Also called behavioral or competency questions, the competency-based questions are posed during the face-to-face interview to evaluate job candidates’ major capabilities. These questions are so constructed that applicants’ answers to them yield important insights into their working style and help make predictions about their behavior in the new workplace. Far from looking for information about candidates’ work experience, competency-based questions are directed at learning about their skills and core competency. To answer the competency-based questions, applicants should refer to their personal observations, bringing up examples from their firsthand experience in the previous workplace. By giving examples from their life, job candidates help interviewers see a comprehensive picture of their personality and their individual abilities.
Another set of questions posed during the interview may assess job candidates’ knowledge of the company for which they are being interviewed. It is advisable to browse the company’s website and learn about its mission, business goals, structure, and revenue before coming to the face-to-face interview. Expect also to be asked about the industry in which the company works, because employers want to ensure that you have a clear understanding of what tasks your future position will involve. Note also that in most interviews, the competency-based questions are standardized. This can play right into the hands of applicants, because standardization makes it easier to prepare for the interview. Go over a list of the competency-based questions presented below on this page and formulate clear and crispy answers to them. Chances are that most of these questions you will be asked during your upcoming interview. If you arm yourself with winning answers in advance, you will sound prepared, composed, and smart during your actual interview, thus securing for yourself a place at the top of the list of job candidates.
Before you start working on developing various competencies in yourself, it is essential to understand what competencies are and which of them employers want their potential employers to possess. The definition of the word “competence” is “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.” In other words, employers are looking for people who can perform tasks skillfully and conscientiously. Each company adumbrates its own set of the desirable qualities they look for in its new employees, which largely depends on the industry in which it specializes and on its particular business goals. Then, interviewers use these competencies as a yardstick to rate and estimate applicants’ potential. To find out whether candidates have a required set of qualities, interviewers asks them the competency-based questions. These questions are so constructed that to answer them, applicants should rely on their personal experience and bring up examples from their lives. When applicants elaborate on the difficulties they faced in their previous workplaces and tell how they solved them, recruiters can understand their personality and working styles more fully and accurately.
Some of the main competencies that employers want their employees to possess are the following:
When they ask the competency-based questions, interviewers want to learn about the activities in which job candidates were engaged while studying in college or working in other companies. Questions posed during the competency-based interview are directed at ascertaining whether applicants have a set of competencies the company considers crucial for excellent performance at work.
Usually, interviewers will ask you to tell them about a specific situation which you were called to improve in your previous workplace or in dealing with which you demonstrated specific qualities and skills. Prior to the interview, think about certain situations about which you can tell your interviewers when answering their questions. It will be good if you can bring up at least two examples for each competency that you will be invited to show. If during your interview you suddenly realize that you do not have an illuminating example at hand, do not panic. Ask your interviewers to give you a moment to think about your experience, search your memory, and try to recollect the situation where you rose to the occasion. The competency-based questions are difficult and tricky, and your recruiters will understand that you may need a few minutes to collect your thoughts.
Below is the list of the most frequently asked competency-based questions. You are advised to go over them and formulate winning answers to them. It is highly probable that many of these questions will be asked during your upcoming interviews:
To impress your interviewers with your comprehensive answers, construct them according to the CAR method. The word “CAR” in this approach is an acronym formed of three words: “Context,” “Action,” “Result.” First, when you are asked to recollect a past situation in which a certain event occurred, as illustrated in the list above, bring up an example from your life that may be pertinent to the situation in question. It will be wise to think of some situations from your past in advance, before you show up for your interview. Once you have zeroed in on a specific event, dwell on its context. Tell about the place and time of its occurrence and about co-workers and managers involved in the scenario.
Then, focus on the actions that you initiated to solve problems appertaining to the situation you are describing. Remember that your personality is shown most conspicuously in your decisions and actions. Hence, dwell on this part of your narrative at length. If you cooperated with your colleagues on projects or tasks, talk not only about your personal contribution to the joint venture but also about that of your co-workers. It will be even more illuminating if you adumbrate also alternative courses of events that you considered taking but refrained from doing so in the end. When you explain why you declined to follow certain alternative routes, you highlight your decision-making abilities and logical skills most effectively.
The final part of your answer should concentrate on results. Emphasize what you achieved after you had taken the described actions and what conclusions you made from your experience. Interviewers should know what you have learned from the situation to evaluate your main competencies more precisely and fairly. Answering interviewers’ competency-based questions according the CAR format will also increase your chances of leaving a lasting impression on them. If you employ this method on your interview, you will be likely to inspire your recruiters to make a hiring decision in your favor.
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