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.