Using the stars to answer competency based questions

We have a couple of friends up from London for the weekend running the Sheffield Half-Marathon and whilst “carbo-loading” last night at the Portland House on Ecclesall Road we got talking about Competency Based Interviewing … as you do.


Both are young professionals working within the Civil Service; one a Project Manager, and the other working in a very niche market in Finance.  They are doing well and have just purchased their new house together in London Town, which these days is a major accomplishment. 


My friend the Project Manager has just moved companies and as she had been with her previous company for a long time wasn’t equipped for what was coming – Competency Based Interview!


Over the years, I have prepared countless candidates in preparing for competency-based questioning, which today is all the norm.  Personally, I find it a bit lazy, but companies have invested huge sums of money in developing these questions and so it is imperative to be prepared.


The frustration I find is that the interviewer is often looking for something different to what they are asking, ticking boxes and looking for ‘buzz words’ used, rather than listening to what is being said.


For those who haven’t experienced this, examples are:

·        Give an example of a time where you made a difficult decision

·        What is the biggest risk that you’ve taken? How did you handle the process?

·        Give me an example of how you’ve demonstrated an understanding of customer needs


If you haven’t interviewed for a number of years, these types of questions can be scary


In a nut-shell you are expected to use the STAR Model – where you set the scene, explain how you handled the situation, and describing the outcome/result


If you have read down this far, or skim reading, I found an article, which I found interesting on this topic:


So how to do you prepare?

Luckily, I have spent years following this topic and am happy to share what I have learnt with anyone considering a career move.  Get in touch to learn more


I am also curious as to what everyone’s viewpoints are and their experiences; both candidates and hiring managers.


Good luck to everyone running the Sheffield Half Marathon tomorrow!

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