Don’t Be Afraid of Competence and Selection Testing
At the heart of diligent, modern interviewing is the competency test – it’s a tried and tested method of drilling into situation – and skills-relevant scenarios found in a specific working environment and is the closest thing interviewers have to fair interview questioning that’s free of bias.
Competence and selection testing gives an employer the right information to judge your professional and personal applicability for any given role. The same questions asked of you will be asked of other applicants, so the process is designed to be fair to all, and the types of selection testing employed are uniform.
As we’ve highlighted in our very own job seeker resources section, competence test questioning can take many forms and can cover a wide range of behavioural and analytical situations, but its goal is to find evidence that you have the skills, experience and working knowledge of certain aspects of a job in past roles, as a sign you’ll be a good fit for future roles.
Ascertaining performance and approach to work
The mix of questioning – from professional “what ifs”, aptitude testing and analysis, all the way to personality testing – can mean you’re covering a lot of professional ground in a short period of time. Good interviewers know an interview can be an unnerving place, and merely judge you on your replies. Hence why we always urge practice: rehearse answers to common questions, do your research about your potential employers’ market and make sure you know your strengths.
The STAR technique is an oft quoted, but incredibly useful, competency test framework candidates should use when structuring interview responses.
STAR is an acronym, standing for Situation, Task, Activity and Result. It’s a highly adaptable and easy way to remember how to structure each answer to competency or behavioural questioning. It sets your replies in context of a certain event, task or project, and gives your interviewer the opportunity to witness your decision making in situ.
Competency-based interview questions
Consider a question regarding communication, such as “how did you encourage communication within teams in your previous role?”
Situation: Your example answer could be “I was part of a team that introduced weekly video lunch catch ups with disparate working teams within my company. Away from the hustle of the main office and while working remotely, it gave different department members a chance to talk about work and the various team-specific challenges they face to improve empathy across the company in lieu of any in-office socialising”.
Task: “My specific job was to work with team leaders and build the rota for each call, up to a month in advance”.
Activity: “I built a brand-new CMS dashboard and cross-referenced with everyone’s working diaries to make sure there were no clashes or days when people were on leave and sought feedback afterwards”.
Result: “Our teams took this beta project live across the company, making it a full spectrum HR function and it is now even part of our onboarding with new staff”.
Competence testing is only one part of your interview with an employer but it sets such a vital standard for you as a professional, taking the time to prepare for it will be extremely useful and stand you in good stead.
If you’re looking for your next challenge in finance or audit:
Our Renaix Guide to Recruitment for Audit and Finance Professionals provides information on trends in the industry.
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