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Core Competency Criteria

SELECTION INTERVIEW GUIDE

Core Competency Criteria

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

About This Guide

 

The purpose of this guide is to help decision-makers make better selection decisions.  The Guide contains everything you need to prepare for selection interviews, including:

 

·        The specific criteria to be used.

 

·        A set of interview questions used to accurately assess the candidate against the criteria.

 

Behavioral Event Interviewing

 

Many of the questions contained in this Guide are based on a technique known as behavioral event interviewing. This technique follows a very simple premise:  Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.  In other words, by focusing on the details of what a candidate has done in the past, we can make reasonable predictions about how he/she will perform in the future.

 

The advantage of behavioral event interviewing is that it elicits much richer, more detailed accounts of a person's skills and abilities and it provides a much more objective way of assessing candidates.  In short, it allows the hiring decision to be based on more than a gut feeling.

 

The Selection Criteria

 

When matching people with jobs, there are several factors to be considered:

 

·        Basic Requirements - These include educational background, previous work experience, business knowledge, career interests, motivations, work styles, etc.

 

·        Technical Requirements - These include technical skills and knowledge that are important to successfully perform the job.  Technical requirements will vary from job to job.

 

·        Core Competencies - These represent the system-wide skills, traits and personal attributes that are associated with outstanding performance.

 

The primary emphasis of the Guide is upon assessing a candidate's competency strengths.  These are the factors that are most predictive of future success.  We've also included some sample questions to help you assess how closely a candidate fulfills the basic and technical requirements of the job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BASIC REQUIREMENTS

 

Basic requirements include educational background, previous work experience knowledge, career interests, motivations, work styles, etc.

 

Interview Questions:

 

·        Tell me about your educational background.

·        What business related training have you had?

·        What technical training, if any, have you had?

 

·        Describe your recent work experience.

·        What are your major responsibilities?

·        Describe your accomplishments in this role.

 

·        Tell me about some of your most rewarding experiences in your current job.

 

·        All jobs have their frustrations and problems.  Tell me about some of your least satisfying experiences in your current job.

 

·        Describe a time when you felt you worked your hardest and felt the greatest sense of achievement.

 

·        What factors do you consider most important in evaluating yourself and your success?

 

·        Why should you be considered for this position?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

 

Technical requirements include special skills and knowledge that are needed to carry out a specific job.  The technical requirements will be different for each and every job.  Think of the questions below as examples to guide you in forming detailed questions which apply to the job you are filling.

 

Interview Question:

 

·        How would you describe your own level of technical proficiency as                 ?  What would you like to understand better or learn more about?

 

·        Give me an example of how you handled                    (process, function, task, etc.)

 

·        What are the steps you used in performing                  (job-related function, assignment, task, etc.)?

 

·        How do you keep informed of what is going on in the field of              ?

 

·        To which industry or job-related organizations do you belong?

 

·        Describe your level of participation.

 

·        What do you feel you have gained from your involvement?

 

·        What important changes are taking place in the field of                       ?  Do you consider them positive or negative?  Why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CORE COMPETENCIES

 

 

The competencies presented in this Guide represent factors that are predictive of success.  They define the skills, knowledge, values, motivations and personal attributes that are associated with outstanding performance.

 

The interview questions in this Guide are organized by competency clusters as follows:

 

 

Decision Making & Judgment

 

Values & Ethics

 

Willingness & Capacity to Learn

 

Customer Focus

 

Trustworthy

 

Leadership/Influence

 

Teamwork Oriented

 

Commitment

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DECISION MAKING AND JUDGMENT

 

 

Interview Questions:

 

 

·        Tell me about a time when you took ownership for managing a group or project.  What was the situation?  What actions did you take?  What were the end results?

 

·        Describe a time when you stepped in to turn around a situation or set a new direction for your organization.  What was the situation?  Describe what you did.

 

·        Tell me about a time when you took it upon yourself to develop a contingency or back-up plan for an important undertaking.  What was the situation?  Describe your plan and what you did to implement it?

 

 

 

 

Desired Behaviors:

 

a.                Enjoys the challenges of taking ownership of a department or project and quickly developing that part of the business to better serve the entire system.

b.                Takes action to change the direction of events; observe the need and proactively starts the ball rolling to create change.

c.                Takes the lead in fact-finding to identify, clarify and resolve issues.

d.                Gathers information from experts and people who are closest to issues or problems to improve decision-making and create better operational procedures.

e.                Create or modifies own or organizational procedures, systems, tools or structures to improve productivity.

f.                 Takes steps in advance to be prepared for potential situations; make backup or contingency plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVE

 

 

Interview Questions:

 

 

·        Tell me about a time when you had an opportunity to contribute to your company's overall success.  What was the situation?  What, specifically, did you do?

 

·        Have you ever felt the need to refocus the energy and attention of people in your group to become better aligned with the overall strategy of your company?  What was the situation?  How did you approach it?  What were the results?

 

·        Describe a situation in which you applied a conceptual framework to help set direction for your group.  What framework did you use and how was it developed?  What was your end result?

 

Desired Behaviors:

 

a.      Has a vision for the future of his/her group and how the group can contribute.

b.      Combines experience and knowledge with insights to provide a balanced perspective.

c.      Helps people expand their perspectives and to think in a system-wide framework.

d.      Uses the conceptual frameworks, such as the strategic plan, as a tool to guide thinking and set direction for his/her group.

e.      Assures that activities within his/her jurisdiction are aligned with the organization's strategic plan.

f.       Uses accurate historical data as a starting point and reality check to achieve challenging, but reasonable, goals and benchmarks  (e.g., realistic budgets and measurements).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Analytical and Creative Thinking

 

 

Interview Questions:

 

 

·        Tell me about an especially difficult business decision you made in the past year.  What factors did you consider in formulating your decision?

