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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Resignations Surge in September as Offices Re-open

Resignations Surge in September as Offices Re-open

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The figures released today top previous results recorded in Q2, 2021, with September recording the best single month ever in the 20-year history of Sigmar. Job orders in the first two weeks in October are trending higher than any single full month in the company’s 20-year history.   The first half of the year saw strong, consistent growth with job placements, peaking initially in May. Summer months remained as strong, peaking once more in September. Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig, founding director of Sigmar believes that the request to return to the office in September has caused employees to revolt, as they do not wish to return to pre-pandemic conditions and practices..   Commenting on the tightening of the labour market, Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “Demand for talent has remained at an all-time high for the second quarter in our 20-year history. It was somewhat unusual not to see demand abate over the summer months. Indeed, demand continued to increase over the summer, resulting in September’s record results. The rate of job requests  in the first two weeks of October is unprecedented, indicating continued in Q4 and raises the question of the sustainability of talent supply.   “Remote working has literally opened up a world of new opportunity no longer bound by location which is creating significant churn in the professional skills market. This last 18 months has seen employees demand greater flexibility. The request to return to the office by employers in September has prompted employees to reconsider whether they recommit or resign. Many are resigning.”   Mac Giolla Phádraig likens remote work to long-distance relationships, which in many cases don’t work out. “We’ve gone from “living” with our employees in an office environment to long distance relationships, which often sees commitment recede over time. 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Employee loyalty has therefore become increasingly under question with many workers are now committed to the experience of work over the employer, adding further to the current levels of churn.”     Talent Shortage Economy Recruitment for both the on-site and remote talent remains the single largest threat to the Irish economy. Says Mac Giolla Phádraig: ”We are seeing two macro trends converge at once, compounding demand for talent across all sectors – (1) supply of labour and (2)shortage of skills.”   The “high touch economy” for on-site labour in sectors such as construction, logistics, retail and hospitality are currently experiencing severe labour shortages. The disruption to international talent supply chains have caused significant bottlenecks to the supply of labour,  particularly effecting on-site, lower skilled jobs. On-going travel restrictions and pace vaccine rollout continue to impede immigration globally, but as an island nation we are now seeing the impact of this as demand recovers at pace.   The “low-touch economy”, on the other hand, where remote work is viable is experiencing greater churn due to the expansion of opportunity for skilled workers, shift in motivation, identity and desire for flexibility. This is now being experienced more acutely in Ireland as offices re-open and employees now vote with their feet, in choosing to resign over reengaging with employers in many cases. Demand has been particularly strong in IT, Financial Services and Life Sciences.    He adds: “If we thought the war for talent was tough, just wait for the battle of attrition. Retaining workers rather than attracting them is now emerging as the number one challenge for businesses across the globe.”