HRD India | Guide to Competency Based Interviews
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Guide to Competency Based Interviews

Guide to Competency Based Interviews (CBIs)


What is a “Competency Based” Interview? 

Interviewing is a two-way process. The interviewer wants to find out if you have the skills and experience required to perform well in the role and you want convince the interviewer that you are the right candidate against, what could potentially be, stiff competition. Sometimes interviews are so informal they amount to little more than a chat. This might be less stressful for you but it isn’t always the most effective way of selecting the best candidate for the job.

A more structured type of interview is “Competence Based”. The employer decides which skills (or competencies) are required for the role. Questions are then designed specifically to invite the candidates to give examples of times when they have displayed those skills or competencies.

A competency is defined as;

‘A skill, knowledge, ability or behavioural characteristic that is associated with superior performance’

All competencies should be:
·         Observable
·         Measurable
·         Linked to job requirements
·         Linked to the assessment strategy and business needs
·         Future-oriented
·         Based on strong performance

How Competency Based Interviews Work
The interview will be more systematic than a biographical interview where all the questions relate to your previous employment or education. Each question will target a specific skill or competency. Candidates are asked questions relating to their behaviour in specific circumstances, which they then need to back up with concrete examples. The interviewers will then dig further into the examples by asking for specific explanations about the candidate’s behaviour or skills.

How to answer a CBI question
Prepare, prepare, prepare! This may sound simple but you must prepare fully for your interview and specifically look at how you would answer the competency questions. You will not know the exact format of the questions that you will be asked but by studying the job advert or specification you will be able to get an idea of the questions you are likely to encounter. For example, if the job advert says you need ‘excellent communication skills’ then it would be fair to assume that your communication skills will be investigated during the CBI.