Connecting...

competency interview

How to Prepare for a Competency Based Interview (Part 1)

competency interview

Interviews can be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Depending on your experience level the occurrence can be more or less nerve-racking.

 

Competency Based Interviews are structured interviews that aim to demonstrate the applicant’s skills and abilities in the workplace. It commonly comes after the telephone or first round interview whereby the calibre of participant is a lot higher and the interviewer/s seek to elaborate on the previous conversation. Competency based questions will be based around the skills needed to perform the job applied for and also the company values and culture. With a good understanding of the company and job description, a bank of workable answers and a bit of practice, these interviews will not seem so daunting.

 

The basics have been done for the previous interview but preparing for a competency based interview may take some time. Factors to research include:

 

1. Understanding the company that you are interviewing for is a must-do. Researching their employees, products/services, market share, values, culture and recent PR/marketing material can help you gain valuable insight into the company’s future plans. This can answer the question of why you want to work for the company.

 
2. Knowing your CV and cover letter inside-out is just as important. Contradicting your CV at any stage of the interview process will lose you the position. Remaining truthful in your CV and interview will ensure that your answers are consistent. You will find talking about your experiences more fluid and fluent this way.
 
3. Likewise reading over and understanding the company’s job specification is paramount before going into an interview. Talking about skills and abilities that are not relevant to the interviewer’s company or the job advertised could potentially rule you out of the process.
 
4. From understanding the job specifications a candidate can start to plan for questions by identifying competencies and associating these with real world examples. There are two basic bands of competency based questions – Core Competencies and Role Based Competencies – and interviewers will ask questions from both areas. These can be broken down further into the following:
 
 
 

Core Competencies

Role Based Competencies

Communication

Customer Service

Team Work

Leadership

Problem Solving

Self-Management

Motivations

Relationship Management

Conflict Resolution

Adaptability

Decision Making

Innovation

Commercial Awareness

Role Commitment

 
 

5. Finally, practicing in a mock setting, with a friend or relative, can help you to stay calm and think rationally about your answers. By creating a comfortable atmosphere to answer questions, when the interview comes around you should be more at ease answering the questions posed.

 

A typical interview will consist of between 4-6 competency based questions taken from both streams and you will be graded upon your answers to these questions. Having an answer for as many competencies with solid examples that you will remember will keep you ahead of the competition.

 

Posted by Recruitment Consultant, Sigmar on 30 November 2017

Related Content

Adobe Stock 257073595

In-Demand Business Support & Customer Service Skills

In-Demand Business Support & Customer Service Skills

As companies work hard to stay competitive and provide exceptional experiences to their clients, the need for skilled staff in business support and customer service keeps growing. In this article, we'll look at the important skills businesses are looking for.1. Great CommunicationWhether you're talking or writing, it's vital to be clear. Nowadays, good communication also means being good with digital tools. Employers want people who can talk professionally with colleagues, clients, and customers, making sure everyone gets the right information.Top Tip for interviews: Prepare examples that highlight your proficiency in clear and effective communication. Share instances where you successfully conveyed complex information to non-technical stakeholders. 2. Problem Solving AcumenIn the world of business, problems come up all the time. The ability to think on your feet and adapt to unforeseen circumstances showcases your commitment to delivering results.Top Tip for Interviews: Prepare specific anecdotes showcasing your problem-solving skills. Describe situations where you identified a challenge, analysed options, and implemented a successful solution. 3. Technological ProficiencyFamiliarity with various software, tools, and platforms can significantly enhance your employability. Things like customer relationship systems, project management tools, and data analysis software are just a few examples of technologies that are becoming increasingly integral to business operations. Embracing technology shows you're ready to work in a modern business.Top Tip for your C.V: List the software, applications, and tools you are proficient in on your C.V. Make sure to also include any certifications or trainings related to these technologies on your LinkedIn profile. ​4. Adaptability and FlexibilityThe Irish business landscape is always changing, which is why being flexible is so important. Companies want people who can handle change, learn fast, and switch things up when they need to. Being open to new challenges and being willing to upskill can set you apart in a competitive job market.Top tip for your C.V.: On your CV, talk about times when you changed and helped your team or company grow. For interviews, give examples of when you tried new things or took on jobs that weren't easy for you. Show your ability to thrive in dynamic environments.  5. Speaking Other LanguagesIreland’s strategic position in the European Union has led to an influx of international businesses and customers. If you know languages like Spanish, French, or German, this can be a significant advantage. It means you can talk to more people and understand more clients Multilingualism showcases your cultural awareness and ability to engage with a diverse audience.Top Tip for your C.V: Include a section that highlights your language proficiencies and any experiences where you effectively used them in a professional setting. 6. Being Kind and Focused on CustomersFor jobs where you help customers, being kind is important. If you know what customers want and care about their problems, they'll like your company more. Companies value candidates who prioritize customer-centricity, as it directly impacts customer satisfaction and long-term success.Top Tip for Interviews: Share stories of how your empathy positively influenced customer interactions, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and/or conflict resolution.​7. Time Management and OrganisationKnowing how to use your time well and organise things can make you get more done. From arranging meetings to handling administrative responsibilities, these skills demonstrate your capability to juggle multiple priorities and meet deadlines consistently.Top Tip for interviews: Provide examples of how your strong time management skills helped you meet tight deadlines or manage multiple projects simultaneously.  As the business world in Ireland keeps changing, the demand for proficient business support and customer service professionals remains steady. Cultivating these in-demand skills not only increases your employability but also positions you as an asset to your employer. Whether you're already experienced or just starting out, getting good at these skills can help you find great jobs and help Irish businesses grow, even when they're competing with companies from all around the world.  At Sigmar, we're committed to connecting top talent with businesses seeking excellence in business support and customer service. Get in touch to explore how we can help you thrive in these exciting fields. Email your cv to hello@sigmar.ie or check out current jobs here 

