Interview Tips

A Guide to Competency-Based Interviewing

Some interviews are structured to competency based – that is they search for a number of skills or characteristics that they have identified as being important for success in the role in question.  They are conducted by staff trained in this type of interview in order to give you the best possible chance to demonstrate that you have these characteristics.

What is a competency?

A competency is a specific quality, knowledge, skill or behaviour that a person should have to be successful in a position.

Why use competency-based interviewing?

This standard approach to selection screening, selecting and interviewing is designed to help ensure that the selection procedure is objective and fair.

How might a competency-based interview differ from those I’m used to?

Rather than using your CV or application form as the basis for your interview, it will be structured around a number of competencies each with its own set of questions. As you move through the questions, your interviewers will take you through what each question is asking and the information being sought. 

This information will require you to refer to your past experiences and will centre around your own actions and learning points.

How should I approach this interview?

In order to make the most of your interview, you should spend some time reflecting on previous experience, whether it be employment, academic or from another source.  Think about examples of instances where you feel you have performed well or that have provided you with important learning opportunities.

This style should help you to put your experiences into a meaningful context, helping you decide what qualities your examples can show and to express them effectively.  Also, please focus on your own role and try to resist the temptation to talk in terms of ‘we’ and ‘us’. 

These interviews are designed to let you show how you can fulfil the job in question. The prime concern is to find out as much as possible about your qualities.  You can bring notes with you to the interview and will be encouraged to take time to consider your answers before giving them.  You may also jump back to previous questions if you remember a point you feel is relevant.


Gives priority to customer service.

Displays a can do attitude.

Takes personal responsibility for own objectives: sets priorities, schedules work, monitors progress and reschedules as necessary.

Checks quality and accuracy of own work.

Adheres to guidelines and procedures.

Uses initiative to act on opportunities.

Talks to customers to find out what they want.

Collects relevant and readily available information in order to resolve issues or carry out tasks.

Works sensitively with others.

Co-operates with others to achieve business success.

Responds positively to request for help and support.

Works collaboratively with people from other teams and units across the Group to ensure comprehensive fit-for-purpose solutions.

CV Tips

Looking to Recruit?

Find Great Candidates

Excite Job Seekers with Compelling Careers.

Today’s candidates expect more from their jobs than a pay check – they want to feel fulfilled. That is why successful career sites are not merely informative. They are designed to excite candidates.

Job seekers do not have just one objective when choosing an employer; their decisions are based on tangible and intangible factors. Your career site needs to lead with what candidates care most about.

Stay Ahead of Skills Gaps

HR professionals agree that soft skills are more important than hard skills in specific business areas, especially in customer service, human resources, sales/ marketing and administration positions. In fact, in a recent study 75% of surveyed employers stated they have cut an interview short because a candidate did not demonstrate the soft skills they need.

Aside from poor performance, 30% of senior managers say a mismatched skillset is the leading cause of failed hires. Luckily, you do not need a crystal ball to see which candidates are up to the task.

Incorporate skills assessments to measure candidates’ skills and make an informed hiring decision. Assessments narrow your list of candidates by using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative tests to vet skills. As a result, recruiters and hiring managers focus their time and energies only on those candidates with the right skills for the job.

Secure Talent by Making Offers Quickly

Keep momentum and interest with candidates by making offers quickly. Get offer letters out the moment you know you want a candidate – the longer your internal approvals take, the more likely your candidate will get scooped up by a competitor.

Candidates are never really yours until they show up for work on their first day. In a tight labour market, candidates have options – meaning they are more likely to ‘ghost.’

But employers share responsibility for this trend. Four in 10 employees say they have experienced a lack of communication between the time they accepted a job and their first day of work.

Retain Employees by Investing in Them

You have done all the right things to hire the right talent. Invest in ways to keep your employees working for you, rather than a competitor.

Keep your employees longer by showing them you care about their careers:

• Invest in ongoing training opportunities for employees to develop new, and hone existing skills.

• Provide regular feedback and touchpoints from managers.

• Strengthen mentorship programmes by providing resources and incentives for active participation.