Zia Savel Ltd Executive Coach Facilitation Aberdeen Scotland Career Leader HR

Ready to Role – Interview Approaches

The focus of this blog will explore Conversational Interviews and Competency Based Interviews.

Conversational Interviews

The conversational interview, also known as flexible or conversationally flexible interview is more common now, this is due to organisations recognising your CV highlights your skills and experience for the role.  This will have already been checked in the CV review stage.

The purpose of the conversational interview is to gauge your cultural fit to the team and organisation.  To source this information, some of the questions may still provide a challenge despite having a more casual feel to other interview techniques.

As mentioned in other blogs in the Ready to Role Series, this is a two-way process.  The interviewer(s) will assess how you communicate, approach your work and your interest in the organisation and the role.

It is common in conversational interviews for the interviewer then to share information about the organisation, the team or how they find the work environment.

There will be an expectation in a conversational interview for the candidate to also ask questions, as you would in other conversations.  Prepare some meaningful questions for your information, not to look smart.

While one benefit of the conversational interview is the candidates generally feel more relaxed during the interview, candidate report the challenge of critiquing their interview performance, as it feels harder to measure.

Top Tips for Conversational Interviews

  1. Prepare for common topics – your career to date, your values and working preferences, motivation, challenging experience at work, what attracted you to this organisation/ role.
  2. Listen – conversation is two way. You need to be present.  Engage in the conversation, with natural gestures, body language and clear speech.
  3. Ask Questions – Be prepared with a couple of genuine questions you are keen to know more about.

Competency Based Interviews

The perspective of Competency Based Interviewing is to gain insight into how the candidate will perform in the role, based on the competency at the core of the role and in the values / behaviours of the organisation.  Most large organisations publish values and behaviours online.  For organisations that do not have this available externally, ask the recruiter to share information that is relevant.

Competency Based Interviews seek to review past performance and use this as a measure for potential future performance in the hiring organisation.

The panel will have a criterion based on the competencies sought for the role.  Questions are likely to include:

  • Tell me about a time when….
  • Describe when you have…
  • How do you….
  • What has been…

Should you find your response going off topic, pause and clear a clear closing statement, ‘In summary….’  Be sure the summary answers the question asked.

Top Tips for Competency Based Interviews

  1. Familiarise yourself with the Role Profile, Organisational Values and Behaviours. If the role comes with a success criterion, use this to build potential responses from your work experience to date.
  2. Create a bank of questions and responses. Be aware the actual questions may vary slightly from what you have prepared.  Be ready to flex your examples to fulfil the actual question asked.
  3. Utilise the STAR Method. Outline the Situation, Tasks, Actions and Result in your response.

Many clients report the cringe factor of sounding big headed in talking about all the wonderful things they can do.  This is the purpose of the interview.  It is a measure of your skills and potential in the hiring organisation.  There is no judgement of being big headed, it is a process to highlight your skills and capabilities.  Do yourself proud and show your skills.

Good luck!

The final blog in the Ready to Role Series is The Outcome.  If you would like to hear more, please contact zia@ziasavel.com

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