Adobe Stock 171983502

Mastering the 5 Essential Interview Skills: How to Outshine the Competition

Mastering the 5 Essential Interview Skills: How to Outshine the Competition

​In today’s competitive job market, standing out from the pack is essential when it comes to securing your dream job. While having a strong resume and relevant experience is crucial, it is equally just as important to excel in the interview process. As one of the leading recruitment agencies in Ireland, we understand the importance of interview skills and how they can make or break your chances of landing your dream job. Here we will highlight five essential interview skills that will help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of job success.​1.       ResearchOne of the most crucial interview skills is thorough preparation. Research the company you’re applying to, their values, goals and recent awards or achievements. A quick online search will help you with this. Browse their website for an ‘about us’ page which often provides valuable insights. Familiarize yourself with the job you’re applying to and identify key skills and qualifications they are seeking. Prepare thoughtful answers to common interview questions and practice them to gain confidence. Additionally, anticipate any potential questions which are related to your previous experiences and have specific examples ready to showcase your skills and achievements.​2.       Non-verbal communicationNon-verbal cues can greatly impact the impression you make during an interview. Pay attention to your body language, maintain good eye contact, sit up straight and project confidence. A firm handshake, smiling and portraying a positive demeanour will go a long way in establishing a good rapport with the interviewer. Your non-verbal communication should convey your interest in the role and your ability to work well with others.Aside from being mindful of your own body language, take notice of the interviewers’ non-verbal cues also. These subtle signals can reveal crucial insights, such as priorities for the role and the essential skills they seek. Observe their active listening, facial expressions, and body language to gather valuable information beyond verbal communication.​3.       Highlighting Transferable SkillsIn today’s dynamic job market, employers value transferable skills - qualities that can be applied to various roles and industries. During the interview, focus on highlighting your transferable skills that align with the job requirements. Even if you lack direct job experience, demonstrate how your abilities, such as problem solving, adaptability, leadership, or teamwork, can be valuable assets to the organization. Showcasing these skills will set you apart as a candidate who can quickly contribute to the team’s success. ​4.       Showcasing Your AccomplishmentsA common mistake candidates make is focusing solely on their responsibilities rather than their achievements. Employers want to know how you’ve made a positive impact in your previous organisations. Prepare specific examples of projects you’ve successfully completed; challenges you’ve overcome or any initiative’s that you’ve led. Quantify your achievements where possible, such as mentioning cost savings or percentage improvements. Demonstrating your track record of success will make you a memorable candidate.​5.       ConfidenceA key skill that will bring together all your other interview abilities is speaking confidently. It’s important to instil confidence in the hiring manager by the way you communicate.Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and the pressure can make it difficult to appear confident. Remember that your objective is to sound calm yet curious during an interview. Speaking at a moderate pace helps convey calmness, and showcasing your enthusiasm and curiosity through research and follow-up questions can make a positive impression. If nervousness causes you to speak too quickly, practice speaking slower than usual to achieve a balanced pace on the day of the interview. Ultimately, practice is the key to improving this skill. Schedule a mock interview with your recruiter or alternatively ask a friend or family member to pose sample questions. Dedicate yourself to practicing as much as possible and in no time it will come naturally.Mastering interview skills are essential for standing out from the competition and securing your dream job. By focusing on thorough research and preparation, highlighting your transferable skills, highlighting your accomplishments, and remaining confident, you can make a lasting impression on hiring managers. Good luck!

greatest weakness

How To Answer “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?”

How To Answer “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?”

