Conduct the Interviews
- Let the candidate know
up front that you will be doing something "a bit different" toward
the end of the interview. For example,
For the last part
of the interview, we'll be doing a type of interviewing called competency
interviewing. We'll be asking you to tell us some stories about
work-related experiences in order to understand better how you approach
- Conduct the interview
as you normally would, including
- describing the job
and organization for the candidate;
- asking open-ended questions
about interests, abilities, preferences and goals;
- asking about work history,
technical competencies and other qualifications.
- Introduce the competency
part of the interview. Here is some wording you could use:
We want to take the
rest of the interview to do something called competency interviewing.
We will ask you to tell us a couple of stories about work-related
events or situations. We want to get some concrete examples of experiences
so we can better understand how you approach your work and some
of the skills and abilities you bring to it.
As you tell your
stories, we will probably ask several questions to get at some of
the details of the situations. We aren't probing for more information
because you're giving the wrong answer. We are probing because we
want to understand the situation fullyincluding what you did,
said, thought and felt.
Try to stick to telling
about your role in specific past events. We'll help you out.
I may take some notes
to help me remember what you say.
- For each competency you
are probing for (in order of priority), ask a starting question from
the CompQuick Interview Form to elicit a story about a past work-related
event (e.g. "Tell me about a time when you tried to get someone to
change his or her mind.")
- Ask for an overview
of the event so you can get a sense of what to follow up on. Get
the background before you get into the details. What was the context
of this event? How did you become involved? What was the end point?
How did it turn out? The event may be a single meeting, a project
spanning several months, or anything in between.
- Ask for events within
the past two years, if possible, in which the candidate played an
active part. More recent is better, so the candidate can remember
details. Give the candidate time to think of an event or situation
that addresses your question.
- Be patient and supportive.
Most people are not used to this style of interviewing and it can
- After focusing in on
each event or part of an event, follow up with probing questions to
get more information about the candidates behavior in that event.
See Competency Interviewing Tips
for more details.
- Take brief notes. If
more than one person is conducting the interview, it can be helpful
to have one person do the probing and another person do the note-taking.
- Keep the focus on relevant
stories. If the candidate starts into a story that clearly will
not provide evidence of the competency you are interested in, remind
him or her of the starting question, and restart with the same question
(or an alternative starting question, if there is one). For example:
Remember that we
are interested in a time that you needed to convince someone to
change his or her mind. In the situation you started to tell about,
it sounds like you werent directly involved in the convincing.
Is that right? Can you tell me about another time you did that?
- Budget your time. Move
to the next story if you are running out of time, or if you are
not getting useful information from the story the candidate has
- At the end of the interview,
give the candidate a chance to ask any questions or add anything else
relevant about his or her experience or qualifications.