This week I will be presenting a series of 5 blogs providing some pertinent and useful advice on interviews. I hope you find them useful! Today I look at interview preparation for competency-based questions.
I read a perfectly valid blog this morning from my friend Jorgen Sundberg – stating the ‘Only 5 Interview Questions You Need To Prepare For’ – and while all 5 are spot on, because all research is valid – I would add another.
There is a common method of interview content used both by HR professionals and Hiring Managers alike, called ‘Competency-Based Interviewing’ and is a form of questioning which requires you to provide an example of when you have undertaken specific key elements of the role. Sometimes they are hard skills, sometimes they are situational and soft skills. Either way, they could be the crucial difference between success and failure in an interview – because although you can dream up all the best areas you can add value, and your team-working skills – you are fundamentally going to be assessed on your capability for the job in hand.
So, the question you need to be prepared for – and there may be 3 or 4 of these in an interview – will go something along the lines of: “Give me an example when you encountered [insert work situation] before, and how did you deal with it?” – It’s a REALLY difficult question to answer without prior preparation, because you have to rack your brains into your career to find a specific example; which leaves an excruciating period of silence; and what if you don’t choose the right one?
So how do you prepare for this? Well here’s my tip:
The night before your interview, print off the job spec – yes I mean print it off. Get your pen – yes I mean your pen – and next to each part of the duties and responsibilities scribble down 1 or 2 examples where you have done that specific thing before; from the high-powered, to the menial. Read it again in the morning, and again on the journey to the interview.
By writing the words down – there is a common theory that you retain information you write better than that which you type – and so you are better likely to have them stored in your mind when you reach the interview. When the questions come, they should in theory relate to components of the duties of the role – and you will be prepared with your best chosen examples because of the prior work you gave it.
It will rest your own mind at ease, and also help you perform better and more relevantly in interview.