Do you know how to excel in a competency-based interview?
Is there anything more daunting than a job interview? After all, there’s so much to consider. If it’s a video interview, you have to think about your connectivity, lighting and background. If it’s in person you’ll have to figure out how to get there, what to wear… That’s all before you even consider the kind of questions you’re going to be asked.
There are lots of different questions that can be thrown at you during the hiring process. It really all depends on the style of the interview.
Recruiters tend to use a range of different interview types. These can include case interviews, stress interviews, and group interviews. However, the most common type that is used in hiring in the UK is competency-based interviews.
In a competency-based interview, you will be asked questions based on specific skills. You might also be asked about your previous experience and how you approach problems, tasks, and challenges. Your answers should include examples from your current or previous roles to back up what you’re saying, and showcase your ability to do this job.
For example, “Tell me about a time when your communication skills improved a situation”, or “Give me an example of a challenge you faced in the workplace and tell me how you overcame it”, would be common in a competency-based interview.
These types of questions provide the interviewer with practical information about you, plus they also give you a chance to show off a little bit too, if you know how to handle them.
The best way to approach these questions is to use a tried and tested method called the STAR Approach, or situation, task, action, and result.
First, think of a situation or task. For example, “I was tasked with writing an in-depth report on our company’s cybersecurity policies and procedures, paying specific attention to what improvements we could make.”
Next, move on to the action. Explain what you did and how you did it, “I used data analysis to find out how many attacks occurred. I also researched best practices”.
Finally, the result. Describe the outcome of your actions, “Using the report, we were then able to implement new policies that reduced our cybersecurity attacks by 5%”.
While you can’t predict which competency interview questions will come up, what you can do is sit down and write out a list of all the key skills listed in the job spec, and think of a time when you’ve demonstrated each one.
Having a core list of eight to 10 situations or projects that you’re comfortable talking about in detail will make you more confident––and likely help you to ace your interview.
Looking for an opportunity to show what you’ve learned? The three great roles below are currently hiring, with plenty more to discover on the City A.M. Job Board.
Lead Data Scientist, ITV, London/Manchester/Leeds
ITV is well on its way to becoming a digital-first business. The Lead Data Scientist will
come on board on a six-month contract and act as the technical lead across multiple business areas for machine learning projects. You will also be responsible for ensuring that solutions designed by direct reports are sound and follow best practices. You’ll need at least six years’ of experience designing and developing ML solutions, with both classic and deep learning approaches, ability to write production-grade Python code, and experience with Spark (Scala or Python) for ETLs and model development. Read more about this job here.
Software Engineer, Citymapper, London
If you live in London, you’ve probably used the Citymapper app at least once to discover transport options, including walking, cycling, and driving, in addition to public transport. The company is hiring a Software Engineer to build robust, reliable software for wrangling and debugging transport data. You will also collaborate with the product, apps, and routing teams to improve how transport data is represented, while building tools that manage local incidents and communicate with users about transport issues. Find out more here.
Application Security Engineer, Zilch, London
Zilch is a buy-now, pay-later app that allows its customers to shop wherever Mastercard is accepted. To continue its growth, the team needs a talented Application Security Engineer. If you’re a cyber-security enthusiast who obsesses about quality, vulnerabilities, and trust then you could be the right fit. You’ll need to have at least three years’ of experience in application security, and at least two years’ developing or securing Java Spring Boot applications. Apply for the job now.
Looking for your next role? Find it on the City A.M. Job Board today.