Competency-Based Interviewing (CBI) is a style of questioning developed to help interviewers decipher if the candidate has practical experience of the skills that they require. The questions will always ask you to refer to a real-life example where you were able to use a particular skill and in order to assess your answer, the interviewer will be looking for a structured response.
Interviewers will often warn you that the next question or section of the interview will be ‘competency-based’ but if they don’t, look out for questions which start with phrases like; ‘tell me about a time when…’, ‘describe an event where…’ or ‘give an example of when…’ as indicators, they may well be looking for a structured answer.
It’s important to remember that the interviewer is trying to get an idea of how you work and your thought processes when faced with a task or challenge. You can prepare yourself for most CBI questions by having a bank of 3-4 examples of times (preferably in the workplace) where you have faced a significant challenge, period of change or task which required skill/effort beyond your job description. Practise explaining these scenarios in around two minutes using the STAR technique below to prevent ‘waffling’ on the day.