Interview Types and Techniques

Interview Types

In recent years there has been a major increase in the use of Behavioural or Competency Based Interviews.

What are Competency/ Behavioural Based Interviews?

These interviews are made up of a number of targeted questions that require interviewees to describe specific tasks or situations. Competency/ Behavioural Based Interviews work on the belief that the best indication of future behaviour is past behaviour. Typically an interviewee will be assessed against a number of different competencies – normally between 4-6 competencies. These competencies may be outlined in the job description/ specification or the hiring manager/ HR may provide you with the competencies in advance.

Usually the interviewer will have a number of pre-planned questions to ask you. For each of these questions they will ask for real-life evidence where you have demonstrated the behaviour or skills. They will know what the desired behaviours are and will look for positive and negative indicators.

An example of a competency would be “presenting and communicating”. A typical question could be Tell me about a time when you had to present ideas to a group of people? Talk me through your approach? How did you feel during the situation? What was the outcome?
How can I prepare for this type of interview?

The most popular technique to support preparation for competency/ behavioural based interviews is the STAR technique.

(S) – Situation. This is the introduction or opening information. Interviewees will describe the event, situation or challenge. It is important to bring the event to life and to give as much context as possible as to which role and position you are referring to so the interviewer can relate this back to your cv.

(T) – Task. What did you have to achieve? The interviewer will be looking to see what you were trying to achieve from the situation.

(A) – Action. This is what you did or the details of the story. It is where you provide details about actions you took, why you took these specific actions and how you behaved during the situation. It is important to avoid sweeping statements and to provide plenty of detail. The most common mistake at this stage is to use the word “We” instead of the word “I” when describing actions. Doing this will dilute your contribution. Also try to use strong “action verbs” in your answer.

(R) – Results. The final part of the technique where you outline the results or outcomes of the situation, results achieved for the department/ business/ organization, recognition for your performance. Explain where you added value (e.g. did you save money for the business/ time for the department?). Try to quantify.

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