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Preparing You

We use competency-based interviews as part of the recruitment process for all of our roles. The following information will help you understand the competency-based interview structure in preparation for either a telephone or a face-to-face interview.

What is a competency/competency interview?

Competencies are the characteristics of an individual that are important for good performance in a role. They are usually a mix of skills, ability, motivation and knowledge. The competencies assessed in an interview differ from role to role depending on requirements for the job. Competency based interviews rely on past situations. So instead of asking how you feel about working in a team, you’ll be asked to talk about past examples of working in a team.

The types of competencies that we assess are:

Working With Others
Planning & Delivery
Communicating & Influencing
Problem Solving & Judgement
Learning & Change

What should I expect?

A competency-based interview is a timed, structured interview made up of specific questions relating to each competency area being assessed. The interviewer will have selected the most important competencies for the job and will ask you for specific examples of your past behaviour in relation to each of them.

You will typically have around five to ten minutes per question. During that time, the interviewer will ask the initial question and then follow this up with a series of probing questions to gather all of the information that they need.

"Tell me about a situation where it was important that you worked as part of a team."
"What was the situation?"
"What part did you play in the team?"
"What difficulties did you encounter? How did you approach these?"
"What have you learned from this experience?"

How do I prepare?

  • Check key skills on job listings

    Unfortunately, we can't tell you exactly which competencies we are assessing at the interview. However, spend some time looking at the key skills that are listed in the job advert and on the website.

  • 01

  • List key words/phrases and provide examples from work

    List key words and phrases and, for each one, think of two or three examples from your previous work experience where you used your skills to achieve a positive result and what you learnt from the experience.

  • 02

  • If you don’t have work experiences, you can pull from school or personal life

    If you do not have work-related experience, use examples from school, sport, voluntary work, hobbies or even your personal life. Use recent examples where you can remember lots of detail about what you did and why.

  • 03

  • STAR is a useful mnemonic to structure answers

    Situation: Define the context?
    Task: What were your aims?
    Action: What did you do? why?
    Result: What was the outcome of your actions?
    Use "I" rather than "we" so we can get a clear picture of your own role

  • 04

General Tips

  • Be yourself, we want to get to know you.
  • Listen attentively, and take your time answering questions.
  • It's also okay to ask the interviewer to repeat a question, or check your understanding of what's being asked.
  • Don’t be distracted by the interviewer taking notes, it’s their job to accurately record the interview.
  • Telephone interviews are just as important as face-to-face interviews.

Think you're ready?

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