The one question I am always asked when preparing a candidate for an interview is “how do I answer the weakness question?” The worst reaction you can have to this question is to say I don’t have a weakness. Everyone has a weakness and the reason the interviewer is asking this question is to see how you act outside your comfort zone. People often make the common mistake of trying to turn a negative into a positive. An example of this would be I’m a perfectionist or I work too hard. These answers are boring and show the interviewer you have put very little thought into his/her question. Also you are not actually answering the question you’re just trying to put a clever spin on it. Another mistake candidates make is being too honest. Never mention a weakness that you have if it is going to stop you from getting the job. So don’t answer “I’m lazy” or that “I’m always late” as this is not what your potential new employer wants to hear. The trick to answering this is in the same way you would answer any interview question and that’s by preparing your answer in advance. It can be very difficult to talk about your flaws in a stressful situation like an interview so make sure you spend time preparing your answer. These are a few ways to best answer the weakness question: 1. Pick a weakness that is acceptable for the jobDon’t pick a skill or requirement that is on the job spec that you don’t have and say it is your main weakness. This will only put doubt into the interviewers head. 2. Pick a weakness that you can developFor this type of answer you might think of an example where you had a weakness but developed it over the course of your time in prior employment. 3. Describe your weakness in a concise wayDon’t go into loads of detail on this question. They are asking you your weakness so be brief and don’t come across as negative. A common answer that candidates often use when asked the weakness question is on their delegation skills. Here you can mention a time when you used to have the mentality that only you could do the job but over time you realised that it was actually slowing the work down and by delegating to other staff members the job was done quicker. This answer is perfect to give but it depends on what job you are going for. If you are going for a managerial role where managing and delegating work will be part of your job description then don’t use delegating as your weakness. Every question in an interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself, so it is important you never miss a genuine opportunity and the weakness question is no different. Treat it like you would any interview questions that you find hard and prepare your answer.

presenting in interview

Presenting In An Interview

Presenting In An Interview

Face to face interviews can be scary, but with the added pressure of presenting during an interview anyone can become a nervous wreck. Here are our tips to help you ace your interview presentation.​Structure Your PresentationA strong structure is the most important thing to get right. The aim is to keep the interviewer’s attention through presenting engaging and relevant content. Plan out what you want to say through brainstorming. Draw a map showing how each point links to the next. Make sure the points you are making fit within the companies aim and objectives, thus showing the research you have done. The key thing is not to waffle. A basic outline for any presentation should have:Introduction: Give a brief overview of the subject of the presentation and what you wish to coverElaborate: Discuss the subject in as much detail as time will allow using as little slides as possibleConclusion: Sum up what you have spoken about adding in your thoughts where necessaryN.B. A useful slide to include would be a “Why Me?” slide. At the end of the day you want them to hire you for the job so this should be one point they take home.​Know Your AudienceResearch the interviewers and try to understand their roles and interests. Tailor your presentation to resonate with their specific needs and expectations. This shows your understanding of the company and demonstrates your ability to customize your approach. Be VisualUse your slides to keep the panel engaged as reading from slides will send anyone into a daydream. Use bullet points and images as much as possible to keep your audience attentive. Other things to include:Provide hand-outs for them to read and to take away (but give them out at the end!)Have inviting body language (do not cross your arms or put your hands in your pockets)Do not be afraid to use gestures (it will draw their attention back to you)​Use Examples and StoriesIllustrate your points with relevant examples or anecdotes. Sharing real-life scenarios helps to make your presentation more relatable and memorable. Practice Makes PerfectPreparation is a vital part of any interview and this will help overcome nerves. You should be given enough time to prepare your presentation in advance. Use this time wisely and practice until you know everything off by heart. Additional things to perfect include tone of voice and gestures. Worried you might trip over your words? Ask a friend to help you practise your presentation until you’re completely confident. The key is to talk naturally as this will show the panel that you understand your area and that you are the best person for the job. Pronounce Every Word ClearlyWhen you are nervous there is a temptation to speak fast to quicken the whole process; you must resist this. Add commas to your notes to signal where to take breaths and regularly pause to collect your thoughts. Speaking clearly will ensure that the panel understand your points and won’t be interrupting the presentation to ask questions. Eye ContactPresentations can be a lot harder than face to face interviews as the interviewee is the main talker. One sure way to ensure that people stay engaged is to maintain eye contact using friendly eyes. It is important to shift eye contact to everyone on the panel to keep everyone engaged and listening.​Show Enthusiasm and ConfidenceDemonstrate your passion and genuine interest in the position and the company. Be confident in your delivery and showcase your enthusiasm throughout the presentation.​There Will Be QuestionsDoing a presentation doesn’t mean that you will not be asked more questions. It is still an interview and the interviewer/s will still have questions to ask. They will more than likely ask about you and your presentation so be prepared. For further interview advice and/or to discuss career opportunities call 01-4744624 or send a confidential email to Alan at amurphy@sigmar.ie