Planning for a Competency Based Interview


Competency Based Interview (CBI), is a systematic process that probes the personality and behaviour  of an individual and thereby gives an overall impression of an individual. It provides an insight into a candidate’s style of working and predicts the future performance of an individual based on his past performance.  The process allows an interviewer to extract desired information based on specific situations and keeps away from hypothetical situations

Effective Competency Based Interview, requires adequate planning before the actual interview.

Competency Based Interview:

1. Identify the competencies to focus on while interviewing.

2. Develop and ask right interview questions.

3. Scoring and evaluating the interview.

1. Identify the competencies to focus on while interviewing

This is easier if your organisation has a Competency Dictionary or a Competency Framework that outlines the desirable and essential competencies for different positions, job family etc. In absence of a pre-defined competency framework, the competencies to be focused in an interview should be analysed and identified through a job analysis process.  You can also identify the relevant competencies if you have a well defined and detailed job description.

2. Develop questionnaire and conduct interview

The questions should be developed and designed to provide as much information as possible about the applicant’s past experience on each competency essential for the position. The questions should be able to obtain the following information:

  • The situation – A detailed description of the situation that provides clarity on the scenario.
  • How the situation was handled ?  – The applicant’s role, responsibility or action in the situation or incident.
  • What was the end outcome ? – The specific outcome of the situation or incident.

3. Scoring & Evaluation

Each question being asked during the CBI needs to be assessed. While interviews are normally considered to be a subjective assessment, the CBI process also tries to bring in some amount of objectivity. The questions and the candidate’s response to the same help an interviewer rate a candidate on the various competencies. The rating process leverage competency definition and the related behavioural indicators.  The rating also allows an interviewer to compare multiple candidates.