Job interviews can be tough in today's international marine and shipping job market, the nerve-wracking process that is the competency-based interview can be tougher still. Not only do you need to be ready to cite examples of your performance, you also need to be able to explain, expand upon and justify your answers to either and individual interviewer or possibly a team of people whom may end up your future employers.
WRS Tech takes the time to prepare all of our candidates for their interviews, often due to our relationships with our clients we will know the key personalities of the interviewers and their interview styles. If our client utilises Competency-based interview methodology we recommend the following preparations every time;
Preparation is key. Prior to the interview, identify with your consultant or by reviewing your CV examples of specific targets/ deadlines you’ve met or work you’ve done that relates to the job specification.
It is important to understand the skills and competencies required for the role you are interviewing for. You need to fully understand the nature of the role in order to give relevant answers or examples. The role specification and key skills highlighted in the job description are a good guide to the type of questions that will be asked at interview. It is also a good idea to review the key skills involved in your current role. It is some times a useful thought experiment to write a job description for your current role, highlighting the skills required.
2. Think through your answers
Your answers need to be delivered in an articulate, detailed and structured manner so that you can talk the interviewer through the process in which you worked through problems or hit key performance indicators (KPI’s). The STAR method (when you’re asked to cite a Situation, Task, Action and Result) is widely used because it provides a clear and balanced structure. WRS Tech recommends physically listing multiple examples on a notepad the evening before an interview utilising the STAR method for the explanation.
3. Pay attention to the interviewer
The reading of clues given by the interviewer as to what they are looking for is key in a competency-based interview. As you explain your examples, take note of whether the interviewer’s body language or behaviour is generating a positive response. The most successful candidates are the ones who can adapt both their answers and behaviours to what they know the interviewer is looking for and present them in ways that influence the interviewer. However it is vital that you remain honest, presenting yourself in the best light is the purpose of an interview, misrepresentation benefits no one.
4. Try to anticipate questions before they are asked
Having a good idea of what the interviewer will ask you is a key part of the preparation process. If you’ve thought through common competency-based questions beforehand, you’ll be more prepared to give a great answer. Common competency-based questions at an interview include:
• Describe a time that you had to change your approach to a problem
• Give an example of a complex project and your persistence to see the process through to the close
• Describe a situation in which you were able to use your skill set to successfully influence the outcome of the project
• Give me an example of a time your projects have exceeded their predicted outcome
5. Be yourself
Although part of a competency-based interview is selling yourself, you don’t want to come off as fake or insincere. Technical professionals can tell when someone is trying too hard to give the “correct” answers rather than the true answer. Give relevant, honest and structured answers that showcase your experience while letting your personality shine through. Employers don’t want a textbook answer; they want to see the way that you select and present information.
And don’t forget, you can always discuss the basics of what to do if you haven’t had much experience of job interviews with one of WRS Tech professional Recruitment consultants.