3 things you should know about competency-based interviews

1 Evidence gathering
Past behaviour is the best predictor of future performance – that’s the concept behind competency-based interviewing. Questions are designed to seek examples of where you have previously applied specific skills or knowledge. Interviewers want evidence of your competencies; they need to be able to imagine you doing the job. Think about why you carried out certain tasks in certain ways and what you learned, including how you might do things differently in the future. 

2 Competencies
Competencies are a mixture of the ability to complete specific work tasks (eg ‘post transactions to the sales ledger’), and behaviours. They combine technical accounting skills with attitudinal factors, such as using initiative or making an effort to share knowledge. Competencies are what contribute to effective job performance – and they’re increasingly used not just for recruitment but as an integral part of performance appraisals and salary reviews. 

3 Matching up
Analyse the competencies needed in job and person specifications. Don’t think about whether you have carried out a specific duty but how you have used the competencies required for that duty in previous roles. In times of skill shortages, employers know they are unlikely to find a carbon copy of the previous post-holder – competency-based interviewing allows them to make a close match by identifying who has the best potential to slip smoothly into the role and hit the ground running.