BPS Interview

WHAT IS COMPETENCY-BASED INTERVIEW TECHNIQUE (CBIT)

The Framework that reflects behaviour patterns which distinguish highly effective performance candidate in a given role. By design interview questions based competencies area or behaviour in a given role (such as Working with Others, Delivering Results and Focusing on the Future). Each competency will provide interviewers of what level of the candidate is capable.

USING COMPETENCIES IN THE SELECTION PROCESS

The key documents you need are the Job Description for the role and the Person Specification. These should already be available to interviewers before assessing a candidate.

Developing a Job Description

This involves gathering information about the nature of the job, thinking not only about the content (i.e. tasks) making up the job, but also the job’s purpose, and how the post fits into the organisation’s structure. It is also important to consider the skills and competencies needed to perform the role effectively.

Job Description

Identifies the purpose, main responsibilities and tasks of the job

Person Specification

The person specification flows from the job description and answers the question “What skills and qualities would someone need to carry out this role?”. The person specification identifies the qualifications, skills, experience and competencies needed for effective performance. Using competencies clarifies the personal qualities and workplace behaviours expected of the post holder.

Please note that not all competencies are important in a role. Some core competencies would normally be identified as being sufficient.

It is good practice to identify the key criteria needed to carry out the role successfully and identify the KEY or Critical areas of to select candidates based on each criterion set.

WHY USE COMPETENCIES-BASED TECHNIQUE FOR RECRUITMENT & SELECTION?

By using competencies interview technique, the interviewers can improve accuracy in assessing their candidates’ suitability or potential for different jobs.This technique also can help prevent interviewers and selectors from making hasty decisions or from assessing candidate on the basis of characteristics that are not relevant to the job (or using emotions which are biassed during interviews)

The technique can be used to help structure the selection process - interview questions and the expected outcome. By assessing a candidate against specific competencies can help to clarify their strengths and weaknesses, making it easier to target any development that may be needed should they be appointed for the given role.

WHY USE COMPETENCIES-BASED TECHNIQUE FOR RECRUITMENT & SELECTION?

By using competencies interview technique, the interviewers can improve accuracy in assessing their candidates’ suitability or potential for different jobs.This technique also can help prevent interviewers and selectors from making hasty decisions or from assessing candidate on the basis of characteristics that are not relevant to the job (or using emotions which are biassed during interviews)

The technique can be used to help structure the selection process - interview questions and the expected outcome. By assessing a candidate against specific competencies can help to clarify their strengths and weaknesses, making it easier to target any development that may be needed should they be appointed for the given role.

ASSESSING CANDIDATES

As the panel asks their questions you should make your notes in the relevant area on the Interview Assessment Form. You are looking for evidence that the criteria have been met in the responses to the questions and the examples that candidates give. It is important that there is no discussion between interviewers at this stage of the process. Once all candidates have been interviewed and all interviewers have completed their interview assessment form they can share information and are ready to make a decision.

WHAT DIFFERENTIATES SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES?

Jobs have three components:

Knowledge

This is necessary to do the job and tends to be job-related. It includes professional knowledge, institutional knowledge (e.g. knowledge to be an accountant, academic, engineer, IT specialist etc.). This is what people need to know to do their jobs.

Skills

Skills are needed actions to perform your functional role and include technical skills, management skills i.e. to manage resources and people (e.g. project management, time management, planning processes, budget management and appraisal).

Competencies

These are the attitudes and behaviour patterns that underpin how people do their jobs. Competencies influence how well people apply their knowledge, technical and management skills. A Company competency framework reflects the culture and values we expect staff to demonstrate in their roles.

PSYCHOMETRIC TESTS & QUESTIONNAIRES

Psychometric tests and exercises may be useful in recruiting to some roles. It should be noted that psychometric instruments are expensive and time-consuming and are rarely used apart from recruiting to very senior roles. If psychometric tests, questionnaires or exercises are used as part of the selection process they must be related to the job and provide information that is relevant.

