Competency-based Interview Preparation, Skills and Techniques

Competency based InterviewS = Situation
T = Task
A = Action
R = Result
L = Learning
I = Improvement
S = Strengths

Competency-based Interviews are common today. Many organisations (private and public) use a tailored application form for opportunities/vacancies. They may request a CV to be submitted too, but normally they request job applicants to complete a Competency-based Application Form and then attend a Competency-based Interview.

Talent Fusion can help you complete Competency-based Application Forms.

The Competency-based Application Form is designed and structured so that everything the organisation needs to know is provided to help them make an informed decision as to who they would like to select for an interview.

Part of this design and structure of competency-based application forms are to help the organisation ask competency-based questions. Competencies are the skills, knowledge and experience that the organisation deem to be necessary to carry out the job effectively and efficiently. We help you prepare for your Competency-based Interview.

Competency’s will and could include the following areas that require an example from you so as to demonstrate that you have done this before and therefore can do it again in the new role:

  • Planning and organising.
  • People management.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Building and maintaining relationships.
  • Providing quality service.
  • Analyzing and problem-solving.
  • Making decisions.
  • Strategy management.
  • Handling a difficult situation.
  • Handling a difficult person.
  • Communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Meeting deadlines and commitment.
  • Innovative and creative.
  • Working as part of a team.
  • Taking the initiative.
  • Working under pressure.
  • Multi-tasking.
  • Resourcefulness.

Sometimes at the start and end of the competency-based question section in the application form they may require you to outline, explain, demonstrate your knowledge, expertise, acumen of the area, department, function that you will be working in and/or to summarise your knowledge and experience that are relevant to the role and/or outline why you are eligible for the role.

With each competency is a brief explanation of what it means and what the organisation is expecting you to write about and cover.

It can be difficult to approach and answer these competency questions.

One way of doing it is to use the STARLIS format:

S = Situation
T = Task
A = Action
R = Result
L = Learning
I = Improvement
S = Strengths

Each part can be up to 7-9 lines in length utilising a past event (preferably employment-related) that answers the specific competency. The STARLIS is a way of writing a story; it is demonstrating / addresses that you have the experience of doing this competency in your previous/current job, or if not through voluntary work, from school/college and/or in your personal life.

It is a way of giving your answer a structure; a start, middle and an end and makes it easy for the reader/interviewer to understand your example, thereby securing an interview and then achieving high marks from the interview panel.

As you share the STARLIS, preface it with 2-3 lines demonstrating your own understanding of the competency and then give your example a title i.e. a title of the actual event/example that you are about to share.

Questions that can be asked at a Competency-based Interview, after you have explained your STARLIS examples would and could include:

  • Where did you source the example from?
  • What did you learn from the example?
  • How did you apply the learning?
  • What changes would you do next time?
  • Were you satisfied/dissatisfied with the result?
  • What did you like/dislike about the above example experience?
  • What was rewarding for you?
  • What annoyed/frustrated you?
  • How would you improve the answer/example to the competency?

…it is therefore advisable to try to use real experiences to develop your example and experiences from your employment or career history when you are dealing with a Competency based Interview…