Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ace competency-based interviews

Competency-based interviewing is a particular style of interviewing based on real examples of work behaviour.

Increasingly, all sorts of organisations in both the private and public sectors are moving towards competency-based interviewing, which is basically a style of interrogation that requires candidates to talk about actual situations they have experienced as opposed to hypothetical situations they have yet to encounter. There’s good business school and employer research showing that past behaviour is one of the best predictors of career success. So an interviewer might ask: “Can you tell me about a time when you had to…?” rather than “Can you tell me how you would…?”

I've blogged in the past about competency-based interviewing - but I wrote about it from the perspective of the employer. But recently a careers website approached me to write about it from the candidate's perspective - giving candidates advice on how to ace competency-based interviews.

Essentially, you need to bear in mind the STAR acronym, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Start by explaining only briefly the situation – perhaps the problem or opportunity you were faced with – and then move on to the task at hand.

But interviewers don’t give brownie points for setting the scene – it’s the actions you took that they are interested in. To finish, you should ideally have at your finger tips the quantifiable result that you achieved – a 3.4% increase in market share, a 17.5% ROI, a reduction in delivery times of 5 days.

Anyway, if you'd like to read more about how to deal with this style of interviewing, you can read about it on the site (or just click the icon right here).