Competency Based Job Interviews Are Much Easier If You Approach The Right Way

You are looking at a role.

The background information tells you that they will be doing competency based job interviews.

Your initial thought might be panic.  Yet it doesn’t need to be like that at all.

Now your first question might be what exactly is a competency based job interview?

In simple terms it’s an approach to interviewing that focuses on getting candidates to demonstrate what they have actually done.

They are used to separate out the candidates who have a theoretical understanding from those who have real life experience.

If you had interviewed a number of years ago you might have been asked to talk hypothetically.   Now the focus is on understanding your experience.

Examples and stories are really the foundation on which great performance in competency based job interviews is built.

The better your examples and stories, the better you will come across and demonstrate your fit for the job.

These examples and stories rarely roll off the tongue for accountants and professionals.

For that reason it’s really vital that you work on these as part of your preparation for the role.

Once you have your examples and stories you need to practice speaking them out loud in a very structured way.

You probably have heard of STAR and STAL.

Most candidates on the job market have.

Trouble is there is often a huge gap between understanding and application.

From my own experiences about 10-20% can use the STAR and STAL approach effectively.

Which means 80-90% of candidates struggle.

So you might be wondering what STAR and STAL is all about. 

Essentially it’s a way of answering competency based questions.

The S stands for situation.

The T stands for task

The A stands for actions

The R stands for results.

When asked to tell them about a time, give an example or describe a situation you follow this structure.

The key is to keep the situation, task and results elements brief.  The actions you took is the most important area and where you need most detail.

You use the STAR approach when you have had a positive outcome.

If on the other hand you are asked about a time when you tried to achieve something of deal with something that didn’t work out your use STAL.

The S stands for situation.

The T stands for task

The A stands for actions

The L stands for learning.

What the interviewer is interested in is understanding whether you are okay with making mistakes and learn from them.

While competency based job interviews might appear daunting, they really are a gift for those candidates who have done the work ahead of the job interview.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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