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The Basics On Behavioral Interviewing

If you are new to interviewing and feeling a little bit nervous about the process, the following information may be of help to you.

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Behavioural interviews are based on the idea that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. The interviewer will want specific examples of when and how you demonstrated particular behaviours. Prior to interview each position is assessed for the skills/competencies and characteristics that relate to job success. Interview questions are then developed to probe into these areas. All candidates are asked the same questions and notes are taken in order to evaluate candidates.

The word competency is widely used in business and personnel psychology and refers to the behaviours that are necessary to achieve the objectives of an organisation. A competency is also something you can measure and lists of competencies form a common language for describing how people perform in different situations. Every job can be described in terms of key competencies. This means that they can be used for all forms of assessment, including appraisals, training needs analysis and of course, selection.

Individual competencies - your personal attributes: Flexibility, decisiveness, tenacity, independence, risk taking, personal integrity.

Managerial competencies - taking charge of other people: Leadership, empowerment, strategic planning, corporate sensitivity, project management, management control.

Analytical competencies - the elements of decision making: Innovation, analytical skills, numerical problem solving, problem solving, practical learning, detail consciousness.

Interpersonal competencies - dealing with other people: Communication, impact, persuasiveness, personal awareness, teamwork, openness.

Motivational competencies - the things that drive you: Resilience, energy, motivation, achievement orientation, initiative, quality focus.

Taken from How to Master Psychometric Tests by M Parkinson.

To prepare for this type of interview, first review the job description carefully and identify the skills and traits likely to be assessed. Next, identify the situations and experiences that you will refer to in the interview to demonstrate these skills and traits. Competency focussed, well-structured answers are extremely powerful and will win you the interview.

Competency; Customer Focus
Definition: Individuals who display this competency understand and believe in the importance of customer focus. They listen to and understand the needs of external and internal customers. They meet and exceed customer needs to ensure satisfaction.

Behavioural Indicators
Demonstrates the importance of customer service by giving customer needs top priority. Deals effectively with customers by displaying a professional, courteous and empathetic approach.

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