I’ve previously written about the competency based interview.  With this approach interviewers have set questions that are asked to each candidate so they are looking for focused responses.

I’ve been interviewing this week, and most if the people I interviewed played to the interview rules; today I someone working to his own agenda. He came in and flopped down, in the wrong chair. The room had a desk set up with 2 chairs and 2 armchairs with a coffee table. Usually people wait to be advised where to sit. So he had to move and then he sprawled.  It was the last interview of the day and he was probably tired, but we should still look alert.

I did my standard introduction about the structure of the session: I’d be taking notes, confidentiality etc and also about how I’d be seeking specific examples. I check that everything is clear and then get started on the questions. As I asked a specific question I waited for a specific answer but I didn’t get it. I wanted to find out more about him working as an effective member of a team and what had contributed to this. What I got instead was his career history.

It took me a few minutes to realise just how much off tangent he was so I attempted to bring him back but he drifted off again. There are only so many times I can ask “so what specifically was good about the way you worked together.” This was how the interview continued. I learned about how to spell his daughters name and various other facts which didn’t relate to the competences so he was wasting his time.

The interview was a set length and I needed to keep to it.The interview wasn’t all bad but I thought it worth sharing this as it’s an actual example to make a point.


When you have a competency based interview prepare some examples that relate to the competence. For each of these make sure you can successfully describe the situation, task, activity and result (STAR) you can always expand of asked.Any interview stories that stick in your mind?  

Do share, Denise x

Published On: November 16th, 2007 / Categories: Interviews /

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