ISC Professional – Interview guide – Competency-based interviews #crazy #questions


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4. Competency-Based Interviews

Competency is a concept linking three parameters – Knowledge, Skills and Attitude. For example – you might have good interpersonal skills (skills), but will not be competent to join a company as Project Manager unless you possess adequate education/experience (knowledge) and the right temperament/behaviour (attitude).Competency-based interviews (also called structured interviews) are interviews where each question is designed to test one or more specific skills. The answer is then matched against pre-decided criteria and marked accordingly. For example, the interviewers may want to test the candidate s ability to deal with stress by asking first how the candidate generally handles stress and then asking the candidate to provide an example of a situation where he worked under pressure.

4.1 – How do competency-based interviews differ from normal interviews?

Normal interviews (also called unstructured interviews) are essentially a conversation where the interviewers ask a few questions that are relevant to what they are looking for but without any specific aim in mind other than getting an overall impression of you as an individual. Questions are fairly random and can sometimes be quite open. For example, a question such as What can you offer our company? is meant to gather general information about you but does not test any specific skill or competency. In an unstructured interview, the candidate is judged on the general impression that he/she leaves; the process is therefore likely to be more subjective.

Competency-based interviews (also called structured or behavioural interviews) are more systematic, with each question targeting a specific skill or competency. Candidates are asked questions relating to their behaviour in specific circumstances, which they then need to back up with concrete examples. The interviewers will then dig further into the examples by asking for specific explanations about the candidate s behaviour or skills.

4.2 – Which skills and competencies do competency-based interviews test?

Many interviews now are competency-based which means that the interviewer will be looking for you to answer questions about your abilities and experience in the context of actual events. It is worth preparing in advance at least two examples for each competency as it is not unheard of for the recruiter to ask for a second example, particularly if you have already quoted one on an application form.

The list of skills and competencies that can be tested varies depending on the post that you are applying for. For example, for a Personal Assistant post, skills and competencies would include communication skills; ability to organise and prioritise; and ability to work under pressure. For a senior manager, skills and competencies may include an ability to influence and negotiate; an ability to cope with stress and pressure; an ability to lead; and the capacity to take calculated risks.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the more common skills and competencies that you may be asked to demonstrate:


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