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Criteria based interview
A criteria based interview is a structured interview designed around the key competencies of the job, or group of jobs, you are being considered against. The style may be unfamiliar, as it is not designed to explore your career history in detail. Rather, the purpose is to collect information about how you behave at work. All candidates being interviewed for a particular position are asked the same structured questions. This provides a fair basis for comparison.
How to structure your answers
Your interviewer will be looking for you to provide examples of your actual behaviour at work rather than hypothetical ideas about how you may do something. Do not worry if it takes you a short while to think of a suitable example, as you will be given this thinking time.
On most occasions you will be advised of the competencies being explored as you progress through the interview. This will help you to focus your answers to ensure the best use of your time. At all times try to answer the question asked and remember it is the quality rather than the quantity of your response that counts.
Before the interview you may find it useful to reflect on your career to date, focusing on key work experiences and any projects you have been involved in, as well as the way you typically approach your work. It will probably be useful to make a mental note of key achievements that you may want to refer to at some stage.
Note: Your interviewer will provide more details about the structure of your interview on the day itself. Even if they find the interview itself stretching, most people find they learn a lot about themselves from the process regardless of the outcome. This is particularly the case if they take advantage of any feedback offered. The best advice is to relax and be yourself. The process is not designed to trick you but to find out as much information as possible.
How to Respond to Competency Based Questions
Interview Response Strategy
Competency-based interviewing, also known as behavioural interviewing, requires you to draw on past experience and describe specific examples of incidents that demonstrate your competence in a particular area. The most effective way of answering these questions is to use the STAR technique:
Situation Briefly describe the background to the situation
Task Specifically describes your responsibility
Action Describe what you did
Result Describe the outcome of your actions.
We suggest you add in a final element to the STAR structure and that is: LEARNING OUTCOME. So, after RESULT, you would say, “if I were to do it again, I would do x/y differently…”, and the purpose of this final instalment to your story is to display self-awareness; that you are always learning and developing as your career progresses and continually bringing new wisdom to your next project whether internally or in a new organisation.
Here is an excellent answer to a competency-based question that is testing teamwork as a competence:
Q: Team work is very important in our organisation. What evidence do you have to prove that you are a good team player?
A: I have a number of examples I could share with you. In one instance, when I was working as a business analyst at ABC Company, the sales team was pulling together a bid for a large piece of work and the analyst that normally helps them out with their IT information was on leave. I offered to help them and worked late every night for two weeks to ensure they had all the information they needed. They took on my suggestions regarding technology. As it turned out we won the bid and I was promoted as a result.
NOTE: You may be required to provide between one and three real-life examples to validate one particular competence.
Be prepared with answers and supporting examples to standard HR questions such as:
Remember you are being interviewed because the interviewer wants to hire somebody not because he wants to trip you up or embarrass you. He will be searching out your strong and weak points, evaluating you on your qualifications, skills and intellectual qualities and he/she will probably probe deeply to determine your attitudes, aptitudes, stability, motivation and maturity. YOU WILL BE JUDGED ON THE QUALITY OF THE QUESTIONS YOU ASK!
Here are examples of probing questions you might ask:
Questions you should be able to answer before you go into an Interview
Spend some time practicing your answers to the questions below. If you can answer them, it is unlikely you will be faced with a question at your interview that you cannot respond to effectively.
An interviewer will want to know what motivates you, ways of discovering this are by asking:
THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEMONSTRATE YOUR SELF AWARENESS
They will want to get an idea of how organised you are:
Most jobs today require at least basic computer knowledge:
To succeed in business today, we all need to be Team Players:
Perhaps you will need to demonstrate some sales experience:
An interviewer will want to know about where you see yourself in the future:
Then there are the awkward questions:
Why should we choose you for this position?
Could you tell me a bit about yourself?
What did you think of your previous manager (shows attitude)
What three words would you use to describe yourself? OR
*Always aim to have one or two questions prepared as this is a great opportunity to show off that you have researched the company. Don’t ask specific questions about salary or the number of holidays during the 1st interview, save those that until you have been offered the job and then you can negotiate details.
Questions for you to ask! Unless you already know the answers or they’ve been spelled out as the very reason for the position being open. Just be smart about what you ask.
Note: Never talk money unless asked directly!
**Probably ask relevant Q’s based on your insight and knowledge of the local telecoms industry, MVNO landscape, etc. I think the questions you come up with yourself will be better.**
At the end: In your parting comments be sure to thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet you. Reaffirm your interest in the job and company. You will stand out from the other candidates interviewing for the same role, if you end strongly by telling them you want the job and would be delighted to progress to the next round.
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