Competency-based interviewing is an elaborate process for both interviewers and the interviewees. The process is meticulous and tedious for the interviewers because they need to understand the demands of the position, which would include finding out the competencies needed for that position. For interviewees, they may not be able to identify that it is a competency interview they are in. Also, there may be other key competencies that the company is looking for that are not announced in the job advertisement but will be measured by the interviewer during the interview.
To become a potential candidate for the job, an applicant must employ techniques during the competency interview. These techniques will give an idea on how to answer the questions and structure the content of responses accordingly. The use of any of the techniques that will be elaborated further in this article will give the applicant bigger chances of being chosen for the position.
The STAR Technique
The STAR technique is a broadly used communication strategy, which aids an individual in making complete and satisfactory answers to the questions that requires sharing examples or situations. This kind of interview technique can also be applied and used easily. STAR Technique is not a new method to the employers, but they will be more keen and receptive to answers given when a potential candidate follows this structure. The acronym stands for:
S – Situation
T – Task
A – Action
R – Result
First Step: Situation/Task
A candidate should cite a situation or example based from a situational type of question. Some examples of these situations would be stepping in during a difficult task, dealing with a difficult person at work, and making an immediate important decision. Other situations would also pertain to examples of teamwork and working with a team. Be concise and succinct but informative in the details of the event or situation.
Second Step: Action
After describing a particular situation or instance, the candidate needs to demonstrate and emphasize the skills and competencies applied on that situation. In giving action, remember these tips:
Give details and do not leave the interviewer hanging with the story.
Try to keep the language simple and the context clear. Only use technical terms if there is a need to.
Elaborate the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘why’.
Third Step: Result
In this step, the applicant will wrap up the story with how it ended, what was accomplished and what was learned in the situation shared. This will emphasize personal competency and attributes. Being personal in giving an answer will help the interviewer identify core competencies in contrast to a generalized answer.
Use Positive Responses
In an interview process, any interviewee must always remember the golden rule: always use positive responses. Answers will reflect personality, both in the personal and professional aspects. If the interviewer will ask regarding an applicant’s perception of a previous employer or former boss, words should be kept positive and never put the old company in bad light. The applicant should never expect the interviewer to agree and sympathize, regardless of the circumstances. The interviewer’s objective is to gain an understanding and knowledge of the applicant’s personal characteristics and behavior toward work and the people he has worked with. It should be the applicant’s aim to give the interview the perception that he is keeping things cordial and diplomatic with former employers and colleagues. In the same way, if an applicant cites a situation wherein a task did not succeed as planned, it is important to make it a point to close it with an encouraging and optimistic approach.
Use Examples or Experiences
This technique is actually incorporated in the STAR method but it is apt to just re-emphasize its effectiveness in answering competency interview questions. Examples may not necessarily be realistic situations but a story made out of creativity, especially if the question asked is something that the applicant cannot directly relate to. However, experience is still the best type of example. Personal experiences make a person focus on the skills demonstrated in a given situation. And when these experiences are realistic, the applicant is able to communicate with sincerity and truthfulness, which may be recognized and felt by the interviewer.