Every job seeker gets nervous about competence based interviews – though in different ways.
Things get worse when you face a few unfriendly interviewers who wear faces meant for soldiers on the battlefield; and dish out questions like you wrecked havoc at their homes last Halloween.
Image: Competence based interviewing.
At those times we pray and wish they’d treated us like buddies so the pounding heartbeats, blank memories and sweaty palms could disappear for confidence to set in.
Rightly said, “if wishes were horses..” but preparedness should be a key word for anyone looking for a job.
Do not buy the idea that interviewers are evil.
A company wouldn’t want to hire an employee who will need an hour to think about answers that need a minute to sort out. Time is money.
Almost all employers were once employees so they quite understood how much it breaks one’s nerves, having to face a panel of interviewers whose joy, arguably, come from dishing out questions that jolt one’s memories like a whirlwind.
Every recruiter knows that a job seeker’s ability isn’t necessarily a value of his or her performance at interviews.
The competence based questions are not so different from normal interview questions but are aimed at pushing you to the edge with your ability to think fast, organize and present your answers efficiently. All these can be done with ease and confidence if you take your time learn what you’ve long ignored.
Every job seeker should understand, perfect and carefully use the STAR technique (Situation; Task; Action; and Result) during competency based interviews. Let’s consider a few examples:
“WE” are heading for failure, but “I” can save you – It’s sad that many job seekers forget the difference between “WE” and “I” during interviews.
This lack of understanding about the importance of the words can mess up our chances of grabbing a begging job opportunity. Using the word “We” when talking about one’s contributions / behavior / action, shows lack of confidence or no credibility at all.
Address this mistake by carefully outlining your personal contributions to organizational goals.
Don’t forget your strongest points on competency should come first – It may be okay to blame this mistake on nervousness but it not right. After all, what use will it be looking for blames to justify failure instead of taking precaution that leads to success?
Many job seekers tends to randomly select answers to this question but it’s wrong, don’t cut corners. You’re advised not to give any answer that springs to mind simply because you have to answer immediately.
Carefully prepare in advance before the interview by identifying quality examples of your competence. Importantly, be prepared to give backup for every point you’re going to make.
Do not leave your answers to chance because it gets very tough trying to remember with accuracy when time is limited.
Image: Sample competency based interview questions.
Bracing for impact:
Prepare for war – When going to competency based interviews, every job seeker is advised not to expect friendly smiles. Recruiters don’t give free hugs either. It is all about performance and nothing else.
It’ll be good for you to radiate confidence wearing a friendly smile but don’t forget, expect nothing in return. Competency based interviews are mostly cold and clinical, no smiles, no friendly chat, and a rigid structure.
You need to understand that the interview panel have a strict process or format to follow. Therefore, the earlier you realize there’s no free lunch even in Freetown, the better for you.
Change the way you see interruptions – There are a lot of recruiters out there with hearts of gold. It is therefore, wrong for job seekers to see interruptions during interviews as a negative sign on the employer. It is not always so.
A kind interviewer may interrupt your presentation because he / she wants you to realize your mistakes and correct it. The employer may be indirectly reminding you points you haven’t used, words you are using wrongly or just trying to help your relax.
The advice is, be positive and smart enough to read signs.
Be observant – You are expected to pay attention to details of every point made by the employers in the course of the interview, if any. Of course, you’re not going to write them down. Be observant.
An interviewer might ask at the end, “What did you learn?”
Challenge your memories in any possible way on daily basis.
Did you check the job listing? – Before you face the interviewers, it is right to check the job listing in order to know what abilities or skills are required. This will enable your preparations on answers for: which problems you faced, how it was tackled, and what results you achieved.
Do not put blames on anyone for any reasons – For example, if you are describing a particular problem or difficult situation when asked about a time you had to work with a difficult boss, it may feel natural to attack or place blame on another person. Don’t be tempted.
These questions are about you AND YOU ALONE. It’s not about anyone else.
Try to focus on what you did to manage the situation. Do not talk about other people’s issues or failures.
*A sample of competency based interview questions coming soon.