Psychologists often design competency-based interviews for employers, structuring the questions in a way that unearth a candidate’s behavioural, technical and analytical skills and tendencies. Typically, such interviews are situational: they ask candidates to reflect on past decisions and report the instances most representative of their character or ability.
Some employers supplement competency-based interviews with written tests to measure a candidate’s level of theoretical expertise, but these require special preparation apart from standard Q&A sessions. In regards to strictly the verbal component, adopt the STAR technique:
- Situation: Identify the context and/or conflict. Explain why your chosen example demonstrates the skill in question. (Hint! Find workplace examples likely to arise again in other settings. These need not be generic; they simply need to reassure employers that you can handle common occupational hiccups).
- Task: Describe the task appointed to you as well as the employer’s expectations. Defining the task is essential in justifying the action taken.
- Actions: How did you deal with the situation? Were there ethical considerations to be had (i.e. values or loyalties)? If so, how did you weigh them? What alternatives were available to you?
- Result: Based on the last three steps, would you consider the outcome positive or negative? In retrospect, would you change your performance? What did you learn from this experience?
In order to formulate complete coherent answers, you should investigate the popular questions in your field. Even parsing the job description can help you brainstorm relevant scenarios: match the required skills to entries on your CV, and then run the example through STAR.