Interview Coaching

How to Demonstrate your Competencies in an Interview

Lesson 2

At H-Training, it is our job to help you identify specific examples of situations in which you performed according to what is required by your potential employer. 

We often have people comment during interview board training that the process of interviewing is unfair. Their argument generally seems to be that if someone is doing a job for a long period of time and has established a reputation, then an interview does not give them adequate time to demonstrate this. The sense is that because they now have to perform, having already put in the years of work it somehow cheapens their efforts.It would be wrong to deny this outright as there is some validity to these arguments. And furthermore, interviews are artificial and constructed environments. However, the criteria for the interview is very clear. The competencies essentially tell you what you need to do and how to prepare.

This is ultimately the game. We can spend all day debating it. But in order to succeed you must accept it, and work on your skills accordingly. At H-Training, we are here to help and bring out your edge in each of the respective competencies and furthermore align them to the central message about who you are and what you can bring to the role.

Remember in every interview the interviewer is looking, not only at your experience, but also your capacity under a particular competency. Not having experience in a particulate competency is no excuse for not having an answer prepared for such a question. We can do this by tailoring the experience you do have to the competency in question. Being prepared and having something to say highlights your potential!  

So let’s begin 

Remain positive and provide specific work-related examples. 

Try and have 1 example that demonstrates each of your strengths in a story format and - problem / solution style or frame what you say using the STAR or CAR techniques.

Remember: Tailor Your Answer to the Job

Try to provide examples that are closely related to the job or the culture you are applying for. Think about your past work, internship, voluntary or life experiences that required skills similar to those needed for this job. In general the principles of team work do tend to be universal to all industries, however they may be required in a different context depending on the organisation. We want to highlight your ability to come up with solutions within the team.

Consider also the company and position-level of the job. Large corporate companies may value different teamworking traits than small businesses or start-ups. If you are applying for a management-level position, try to use examples that display your leadership skills ​in a more complex setting. If you are applying for a support position, share how you've helped resolve conflicts or kept team members on deadline. For example, 'I recognised that this particular call belonged to my manager but I wanted to make sure that he was fully abreast of the situation before making it.'

In establishing this process organisations can sometimes be more specific about what they require from candidates by defining the competencies ​with a brief description for each one. The Irish Civil Service has a thoroughly compiled competency based framework for all levels of employment.

​By developing specific examples you can demonstrate ​your abilities a lot better in an interview. Firstly, you demonstrate your ability under a given competency not by just stating that you are ‘good’ at it (as this demonstrates little) but by giving specific examples of situations in which you performed according to what is required by the competency. This is key to the process and we cannot repeat it enough.

​Also, we are asked a lot about smooth talkers and charmers getting selected against other candidates who may be more genuine. The basic fact is, ​as we have already highlighted, an interview is a performance and it is about how well you do on the day. However, rest assured that a ​well trained interview panel will have ways and means of ​weeding out bluffers that continue to increase in sophistication. But it is important to remain focused on yourself as that is all we can really control.

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