· 5 min read

Competency Based Interview

What Is a Competency-Based Interview?

A competency-based interview is a method of evaluating potential employees that focuses on their past experiences, skills, and abilities. Competency based interviews offer opportunities to candidates to demonstrate their awareness and understanding of the needs for a given role through situational or behavioral based questions.

What is a competency-based interview?

A competency based interview is a systematic approach to interviewing that focuses on determining if the candidate has the required skills for a particular role. Competency based interviews often require systematic structure and planning prior to engaging with candidates and are often considered synonymous with structured interviews.

By framing interviews around specific skills or competencies required for a role, it forces hiring teams to select candidates most qualified for a position.

What are the benefits of a competency-based interview?

A competency-based interview can help you as an interviewer in a number of ways.

First, it allows you to better compare candidates against one another. Second, it forces hiring teams to select candidates who are most qualified for a position based on their demonstrated skills and abilities, rather than relying on subjective factors such as personality or appearance. It gives applicants equal footing when going into interviews.

And third, competency-based interviews give candidates an opportunity to demonstrate their awareness and understanding of the needs for a given role through situational or behavioral based questions. These require candidates to describe past experiences related to the necessary attributes for the role.

Who should use a competency-based interview process?

Who should use a competency-based interview process?

If your company is looking to hire people with specific skills and experience, then a competency-based interview process may be for you.

Companies benefit from this type of hiring method because it helps them understand how well each candidate will fit into their work environment and adapt to the position.

Competency-based interviews can also be used by organizations that want more diversity in their applicant pool but are having trouble finding qualified candidates who aren’t like everyone else.

Structured interviews allow recruiters to assess candidates from different backgrounds without making assumptions about their abilities based solely on demographic information alone (e .g., race/ethnicity).

How Do You Prepare for a Competency-Based Interview

Let’s dive into the overall series of steps that go into preparing and implementing a competency-based or structured interview:

  1. **Nail down the competencies for each role **- Think about the 6-7 technical and behavioral competencies needed to excel in this position. Add these competencies to the job description and have them ready as you’re brainstorming questions. This will ensure that you’ll gather the data you need in each interview to make a sound decision in the end.

  2. **Write the questions **- As you might imagine, determining which questions interviewers will ask is the most important part of structured interview development. You want to ask open-ended questions that give candidates an opportunity to provide context and showcase how they think. Their responses should help you suss whether they would score highly for each competency needed for the role as well as organizational competencies.

  3. Create your rating system - Rating candidates on the same scale is another way structured interviews equal the playing field. Your rating system could be as simple as a 1 - 5 scale, totaling up the points for a final score. The less complex, the better, as the rating should be a quick way to see which candidates are performing the best after each interview. Whatever your system is, keep it consistent for every question and make sure interviewers complete their ratings immediately post-interview.

    Otherwise, you risk interviewers not remembering what candidates talked about when it comes time to discuss who should move on to the next round. You can also use your rating system to set thresholds candidates must hit to progress to each stage of the interview process.

  4. Train your interviewers - Most of your employees have never been trained how to properly conduct a structured interview. Provide the questions ahead of time, explain what competencies each question relates to, and reiterate that questions need to be asked in the same order for every candidate. Use this time to talk about the benefits of doing structured interviews as well to get everyone on the same page and excited to be a part of the process.

    Keep in mind that it can be awkward for interviewers to go back and forth between different screens or pieces of paper when doing an interview, so consider using a tool like Chatkick. Within the Chatkick platform, you can configure questions ahead of time and rate candidates’ answers as soon as they are given. With interview recordings you now have a simple way to coach and improve your entire team’s ability to run interviews.

  5. Gather feedback - Your questions and rating system won’t be perfect right away. You’ll probably need to make some adjustments based on the feedback you get from your team and candidates. Knowing this from the beginning gives you an opportunity to find ways to collect constructive criticism, whether it’s a candidate satisfaction survey, a monthly or quarterly meeting with hiring managers, or both. Then, of course, make sure you have a plan to follow up on those suggestions and iterate on your process.

Using a Competency-Based Interview Model

A competency-based interview is a great way to evaluate candidates and determine if they have the skills to do the job. It allows you to focus on what they’re capable of doing rather than just asking questions about their past experience or education.

This type of interview can take some time to prepare, but it’s worth it in the long run since it will save you time when looking for new employees.