How to prepare for competency-based interviews

Posted: 15 Jan 2019

How to prepare for competency-based interviews

Competency based interviews are common in the IT sector where employers want to see evidence that you can apply your experience in a way that will benefit their business.

Usually, employers look for a blend of general competencies—such as evidence of good communication skills and the ability to collaborate with others—alongside technical competencies specific to the role they are seeking to fill.

Examples of role-specific competencies include:

  • Software engineer—problem solving, analytical skills, decision making, organisation and goal setting, adaptability,
  • Developer—customer focus, operational ability, decision making, risk management, communication, influencing and teamwork.
  • QA manager—problem solving, analytical skills, ability to take initiative, communication skills.
  • Business analyst—problem solving, decision-making, ability to manage innovation and change, planning and organisation skills, ability to develop and maintain relationships, awareness of regulatory issues and ability to manage risk.

Preparing for your competency-based interview

Employers will expect you to provide examples that demonstrate your methods of working and approach to technical problems. These examples need to be relevant to the role you are applying for. So, when preparing for your competency-based interview, it is vital to study the job description closely. For each aspect of the job, think of an example from your previous experience which you can use to demonstrate that you have the relevant competency. The STAR approach is useful when preparing your examples. This involves describing a Situation, the Task you had to perform, the Actions that you took and the Result that you achieved. The objective is to showcase your experience but try to avoid being too formulaic as it is also important to let your personality shine through.

How to recognise competency-based interview questions

Competency-based interview questions are probing. They may take the form of questions that ask you to:

  • Talk about a time when …
  • Give an example of how you …
  • Describe a situation where …

The interviewer may ask you to talk about a time when you had a problem at work or a situation where you were able to use your communication skills to overcome a difficulty. You may be asked for examples of a time when you had to work to a tight deadline, a time when you had to manage multiple projects, examples of how you prioritise tasks and manage your time.

You also need to think about general questions the interviewer is likely to ask, including your motivation for applying for the role.

Remember to rehearse your answers. Practising in advance of the interview will help you deliver coherent answers and feel more confident.

Whether you are looking for your first role in the IT sector or want to advance your career, Eolas Recruitment has in-depth knowledge that can help you achieve your goal. Check out our Google reviews and contact us for details of current opportunities.


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