What Is a Competency Interview and How Do You Prepare for It?

Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 by The InterviewerNo comments

Put simply, a competency interview is a standard interview. It’s what probably comes to mind when you think of the term “interview” and it’s a broad umbrella term for what happens during it. Interviews are used by hiring managers to assess your competency for a job—they want to figure out if you are the right person for it. It’s the job of recruitment agencies in London to ensure their candidates are prepared for competency interviews, especially as they are used so frequently for recruiting office support employees.

What is a competency interview?

At a competency interview, the interviewer is assessing whether your skills and competence match what they need from the person in the role. The whole interview is therefore centred on your work, experience, and potential scenarios. They are a good and broad first stage of the recruitment process and are becoming more common once again.

Interviewers are also probably trying to see if you’ll be a good fit for the organisation’s culture, but this is secondary to the competency aspect.

Key competencies

The competencies needed for different roles vary. You can begin to work out what these might be for a specific role by looking at the job description and speaking to your recruitment consultant.

However, there are some competencies which are common to office support jobs, including:

  • Organisation
  • Communication
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Decision-making
  • Problem-solving

Knowing that these are the usual competencies the interviewer is trying to assess allows you to ready examples so you can highlight your suitability in these areas. Think about situations in the past where you’ve used these competencies and others that you think may be assessed in the interview.

During the interview, these questions are often framed in certain ways, such as “Tell me about a time when…” or “Describe how you would…”.

How to prepare for a competency interview

General interview preparation will help you get ready for a competency interview. In addition, think about likely competencies for the specific job you’ve applied for and then work out past times you displayed skills in these areas. Decide how to give the context while highlighting the competency.

Moreover, think about potential scenarios within the job and how you would behave in these situations.

Don’t prepare long scripts, but rather make short bullet points that are easy to remember once you’re in the interview. Mock interviews are really helpful and the best recruitment agencies in London will help you by doing one to allow you to develop your interview skills.

During the interview

Stay calm during the interview, pause before answering a question to gather your thoughts, and consider your body language. Actively listen to what the interviewer is saying, so that you can respond effectively. Ask for clarification if you need it.

Let us help

Competency interviews are one of the most common interview types and they can be prepared for. As one of the best recruitment agencies in London, our consultants are skilled at helping you get ready for your next interview. Apply for jobs today.


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