stressful situations. Finally, you must demonstrate confidence in yourself and in your achievements on the job.
"Therefore, in order to prepare yourself for a competency based interview, take the following steps:
- "Have your CV with you and some scratch paper on which you can write down your responses to questions about your experience.
- "Start reviewing the list of competency-based questions, and see if you have suitable answers for them.
- "Write down the key points you want to discuss. Try to talk these key points out loud, and see if it sounds coherent and convincing.
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