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Seven competency-based questions you can use to assess if a candidate can do the job

by , 13 September 2013
Once you've created a short list of candidates by assessing their applications against your job requirements, you're ready to start interviewing. Use these seven competency-based questions to assess if your applicant will be able to do the job.

While it's important to ask your candidate about things like his qualifications, strengths and weaknesses, the next stage of the interview must include competency-based questions.

This'll help you assess if the applicant can perform the job successfully. And, at the same time, determine if the applicant is the 'right fit' for the company or division, based on previous experiences.

The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management explains that these behavioural-type questions revolve around personal experiences of the applicant and practical work related questions.

Basically, what an applicant has done in the past is a predictor of what he'll do in the future and how you can expect him to perform in a work situation.

It's up to you to decide, along with other interviewers, what competencies the candidate needs.

So what kind of questions should you ask?

Want to know if the candidate is right for the job? Ask these seven questions…

Assess if the candidate has these standard competencies:

Accuracy: This is the ability to conduct tasks accurately and without errors.

Question#1: I understand we're all human and sometimes make mistakes, tell me about a time when you made an error. What happened? What did you do? What was the outcome?

Administrative orientation: This is to assess personal satisfaction gained from conducting administrative tasks.

Question#2:Tell me about a time an administrative procedure didn't work. What did you do about it? What was the result?

Analytical ability: 'This is a logical, organised and questioning approach to work. Where you take all the details, angles into consideration, order these in a systematic way and, based on one's diagnosis, implement a strategy,' says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

Question#3: Describe a project you've put together. Why did you put it together and how did you go about implementing it? What was the outcome of the project?

Problem-solving ability: This is the ability to assess a complex situation and implement a workable solution.

Question#4: Tell me about the most difficult situation in your work that you had to deal with. What did you do? What was the outcome?

Planning and organising: This is the ability to set goals and objectives to decide what needs to be done to achieve the goals and objective. And to appropriately allocate time and other resources as required.

Question#5: Which work-related accomplishment is your greatest source of pride and why? How did you go about achieving this?

Assertiveness (conflict, leadership and staff management): This assesses if the candidate is confident without being aggressive. He should be firm and not easily intimidated.

Question#6: Tell me about a time you really had to put your foot down. What happened? How did you handle it? What was the outcome?

Task driven: This is the ability to concentrate energy on the specific actions required to complete a task on time.

Question#7: Tell me about the most complex and demanding project you successfully completed. What difficulties did you face in completion of the project? How did you make sure the project was completed on time? What was the outcome of your efforts?

FSPBusiness stresses that the purpose of an interview is to determine three things about the applicant:

  1. Does the applicant have the ability to perform the job?
  2. Will the applicant be motivated to be successful?
  3. Will the applicant match the needs of your company?

With these competency bases questions, you'll do just that.

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