Competency-based Interviews have been around a long time. However in recent years, they are becoming more formal and becoming part of an overall recruitment and selection process, where each candidate is required to complete a Competency-based Application Form first. Competency-based interviews are usually based on the contents of the Competency-based Application Form, though employers would design a competency-based interview upon receipt of CV’s. The competencies usually discussed at interviews are skills, talents, abilities that the successful candidate must have in order to carry out the duties and tasks of the role as outlined in the job advertisement / job description / job specification. The interview board would ask each candidate to give them an example i.e. tell them a story of an achievement, project, task that would best convince them that they have this competency in their natural possession. In order to convince them, the candidate would need an example that is preferably linked to a current or previous employment over the past 5-7 years (10 years maximum). The candidates with the best examples that are well structured, narrated and have a start, middle and end usually are selected or paneled.
The most common and well known format for sharing competency examples with interviewers in an interview situation is the STAR format i.e.:
- S = Situation
- T = Task
- A = Action
- R = Result
The Situation is the background to the competency example and gives the interviewers an overview / introduction of the where, what, who of the story.The Task tells the interviewers what you done (you, not we) in the competency example and what you had to do.
The Action shares with the interviewers how you done what you had to do. This is the detail of what you had to do i.e. how did you do it? The Result is the outcome i.e. what happened at the end. Was there a saving made, a project completed, increased turnover, a new client brought on board, an award achieved for example. When it comes to interviews today, competencies are what it is all about; the interviewers want to hear stories…!