The Process for a Competency-Based Interview

Conducting interviews is commonly regarded as a daunting task, yet one that requires immaculate planning and preparation. Exploring this subject further however, it seems that many employers actually  struggle to hire candidates that suit their needs. As a matter of fact, in a recent CareerBuilder survey, it was discovered that 74% of employers have come to the realisation that they have hired the wrong person for a position. Not only does this result in a loss of time for both employers and candidates, but it also results in a loss in money for the company and the remaining need to fulfil the position. In order to avoid this, Select Training and Management Consultancy L.L.C. explores the competency-based interviewing process, providing beginning-to-end considerations for employers.

Prior to the Interview

The competency-based interviewing process begins long before speaking to a candidate. Primarily, it is crucial that the company’s hiring needs (job profile/job description competencies and their level) are established, creating a clear picture of the ideal candidate.

This profile will be used throughout the entire interviewing process, and will support the business in the initial screening processes. In order to create the ‘ideal’ candidate profile, Select suggests combining the job description with ideal characteristics, beyond mere job-related requirements.

When screening candidates, having the requirements at hand enables a smoother and more effective identification of suitable candidates.  Studying CVs, cover letters, work samples, experience etc., allows for more conversation and further questioning in person. This research, along with a specific list of questions, based on identifying their competency levels, should be prepared beforehand, ensuring the ability to assess candidates competently is maximised.

During the Interview

During the interview, it is recommended that each candidate is assessed with the same level of thoroughness to ensure fair and unbiased ratings. The prepared questions should be executed in a conversational manner, to put candidates ‘at ease’ and encourage them to discuss themselves further and ask questions as well. A good interviewer will have the conversational skills to create an appropriate atmosphere, can assess what is spoken, and can observe verbal and nonverbal cues through body language.

While assessing, to facilitate a better hiring process later, notes should be taken of each candidate’s responses and behaviour. The interviewer may also prepare a scorecard to assess each candidate with fairness and the same criteria. During the questioning, the interviewer must remember that although they are assessing the candidate, their skills will also give the applicant an impression of the company. Thus, their competency-based interviewing skills play a pivotal role in the overall success of the hiring process. Furthermore, the interview is an opportunity for a candidate to know the culture and professionalism of a company, meet the company’s hiring needs and also convince them to become a part of their company.

After the Interview

The hiring process provides many candidates with a preview of the company in its entirety. While the atmosphere and conversation during the interview provide this, a candidate’s interaction with the interviewer afterwards concludes the impression. Although not every candidate will fulfil the desired role in the company, it is crucial to provide appropriate and timely closure to each who has taken the time to attend an interview. An effective interviewer can send an apologetic letter to unsuccessful candidates as well as a congratulatory letter to hired candidates with steps on how they will proceed in unison.


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