The need for competency-based interviewing

Getting the interview right is not simply about ensuring the company is happy with their prospective new recruit – it’s essential for making sure the candidate’s expectations are aligned with the role.
The results of a recent salary survey stated that the number two reason for employees leaving a job early is that they feel they have been mis-sold the position.
Feedback from candidates and experience supporting in interviews tells us that a surprising number of businesses do not sufficiently explore competency and discuss the requirements of the position, opting instead to stick to more perfunctory questioning.

This could be, for example: “Are you happy with the number of hours?”; “Is the commute acceptable to you?”, or; “How do you feel about the proposed salary?”.

These are valid questions but this approach does not give a good candidate experience. As much as interviews are stressful, the person in the hot seat can be left mystified if their experience and abilities are not probed sufficiently.

A competency-based approach which is aligned with the job description and the day-to-day reality of the role will give a much better impression of your business and the requirements of the role.
These types of questions are based around key skills and aspects of a candidates’ work where they can prove the value they have added to employers. The trick of competency-based interviewing is to tease out the evidence of those qualities.

Competency-based questions could be as follows:

  • The role requires good communication skills. How would you describe yourself in this respect?
  • Give an example of an occasion when you used your initiative to the benefit of your employer.
  • What do you consider your greatest achievement in your working life?

Matt Scarr  said: “Competency-based interviews might seem to be the obvious approach, yet it’s surprising how many companies don’t use this kind of questioning.
“As recruitment and onboarding can be costly in terms of time and money, it’s essential to get it right first time and using this method to ensure the candidate understands the demands of the role is more likely to result in a happy and enduring appointment.”

He added: “If you use a recruitment agency, they should be willing to work consultatively and offer advice on interviewing.
“They should also be willing to support the process by helping you prepare your questions and also sitting in on those interviews.”