Tips for a competency-based interview

In the search for a new job, you’re almost certain to come up against what is commonly known as a competency-based interview, but if the prospect is a daunting one, our tips and hints will guide you through the process and help you clinch that dream post.

So what exactly is a competency-based interview?

It’s an approach increasingly favoured by employers which looks closely at a candidate’s previous conduct and uses it as an indicator of their future performance and suitability for the job. .In a structured interview – also known as a behavioural or situational interview – the unwitting candidate can often be caught out when challenged to give concrete examples of their previous competency or skills.

Can you predict the questions?

You’re already well on your way to the answer by reading this guide – as preparation is the key. There’s no need to panic, just take a deep breath and think calmly about the kind of job you are applying for. What skills are the company looking for and why? Simple preparation is the key to avoiding a stuttering performance. Make a checklist of competencies in demand and then apply them to your own experience. Just think about your ability to work as part of a team, solve problems, complete a project under pressure and hit tight deadlines and stockpile a few examples. To double-check you are on the right track, return to the brief, re-read the specification and make sure you have tailored your answers to mirror the qualities and competencies most in demand in the job advert.

Make it about you!

This is your chance to sell yourself as the ideal candidate, so make sure you are armed with examples of your talent which will really pack a punch and knock-out the opposition. Showcase the part you have played in successful projects, whether that was in a previous post or even at school or university. Remember the devil is in the detail – cut out the bluster and be specific. Be clear, concise and confident. Turn the spotlight on your achievements and show exactly how you and your talents are most appropriate for the role. Then practice your pitch until you are perfect – use friends and family as sounding boards and run through your resume until you are confident you have cut out the hesitation and can put on a winning performance. It’s your chance to shine.

And remember – don’t panic!

Competency-based Interviews are rigid by their very nature, with each job hopeful asked the same set of questions for consistency. This can be somewhat disconcerting, but is designed to ensure each candidate gets an equal chance to impress. Nobody is trying to trick you – the process aims to be fair and objective. So don’t be put off when the interviewer takes notes – that’s simply to ensure the key points of your performance have been accurately recorded and if you’ve practiced your pitch properly, you’re sure to have impressed. You can add some extra personality to the proceedings with questions at the end of the interview to ensure the last impression of you is a memorable one.

"RAYNER PERSONNEL PLACED ME IN MY CURRENT ROLE AS HEAD OF NEW HOMES FOR MARSH & PARSONS. I FOUND THEM EXTREMELY PROFESSIONAL AND ENTHUSIASTIC. I AM HUGELY APPRECIATIVE OF ALL THE ASSISTANCE AND GUIDANCE THEY GAVE ME. I WOULD USE RAYNER PERSONNEL AGAIN." SIOBHAN STUANTON - ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR NEW HOMES, MARSH & PARSONS NEW HOMES, MARSH & PARSONS

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Sini Chandran MARLA
Sini Chandran MARLA Property Manager at Foxtons

Ian is the best recruiter I’ve ever come across. Throughout the entire process he was instinctive, helpful, prompt and kept me up to date at every stage. He encouraged me stay positive during the different stages of the recruitment process and I felt I could approach him with any query I had. He is truly passionate about his job and goes above and beyond any other recruiter I’ve dealt with!

SIMON WOOD
SIMON WOOD CANDIDATE

Having received countless calls from recruitment agencies that I could not wait to get off the phone to, I received a call from Rayner Personnel. As my CV was not up to date they offered me a role and when I mentioned my skill set he immediately offered me a role which matched for a very respectable company. Rayner Personnel were incredibly helpful and had the patience of a saint whilst going through the interview process and I was successful in my job application with the company. I cannot recommend Rayner Personnel enough!

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I just wanted to send you a quick email to thank you for the help you provided me on my job search. The communication was fantastic and after only speaking to you for the first time within the hour I had multiple job interviews that were relevant to my search criteria. I would happily recommended you Rayner Personnel to anyone within the industry.

SIMON WEBB
SIMON WEBB GROUP PRODUCTION MANAGER, GPEA LIMITED

There are two reasons I would recommend Rayner Personnel. The first is their customer service: as a candidate looking for work I was always able to speak to someone quickly and get answers when I needed them. Secondly, and most importantly, they understand their industry, clients and candidates: Rayner Personnel were able to put me in front of businesses that presented a challenge I would find engaging, and at the same time I would be of benefit to the employer. They thought outside of the box too to come up with ideas for where to place me that others wouldn't have thought of and couldn't have had the contacts to make happen. This is a professional, friendly service that delivers.

SIOBHAN STAUNTON
SIOBHAN STAUNTON ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR – NEW HOMES, MARSH & PARSONS

Rayner Personnel placed me in my current role as Head of New Homes for Marsh & Parsons. I found them extremely professional and enthusiastic. I am hugely appreciative of all the assistance and guidance they gave me. I would use Rayner Personnel again.

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