Our ‘Winning at Competency Based Interviews’ E-book will show you what competency-based interviews are and how to answer criteria-based questions.
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It sometimes feels that getting an opportunity to show a prospective employer how good you are is getting more and more difficult. There are so many new graduates out there that the competition is fierce and the odds are lengthening all the time. There is the CV, there are on-line applications, and there are telephone screening interviews and then finally the face to face interview. Just how do you get started?
Well one thing you need to be able to tackle is the rise and rise of the Competency Based Interview! Just when you thought you had learned what to wear, how to walk across a room and how to charm the interviewer with your description of your strengths and ambitions you suddenly come face to face with the Competency Based Interviewer.
Unlike your normal, average interviewer these people are trained; they’re trained to ask specific questions and they are looking for specific answers. If you don’t give them the answers they are looking for you won’t get the job no matter your old school, your university or those fashion model looks and sparkling smile.
You are straight out of ‘Uni’ and you are face to face with the ‘HR professionals from Hell’ who have interviewed more people than you have had curry and chips! Is it mission impossible? No, it is not. Competency Based Interviews can be easier to succeed at once you know what you are doing and this ebook will show you how to be a winner.
Firstly let’s get a few things straight. What’s so different about Competency Based Interviews? What does it all mean?
Let’s start at the beginning. Competencies emerged in the 1980s as a response to organisational change and to wider changes in western society. An American academic, Richard Boyatzis, wrote The Competent Manager: a Model for Effective Performance. It was a key work and was taken up by HR people seeking to influence management development and performance management.
Initially, competency frameworks were developed for middle and senior management but today it is recognized that an effective competency framework can be applied more widely. There has been a trickle down over the last twenty years and, for example, within the UK, competencies now form the basis of National Occupational Standards and National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).
Organisations develop their own ‘Competency Framework’ that is compatible with their vision, goals and culture. These frameworks include behaviours, technical skills and abilities and personal qualities.
I know, we still haven’t explained what ‘competencies’ or ‘competences’ (the two terms are often used interchangeably) mean in respect of employment. Well here goes. This is what the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said in its fact sheet titled “Competency and Competency Frameworks” – updated August 2005:
“Competencies can be understood to represent the language of performance in an organisation, articulating both the expected outcomes of an individual’s efforts and the manner in which these activities are carried out.”
Phew, so what! And why should you care? Well here is the reason why you should care.
FACT – over 95% of FTSE 350 companies use competency based interviewing techniques
FACT – over 90% of SMEs questioned said they either use or would be using competency based interviewing techniques within the next 12 months.
FACT – only 10% of candidates have ever had any kind of interview training
FACT – only 17% of candidates successfully pass a competency based interview
Now that’s why you need to understand what Competency Based Interviews are all about!
Put simply, a competency based interview is a style of interviewing that allows you, the candidate, to demonstrate clearly how you would perform in certain situations and scenarios in the workplace. It is based upon questions that aim to find out how you have dealt with these situations and scenarios in the past.
By analysing your past reactions and past experience, employers attempt to predict future behaviour by:
* Aligning the organisation’s visions and goals to the interview process
* Preventing misunderstandings and lack of clarity
* Eliminating personal impressions and feelings from the selection process
* Stopping candidates from faking & even lying
You will be asked to give an example of a situation or task which led you to take a certain course of action. Probing questions will then be used to determine the course of action you took and what changes were created by those actions and the effects of those actions on others. Effectively, competency based interview questions focus on situations and achievements, rather than story telling or vague answers to open questions.
The good news is that, far from being a mysterious science, these questions can be researched, practised and prepared for. Even the most out of practice interviewee will quickly be able to build the confidence and skills to master this type of assessment.
This ebook will teach you all you need to know about competency based interviews by breaking them down, step by step, then giving you a fool-proof formula that is proven to create compelling and rich answers to these questions, time after time.
Before we get into the heart of this ebook, it’s worth noting that Competency Based Interviews are often called Criteria Based Interviews and sometimes called Structured Interviews. So if you stumble across either of these terms in other books or articles you will know that
This ebook is inspired by the writers’ having interviewed several thousand candidates from graduate to director level and having been continually frustrated by the poor answers given during those interviews. The interviewers often knew that the candidates could do a good job, and even had probably done what they were being asked about, but time and time again, the candidates had not prepared, not understood the question, not listened, or simply been so nervous that they could not perform.
Successful actors have to learn their lines over and over to perform well at an audition; successful interviewing is no different.
In order to understand how to answer competency based interview questions, first it is important to understand and have a clear grasp of three vital things:
* What is a competency?
* Which competencies will I be measured against?
* How will I be measured?
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