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Competency Based Interviews

Competency Based Interviewing is used so that a candidate can best show how they would demonstrate certain behaviours/skills in the workplace by answering questions about how they have reacted to and dealt with previous workplace situations.

As more and more employers use competency frameworks as the basis for their HR and recruitment strategies, you are increasingly likely to face competency based interviewing.

By using past experience, a potential employer can predict future behaviour.

You will be asked to give an example of a situation or task which led you to take a certain course of action.  Probing questions are then used to determine the course of action you took and what changes were created by those actions, and the effects of those actions on others.

Many organisations now analyse jobs by breaking it down into key competencies.  For example, the competencies of a lawyer might be: planning and organising; innovation; personal drive; problem analysis; and decision-making.

How can I prepare for a competency based interview?

You can prepare for the interview in the normal way by researching the company, making sure you are able to talk through the work and skills that you have described on your CV.  However, most candidates will find this type of interviewing much more interactive and enjoyable and it is likely that the interviewer will be able to encourage you to be much more open than in a traditional interview.

If you have a job description for the role that lists the competencies required, try to think of examples where you have demonstrated those competencies in the workplace. 

How will I be measured?

Employers will look for real-life evidence where you have demonstrated certain behaviours or skills - these are termed positive and negative indicators.

Examples

Competency = Planning & Organising: prioritises; sets stretching but realistic targets and deadlines; plans ahead and has a structured approach to the work

Questions:
Describe a project you have been responsible for
How did you plan your time?
How did you deal with obstacles?
In your current job, how do you schedule your time and set priorities?
How did you prepare for this interview?

Competency = Team Skills: the ability to work with other people constructively to improve the effectiveness of the team

Questions:
Tell me about a time when you have started a new job
How did you go about building an effective working relationship with your team?
What effect did that have on the success of the team?
Describe an occasion where you chose not to work as part of a team.

Competency based interview questions are designed to let every candidate have the same chance to demonstrate their ability by giving examples of what they have actually done.  This should result in a fair and objective recruitment process, because candidates who are good at interviews' will still need to have examples of where they have demonstrated the relevant skills, and candidates who are not so confident in interviews will be guided to talk about their skills and experience through focused questions.

Testimonials

I have been with Sammons for nearly a year as a temp and during that time I have rarely been out of work. They look after their team well and are always ready to sort any problems. I would not hesitate to recommend them.

Frank

I have worked with Sammons for around three years now and have no interest in taking my skills elsewhere, it is the most supportive team I have yet to come across. The organisation really does care about putting peoples skills in the appropriate setting and ensuring that their staff get the work they are looking for. All the best guys and keep the hardwork up.

Frith L

I can't rate the Hastings team highly enough. They found the perfect role for me and I was lucky enough to be made permanent. A friendly team who place people where they are best suited, not just what benefits them. If I'm ever looking for a job again I would definitely choose Sammons.

Linda E

Brilliant service - so efficient and quick with getting you set up and looking for jobs. I was contacted within a day of applying and brought in to fill in and sign documents. All the staff are lovely and friendly. I would highly recommend Sammons, especially in Hastings! I was in a job within a week of signing up! Couldn't ask for more.

Becci D

I have no hesitation in giving The Sammons Group a 5 star rating due to the helpfulness and desire in them trying to find me employment. Their tenacity paid off and they set me up with a job interview of which on the very same day, indeed a few hours after the interview, I was given a job. So well done to all at Sammons who ensured that I was fully briefed with all I needed to know. Very happy indeed.

Malcolm R

The courteous and prompt follow-up of all actions was one of the best features. Sarah B-M handled all concerns and queries thrown her way with a professional approach and ensured satisfactory follow up through her regular correspondence. At all points through the process I knew exactly where we were and what was coming up next.

Nicola C

Sarah was very professional and listened and responded to our needs and expectations.

Phillippa L

Natalie was really fantastic, she ensured that I didn't waste time with roles that weren't for me or that I wasn't suited for. Natalie was understanding and supportive throughout, even when I was indecisive. I couldn't believe how quickly I had a new role and one that I am so chuffed with. Many thanks to the whole team but primarily Natalie.

Larissa A

I approached Sarah about a vacancy I'd seen in PMI News. From the first point of contact until after I'd started my new job I found Sarah totally professional and very approachable. She kept me informed and acted as a great conduit for my questions.  I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to any candidates looking for roles within the pensions industry.

Judith C

The service provided by Sammons to  me has always been efficient and timely.  I currently manage two temp administrators supplied by Sammons.  Both have precisely met our requirements.  One has vast experience and brings real added value to the role.  The second has worked in all three of our bases and is industrious and flexible.

Patrick M

I have been registered with Sammons twice over a number of years and on both occasions they have managed to secure me a good placement for long term employment with jobs suited to my particular skills. Both placements have been with good employers.

David J

Very good recruitment agency - they never let me down

Petr K

Staff are very friendly and very helpful in finding me a job and supported me with any questions along the way. Would recommend Sammons for others seeking employment. 

Ruth I

The Sammons recruitment agency is great! Lovely bunch of people doing their best to find the right job for you. I would definitely recommend this agency and would use them again (but I hope I won't have to ) as they found me the perfect job I have been searching for!

Lucy C

This is the first time that I have applied for a job via a recruitment agency, ordinarily all the positions I have applied for, interviewed for and offered position to have been direct applications to the relevant organisations. Sarah was very positive and gave good advice and was very motivational. I would definitely continue to use Sammons based on my positive experience and would recommend you to my colleagues current and past for any future recruitment requirements.

Deborah P

Jo has placed me in a number of positions over the years, including jobs at prominent companies such as The Daily Mail, National Grid and Swiss Reinsurance. I would only ever use Sammons when looking to further my career. I cannot recommend Jo highly enough!

Spencer V

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