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Competency-based interview: why using it is so important

Incorporating high-potential profiles allows a competency-based interview to attract candidates with several critical qualities in your company. Having candidates who...
15 November 2022

Incorporating high-potential profiles allows a competency-based interview to attract candidates with several critical qualities in your company. Having candidates who meet the competencies you need to develop your strategy makes your organization more competitive. 

Today, in the face of highly fluctuating markets where uncertainty reigns, people who demonstrate flexibility and adapt to sudden and unexpected changes are the ones who genuinely add value to projects. 

Investing in human capital is as important as knowing how to recruit the people you need to help you achieve it, so we are going to talk about competency-based interviewing and, more specifically, about what it is, why using it is so essential, and the advantages and disadvantages it entails. 

What is a competency-based interview? 

A competency-based interview is a personnel selection tool focused on analyzing a candidate’s behavior and is presumed necessary to guarantee the correct performance of a job position. 

To put it into practice, experts recommend following a series of steps: 

  1. Create a dictionary of competencies related to your organization’s strategic positions. Think that the list of specific competencies is different in each company, but some common ones are decisive, such as adaptability, leadership, creativity, etc. 
  2. Prepare a corpus of questions for each competency that will serve as a script and as a basis for structuring your interview. 
  3. Analyze which competencies are required for the vacancy you need to fill and select the questions in the corpus based on them. 

The result of this work should be a guide for your competency-based interviews that all interviewers should follow. 

This way, you are more likely to get your candidates’ information in sync with your company’s HR strategy. HR strategy of your company, thus professionalizing the recruitment process

Before going any further, just a reminder that job competency is the knowledge, skills, abilities, abilities, and attitudes that a person possesses to perform a given task successfully.

Competency based interview

Are competency-based interviews effective? 

The objective of a competency interview is to find the best candidate for a given position by considering their potential, accessed through the argumentation of their past behavior. 

This dynamic is based on the premise that past behavior helps predict candidates’ future behavior. 

Competency-based interview questions are behavioral or situational, so this method is also effective in follow-up interviews to unblock obstacles. 

The most commonly used questions start with “Give me an example of…”, “Remember a time when…” or any other introduction to provoke the candidate to contextualize the answer and provide truthful information about their experiences.

Depending on the type of profiles you are looking for, you can focus the recruitment interview on each candidate’s performance, critical incidents, or strengths or combine all these elements. 

Remember that a competency-based interview should last around 30 minutes, and it is advisable not to exceed 30 minutes so as not to tire the candidate and to be able to extract truthful and valuable information from them. 

Why use a competency-based interview? Advantages and disadvantages

The competency interview is a team effort since it requires a structure involving different areas of an organization’s knowledge.

This type of interview offers many benefits but also disadvantages that you should be aware of. 

Competency-based interview: why using it is so important

Competency based questions: advantages

The competency-based selection of candidates after having carried out a previous study in the company increases the success rate of the recruitment process, which becomes much more efficient

You can also benefit from the following:

  • Greater tuning of the selected candidates with the corporate strategy
  • Easier to detect profiles with leadership skills.
  • Greater possibility of intuiting future behaviors in unforeseen situations. 
  • It favors the location of new talent

As an added value of these interviews, greater productivity stands out. Firstly, because you have precisely defined your needs and, secondly, because it is more common for the profiles integrated into the company to correspond to those needs in the short and long term.  

Competency-based questions: disadvantages

The main disadvantage of this type of interview is that it requires prior preparation and organization in the approach. On the other hand, in some contexts, extracting the necessary answers from the candidate can be complicated. 

To solve this drawback, you can resort to rephrasing the question(s) following the so-called STAR technique that responds to: 

  • The situation, i.e., description of the context.
  • Objective-focused tasks.
  • Action or concrete actions that allowed the candidate to achieve the goals.
  • Results achieved and assessable through argumentation or specific verifiable achievements. 

However, rather than a drawback, as anticipated from the beginning, it is possible to professionalize the interviews within an HR strategy in line with the company’s objectives. 

Competency-based interviews can also be adapted to an online environment as long as it is secure and protects the rights of the interviewees. In this respect, proctoring can help. 

Specifically, SMOWL products meet different security parameters of our clients and are designed with state-of-the-art technology to meet different needs. If you want to learn more about them, ask for a free demo where we will show you everything we can do for your projects. 

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