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


Customer Service

Team Work


Problem Solving



Relationship Management

Conflict Resolution


Decision Making


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

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