COMPETENCY BASED INTERVIEWS QUESTIONNAIRES

Part of the interview will be general information gathering and a discussion of experience, for example: 

“Tell me about the responsibilities you have in your current role”

“Tell me about your experience of planning conferences”

Competency-based interviews (also called structured or behavioural interviews) are systematic, with each question targeting a specific skill or competency. Candidates are asked questions relating to their behaviour in specific circumstances, which they then need to back up with concrete examples. The interviewers will then dig further into the examples by asking for specific explanations about the candidate's behaviour or skills. They also give candidates plenty of opportunity to talk. Since the purpose of the interview is to obtain evidence from the candidate it follows that the candidates should do most of the talking. The candidate should be talking about 75% - 80% of the time. Typically, competency based questions will ask candidates for examples of how they have dealt with situations in the past. The rationale for asking for past examples is that past behaviour is a strong predictor of future behaviour in similar situations. Hypothetical questions (such as “What would you do if …”) should be avoided as they gather information that is a poor predictor of future behaviour. Very often a candidate’s answer to a question will give you some information but not enough to make an assessment of the competency you are assessing. What is needed are probing questions to follow up the initial question. The below shows how this can work:

Interviews should follow a clear structure, however, the questions should not be followed slavishly as this will interrupt the flow of the interview. It is good practice to explain to the candidate how the interview will be structured, and that you will be asking for specific examples of when they have demonstrated the competencies required for the role. Ask them to bear in mind that you’ll be interested in:

  • Examples from their work life
  • Recent examples preferably – the last 2-3 years
  • What they specifically did or said, not the team as a whole (it’s fine if they need time to think of an example.)

The questions and probes should be structured as follows:

  • Situation – What is the example?
  • Action-What did they do?
  • Result-What was the outcome?
  • Reflection-How did it go/what would they do differently?

ADVERT

The wording of an advert means the critical factor that will influence the type and quality of candidates who will respond. There should be enough information in the advert to enable people to screen themselves out if they are not suitable candidates. A competency-based advert for an Administrative Assistant would need to include skills and experience as well as competencies.

It might include the following: Key requirements of the job are:

  • Fast and accurate typing, 
  • Proficient in using Microsoft Office
  • Excellent administrative, organisational and delivery skills
  • Good communication and influencing skills
  • Ability to adaptability to new situations
  • Good team work

ASSESSMENT EXERCISE

Assessments can involve the use of a number of exercises and tests in order to build a more comprehensive picture of the candidates. Assessment centres have the highest predictive validity of all selection techniques. Typically an assessment centre will last a day – some may be longer, others (with online testing done in advance) may be shorter. Some of the exercises and tests can be brought together in a ‘mini assessment centre’, consisting of an exercise, a personality questionnaire, ability tests and interview. These are shorter and easier to run than a full-scale assessment centre. Exercises usually take about an hour. Some are group exercises; others are completed on an individual basis. The table below is an example of typical exercises and the competencies they can measure. Assessment Centres can be expensive and require significant planning. If the Assessment that are conducted without purpose or proper understandings on the objective could lead to bad impressions to Company and candidate could reject job offer.   

Talk to our consultants if you wish to consider using an assessment centre as part of your recruitment and selection process.

DECISION MAKING

At the end of the process, there will be several sources of information about each candidate.

Each candidate should be discussed in detail, assessing experience, skills and competencies and the performance in any tests or exercises. Each interviewer will have his/her evidence to bring to the discussion. It is to be expected that panel members will have differences of views about the candidates. Discussions and judgements should be based on discussing the evidence of facts gathered during the selection process.

 

EVALUATION

Once you have made the decision and given feedback to the candidates it is important to evaluate the whole process without delay. There are always areas where improvements can be made:

  • Start with the competencies – are they still relevant and did the behavioural indicators help you to gather relevant evidence?
  • The advert – was the placement right? Look at the number of responses and their quality
  • Did the shifting of application forms/CVs go well? If not, why not?
  • Did any psychometrics and tests / exercises provide the evidence you needed? Were they too easy or too difficult?
  • The interview – did the questions work as well as intended? Does candidate need more training? Are further questions needed?
  • Finally, what did candidates (both successful and unsuccessful) think about the process? Was it too time-consuming? Were they given the opportunity to show what they are capable of? What impression did they get off the Company? Would they apply again if another opportunity arose?
  • Equality & Diversity monitor the outcome of recruitment and selection processes for signs of adverse impact on sections of the population covered by equality and diversity legislation.

More........Is Coming