Most of us are used to certain types of interviews. They usually have the same format and are aimed at discussing qualifications and experiences. Today I will bring Competency-Based Interviews to our table. Yes, it is important to go through candidates’ resumes, but that’s something that can easily be done over the phone. Having a Q&A interview can lead to different results, ranging from satisfactory to very poor. However, by performing Competency-Based Interviews we can test specific skills. This will give us a perspective on the candidates’ abilities for certain positions.
It is important to highlight that Competency-Based Interviews can be virtually implemented for any position, industry, and field. However, we need to design the process for every case separately since not all positions overlap the skills and traits required to be successful at it. I will personally highlight that we must never make a decision based on one single indicator, so interviews should be accompanied by other Selection techniques. Such as personality and aptitude tests, references, other interviews.
What are Competency-Based Interviews?
You may have heard of them, and the name is probably self-explanatory. Nonetheless, let’s go down on a little bit of theory. Competency-Based Interviews, also known as Behavioral or Situational Interviews. They are the type of interviews in which candidates’ competencies and skills are tested. We use them to determine if, besides their resume, this person can show us they have the right tools to take on a specific job. We focus on assessing their weaknesses and strengths in certain roles.
In this type of interview, we start with a set of questions related to certain skills. As well as a set of “correct” answers to each of those items. Systematically assessing relevant skills. Our behavior, current, and past is the best predictor of our future behaviors and practices. These interviews are especially relevant if the candidate has not had had any experience in the industry. But have had similar roles in other industries.
They are also used for entry-level positions. Some companies have used them in assessment centers, to evaluate how candidates would respond under certain situations. Such as problem-solving situations, decision-making, written and oral communications, organization, and planning, among others.
How to Structure a Competency-Based Interview?
Primarily these interviews are based on open-ended questions. The purpose behind this is so the candidate is able to explain in detail their experience on the subject. You have to keep in mind that all the candidates for a position need to answer the same questions in the same order.
A. Determine your Criteria
This needs to be done in hand with the department manager and the updated job description. You need to know exactly which traits, skills, knowledge, and experiences your ideal candidate needs to have. Then once you have all your candidates you compare their results against this, rather than one another.
Evaluate what the role’s responsibilities will be and its potential growth within the organization. With the assistance of the team this person would be a part of, assess how their day-to-day could be. Define which skills are fundamental vs. desirable for the role. Like with any other interview and selection process you need to keep in mind that even if someone does not check all the boxes they can still make a great addition to your organization. That is where a good support and training program from you comes into play.
B. Prepare your Questions
Once you have outlined what your variables are going to be, then you should move on to craft questions and items that will measure that. Structuring and wording are crucial for the candidates’ outcomes. They should be able to openly express and procure examples to each question.
Your questions should be the type that includes things such as “Can you provide al example to how…?”, “Do you remember a time when…?”, “What have you done when facing…?”, “Describe the best way you have been able to…”. The answers to these types of questions will allow you to weigh every individual situation as they will most likely be open enough for you to ask further.
For Behavioral Interviews, most theorists suggest we use the STAR Technique. A method that will show you different aspects of a candidate’s experience. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Ask about the steps taken to solve a specific situation and task. Then the actions taken and skills used to have successful results. Then discuss what the results were and if they were beneficial.
You also want to learn about when things did not go as planned, judgment-free. You want to examine and estimate as much as possible. This will give you a brief look at their resiliency skills and their ability to work under pressure.
C. Carry Out the Competency-Based Interviews
A good interview is always in the hands of a good interviewer. We can give you tips, and guides on how to interview someone, however, it requires training and practice. All the tips above will flow more smoothly if you know what you are doing.
Structure the interview properly and have clear goals. You need to be able to remember and manage the information they are giving you, which will be a lot. So what are the best ways to effectively run the interview without missing any important information?
1- Be an active listener
You need to be able to conscientiously process and understand what the candidates are telling you. Listen carefully. Also, provide feedback to show them you are actually listening. Continue the conversation from specific aspects that may have caught your ear. Take notes, this is extremely important. It is possible that when analyzing the interview, you will not remember everything, so take as many notes as possible.
Ask every candidate the same questions in the same order. Yes, you can ask questions derived from their answers, but the structure for the base questions must be the same. Everyone interviewing the candidates must have the same scorecard to rate the candidates.
3- Take Notes
And I can not stress this enough. You will be gathering a lot of information from every single candidate, you will not be able to remember every important detail. Take notes about their verbatim or behavior, not your opinions on the observations, you do not want to take biased notes.
4- Respect the Thought Process
Yes, it is expected that the candidates are prepared for the interview. However, you will be asking a lot of questions on different matters that require recollection of events and self-analysis. Give them space and time to think of their answers. Also, give yourself time to evaluate what you are going to ask next or respond to their answer. Be critical.
Competency-Based Interviews in Aquaculture
Companies involved in the Aquaculture and Seafood industries have a particularity, though other industries have them too, not all. In our industry is not unusual to be looking for any type of position. Anything from Fisheries Technicians and Operators, through Processors and Mid-Level Managers, all the way to Chiefs and Executives. So, You will need to be extremely familiar with what every role involves and when is a Competency-Based Interview more relevant.
Which Competencies and Skills Should We Look for in Aquaculture?
With the use of Competency-Based Interviews, you can assess different skills and competencies. Each of them can be relevant to different degrees for the specific role you are interviewing for. On a Social Level, you will be able to assess: Communication, Customer Service, Conflict Resolution, and Teamwork. Ethics, Responsibility, Organization, Career Motivation, Commitment to development, Trustworthiness, and Openness to change, on a personal level. On a professional level, Problem Solving, Decision Making, Safety Consciousness, and Comercial Awareness. You can also gauge other skills such as Leadership, Results Drivenness, Adaptability, Flexibility, and Resiliency.
Lastly, the Skills and Competencies that will be assessed on your candidates is tightly linked to Your organization, the Species you are working with, the cultural environment you would like to keep cultivating, the production/processing methods your company is involved in, the educational background required for each role, your company’s goals in the short and mid-term, the regulations your company needs to comply with, the size of your company, who is this person going to be within the team and the company.
At AquacultureTalent we make sure to understand your business goals and culture in order to carry out the best Competency-Based Interviews to fulfill your talent needs. Contact us today to discuss your hiring requirements.