Competency based interviews

Both NORDEM and our partners usually use competency based interviews in the recruitment process. Competency based interviews use questions which aim to find out how you have used specific skills in your previous experience and how you approach tasks and challenges.

Competency based interviews interviews are based on the premise that past behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour. Interviewers are looking for relevant examples of how you have demonstrated the competencies they are looking for. Often, you will be asked follow up questions to your examples in order to specify what you have done and what it led to.

To prepare for a competency based interview, first identify which competencies are important for the position. Usually the vacancy will indicate which type of technical and personal competencies are required (e.g. “human rights programming”, “negotiation skills” or “flexibility”).

Think through examples of how you have demonstrated the competencies in your past experience. Structuring your examples according to the STAR model will help you to give good answers: 

  • Briefly describe the Situation or background to your example
  • Explain the Task
  • Outline the Action you took
  • Summarise the Result

Interviewers will want to know what you learnt from your experience and how you might have done things differently. Be prepared to reflect on your performance. Practicing answers with someone else can be useful.

The following web pages provide more information and guidance on competency based interviews:

UN guidance to competency based interviews

OSCE guidance to competency based interviews

Published Oct. 13, 2014 10:13 PM - Last modified June 28, 2016 10:59 AM