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Competency based interviewing has been around for many years and is the theory that you give everyone you interview a fair chance without resulting to personal questions like “are you planning to take time off to have a baby in the next three years?”

Whole industries have grown up out of these types of questions and it is considered one of the best ways of recruiting to ensure a fair and consistent approach to the interviewees.

Do competency based interviews actually work, particularly in a small to medium sized business setting?

The answer is yes, provided the person being interviewed understands what the questions are in relation to, and secondly that the person being interviewed has not learnt their answers and hence not giving true responses.

I can remember many years ago going for a youth worker job in West Yorkshire and being asked questions that although may have suited someone who came from a local authority background with that level of experience did not allow me at all to get over my experience to have a fair chance of getting the job.

Whilst it may have been the case that I probably would have made a pretty useless youth worker, I came out of that interview feeling that I had been frustrated from being able to get over to the interviewers what I wanted to say and almost excluded from that position unfairly.

The approach we take to interviewing is to use a wide mix of different levels of questions to determine whether or not at the end of the day the person we are interviewing is someone we would want to work with on a daily basis and whether the person is going to be an asset or a hindrance to my company.

We take the same approach when we interview on behalf of companies who use one of our retained services. Do we think that the person in in front of us not only has the skills and capabilities but is also going to be a good fit for that particular firm and their approach?

Competency based questions do not really let you get to the bottom of this as somebody can be extremely competent and very efficient but just be somebody that you would not want to employ for a whole host of reasons including their potential to upset the balance of your team.

This is why we think that competency based questions should be used, but be used in conjunction with other interview techniques including covering the CV and getting the person to give you an outline and presentation of what it is they are looking for and how they can contribute to your firm’s success.

www.recruitmentbusstop.co.uk offers low cost recruitment services at a fixed fee.

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