Introducing Competency-Based Interviews at Your Business

It might sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many firms underestimate the importance of competency-based interviews. Ongoing research shows that competency-based hiring procedures not only improve the initial quality of hires, but also increase employee retention levels and grants access to wider, more diverse field of potential candidates. Surveys show employers note up to 20% declines in turnover after introducing competency-based hiring. However, in order to have a competency-based hire… you need to conduct competency-based interviews. Keep reading to learn just how to implement them at your business!  

The Basics of Competency-Based Interviews

The competency-based strategy boils down to this: the hiring managers or interviewer will asks each candidate specific questions relevant to the job in order to more illuminate past behavior and thought processes. Knowing how an employee acted in the past, why they responded the way they did, and what they learned as a result can help to predict the candidate’s future behavior. For this reason, competency-based interviews are also known as behavioral interviews. Competency-based interviews seek to uncover the candidate’s key skills and competencies, such as:

  • Ability to solve problems
  • Work ethic
  • Creativity and adaptability
  • Leadership qualities
  • Ability to make decisions, the speed at which they are able to make those decisions, and the end result
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Honesty and Integrity

Before you’re able to determine which questions to ask in a competency-based interview, you must first conduct a thorough job analysis on the open position.  

Example Questions from Competency-Based Interviews

Hiring managers should tailor their questions to the roles in question and common problematic issues/tasks presented to that role. However, here are some great examples of the types of questions asked at competency-based interviews:

  • Intellectual. What are critical lessons that you’ve learned during your career? How did you handle a problem situation that arose in the past?
  • Interpersonal. When you and another team member disagreed on certain aspects of a task, how did you resolve the issue, and what role did you play in the resolution?
  • Leadership. Provide examples of instances where employees followed your guidance and leadership and when they did not. When they didn’t follow your lead, how did you respond?
  • Motivational. What do you enjoy the most about your current job, and why are you leaving it interested in this job? Describe a time at your old job in which you performed at your highest level – and how it made you feel.
  • Personal. Explain a time when you had to change course during a project do to personal reasons. How did you adapt? What was the last major obstacle you encountered at work, and how did you handle it?

How to Structure Competency-Based Interviews

Competency-based interviews should always be structured in order to more effectively and directly evaluate each candidate. In the process of creating your interview structure, focus on:

  • Developing a fixed, repeatable process in which each applicant is asked the same initial questions.
  • Train interviewers to rate the candidate via a grading system, to ensure fair, consistent, objective scoring for each of the candidates.
  • Be an active listener
  • Don’t rush: give the candidate a reasonable amount of time to think about your question and respond thoughtfully.
  • Take notes!
  • Review and discuss with the interviewing team and hiring managers the candidate’s interview performance. Depending on the evaluation, you may need to ask the candidate additional questions.

Reform Your Hiring Process For Great Results!

Competency-based interviews offer an opportunity for you to make informed, objective and consistent hiring decisions based on the candidates’ abilities. If you’d like to learn more, or are looking for an outsourced HR team, we can help. Get in touch with Capital Payroll Partners today!

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