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Careers - Preparing for My Interview PDF Print E-mail

Preparing for My Interview

Competency Based Interview Skills
Job hunting has changed dramatically over the last number of years particularly in the area of interviewing. Previously employers relied on a traditional interview accompanied with a few bland references. Most organisations have accepted this method does not work and these employers have moved to more structured interviewing. There has been a major increase in the use of Behavioural or competency based interviews (CBI).

What are Competency Based Interviews?
Competency Based Interviews aka Structured Interviews or Behavioural Interviews. These interviews are made up of a number of targeted questions that require interviewees to describe specific task or situation. Competency Based Interviews work on the belief that the best indication of future behaviour is past behaviour. Typically interviewee will be assessed against a number of different competencies – normally between 4-6 competencies. An example of a competency would be “presenting and communicating”. A typical question could be “Tell me about a time when you had to present ideas to a group of people? Talk me through your approach?, How did you feel during the situation? and what was the outcome?”

Competency Interviewing Technique – STAR
The most popular technique to support preparation and during competency based interviews is the STAR technique.
(S/T) – Situation or Task. This is the introduction or opening information. Interviewees will describe the event. It is important to bring the event to life.
(A) – Action. This is what you did or the meat of the story. It is where you provide details about actions you took and how you behaved during the situation. It is important to avoid sweeping statements and to provide plenty of detail. The most common mistake at this stage is to use the word “We” instead of the word “I” when describing actions. Doing this will dilute your contribution.
(R) – Results. The final part of the technique where you outline the results or outcomes of the situation.

The HR Interview - Competency Based Interviews

The purpose of these is to test elements of your personality and temperment, along with assessing what your "fit" with the company would be like.

Remember, always give examples!! Back up your statements and answers.
  • Largest Project Managed
  • Who was the key customer for the project?
  • How did you ensure that the project met the customer’s needs
  • Explain what level of interaction you had with them
  • Give me an example of the most difficult customer situation you had to handle
  • How do you know when you are meeting your customer requirements?
  • Describe a time when you worked in a really effective team. What made it effective? What was your contribution?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had difficulties working with a team. What caused the problem? How did you respond? What was the outcome?
  • Give me an example of how you have encouraged other team members to contribute to the discussions or task in hand?
  • Tell me about a time when you have identified an opportunity and driven it forward to the benefit of the business. What specifically did you do?
  • Describe a time when you spotted a potential problem before anyone else did. What did you do? What alternatives were there? What difficulties did you encounter? What was the outcome?
  • Give me an example when you have regularly initiated action without awaiting direction?
  • Tell me how you currently schedule your time. How do you prioritise? Why do you adopt this particular method?
  • Describe a situation in which you met a target working under significant pressure. What was your strategy for achieving your targets in spite of this pressure?
  • Tell me about a time when you missed a deadline. What difficulties did you encounter? What was the outcome? How did you communicate it? What would you do next time?
  • Give an example of a time when you have had to communicate a complex idea/message/concept. How did you communicate it? What tools did you use? Why? How was the message fully understood?
  • Give me an example of how you have ensured that individuals have been kept informed of key issues and developments
  • Tell me about a time when you were particularly motivated. What motivated you and why?
  • Give me and example when you have found a role particularly stressful, why? How did you over come the stress in this situation? What did you learn and do differently?
  • Give me an example of when you have submitted an idea to an manager or customer that was rejected. How did you react? What was the outcome?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What qualities do you think will be required for this job?
  • What can you contribute?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What do you know about this company?
  • What interests you about our product (or service)?
  • You have not done this sort of job before. How will you cope/succeed?
  • Why should we employ you?
  • What do you like and dislike about the job we are discussing?
  • Why did you choose a career in ……?
  • How much does your last job resemble the one you are applying for? What are the differences?
  • What do you think of the last company you worked for?
  • How long have you been looking for a new job?
  • Do you prefer to work in a small, medium or large company?
  • What are you looking for in a new job?
  • What would your ideal job be?
  • Are you considering any other position at the moment?
  • What did you think of your manager/supervisor?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would others describe you?
  • How could you improve yourself?
  • Did you feel that you progressed satisfactorily in your last job?
  • How do you handle criticism?
  • Are you accepted into a team quickly?
  • Can you act on you own initiative?
  • What motivates you?
  • Can you work under pressure?
  • How many hours are you prepared to work?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What interests do you have outside work?
  • How often are you off sick?
  • What level of salary are you looking for now?
  • What will your referees say about you?



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