Competency based interviewing (CBI) is a means for employers to gather evidence in support of a candidate’s case to ascertain that he or she has the ability, skills and motivation to match the ‘competencies’ outlined in the job and person specifications.
A ‘competency’ is defined as having the knowledge, applying the skills and undertaking job relevant tasks associated with certain level of performance.
Candidates accumulate points based on a scoring system against each competency, which are tallied up at the end of the interview and are further tested in more detail at second interview/assessment centre stage.
CBI is now widely recognised as providing the best indication of a candidate’s suitability for a particular role and increases the odds of a favourable match greatly. Sailing through the interview does not translate to performing well in the job.
In contrast to the traditional interview, which focuses primarily on the information contained within the CV ie a candidate’s work history and education, CBI goes much deeper into the dynamics of specific attributes needed to succeed in the job.
It is imperative that the candidate provides examples from his past working experience to match every competency listed in the job specification, and fundamental to this is ample prior preparation.
Competencies vary from role to role but certain key areas ie teamwork, leadership, planning and organisation, communication, commercial awareness and problem solving are always tested.
Sample questions asked might include: Tell me about a project you generated on your own? Give an example of when you improved the efficiency of your team? Describe a situation when you had to convince colleagues of a particular course of action?
For example, if you are considering a recruitment career, you need excellent communication, influencing and team working skills on top of a strong sense of customer focus and a results-driven attitude.
Employers will establish a competency framework that divides the job into key criteria and generate a hierarchy of prioritisation to separate the ‘essential’ from the ‘desirable’.
Competency-based interviewing not only ensures a smoother recruitment and selection process but can also form part of an organisation’s retention strategy as the chosen candidate is more likely to be successful and ultimately profitable to the destination organisation.