 

·        Can you remember a time when you came up with a breakthrough idea or an especially creative approach to make things better?  What was the situation?  Describe your idea and what you did to implement it.

 

·        Tell me about a time when you identified a practice or policy in your organization that was interfacing with creative thinking.  Describe the interfacing with creative thinking.  Describe the interfacing and what you did about it.

 

 

 

Desired Behaviors:

 

a.      Systematically thinks through the implications of decisions and plans.

b.      Identifies and tests underlying assumptions before making decisions.

c.      Looks critically at existing frameworks, politics and norms to see where they may be limiting creative thinking.

d.      Assesses existing approaches, ideas and solutions as a starting point in creating new approaches and solutions.

e.      Breaks step with existing ways of doing things; turns ideas or existing solutions upside down in order to achieve "breakthrough thinking."

f.       Uses the wisdom and insights gained from experience or detailed analysis of existing frameworks to create new conceptual frameworks or models.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Values and Ethics

 

 

Interview Questions:

 

 

·        What do you consider to be your most important work values?  Share with me some examples of times when those values came into play.

 

·        Compare and contrast a time when you felt your work was above standard with a time when you felt your work was below standard.

 

·        Can you remember a time when you felt you had to compromise your standards in order to get the job done?  What was the situation?  How far did you bend?

 

·        Can you remember a time when you missed a deadline?  What was the situation?  What caused you to miss your deadline?  How did you handle it?

 

Interpersonal Effectiveness*

Interview Questions:

 

·        We've all occasionally had to deal with someone whose working style is different from our own.  Can you remember a time when this happened to you?  How did you handle the situation?

 

·        Each of us has a different way of showing consideration for others on the job.  Describe your approach and give me an example of a time when you successfully used it.

 

·        Tell me about a recent interaction with a co-worker or customer where you really seemed to connect with their needs and understand their feelings.

 

Desired Behaviors:

 

a.   Accurately interprets behavioral cues of individuals and groups (body language, tone of voice, innuendoes, etc.).

b.      Attuned to individual differences in motivation, interests, style, etc.

c.      Looks for the underlying meaning of what people say or do.

d.      Anticipates how individuals or groups will respond (e.g., to situations, interventions, solutions or strategies).

e.      Cares about people and is supportive/protective of others; able to see things from another person's point of view.

f.       Empathizes with the feelings and perspectives of others; able to see things from another person's point of view.

g.      Helps people understand the viewpoints of other individuals or groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Willingness And Capacity To Learn

 

 

Interview Questions:

 

 

·        Tell me about your most significant new learning in the past year on the job.  What did you learn?  How did you apply that learning to your work?  What did you do differently as a result?

 

·        Can you remember a time when you identified a specific need for your personal development?  What did you do to address it?  What were the results?

 

·        Tell me about a time when you took on a challenge or an assignment for which you did not have the necessary skills set.  What happened?

 

·        How do you keep abreast of new developments and trends in your area of expertise?  Give some examples of your efforts at doing so.

 

 

 

 

Desired Behaviors:

 

a.      Identifies and addresses developmental needs; committed to self-development and life-long learning.

b.      Takes advantage of all the opportunities for training and development, both internally and externally.

c.      Learns from other people; spends time with experts, coaches, mentors.

d.      Ensures that development plans are agreed upon and in place for each employee.

e.      Reflects on his/her successes and failures to avoid repeating mistakes and learns from experience.

f.       Takes on challenging work that will require him/her to learn new skills.

g.      Looks for opportunities to learn about other parts of the organization.

h.      Stays current with emerging issues and trends in his/her area of expertise.

i.       Invests time and energy in keeping his/her skills current.

j.       Actively seeks cross-training whenever possible so that work isn't adversely affected by absences and to provide flexibility to respond in special situations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Customer Focus

 

 

Interview Questions:

 

·        Tell me about a time when you felt you developed a working partnership with a customer.  What was the situation?  How did that partnership come about?  What did you contribute to the relationship?

 

·        Can you remember a situation in which you took time to educate a customer?  Describe what happened.

 

·        Describe a time when you "went above and beyond"  in meeting a customer's needs.  What was the situation?  How did you handle it?

 

·        Tell me about a time when you became the "voice of the customer"  within your company.  What did you do?  What was the end result?

 

 

 

Desired Behaviors:

 

a.      Views people who are using services or systems of his/her department as partners; involves them throughout the development process.

b.      Conveys his/her belief in the organization, its mission for service and its commitment to customer satisfaction.

c.      Creates opportunities for customers to communicate and clarify their needs before beginning any development or intervention.

d.      Solicits feedback and input from customers to find out what the organization is doing well and how it can serve them better.

e.      Responds promptly to customer needs and follows up to ensure satisfaction.

f.       Advises or educates customers on how to deal more effectively with their problems.

g.      Leaves room for flexibility in customer solutions; changes strategies based on customer needs.

h.      Views situations from the perspective of end-users or customers and serves as their voice within the department or company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Trustworthy

 

Interview Questions:

 

·        From time to time everyone has to bend or break the rules.  Can you give me some examples of times when you had to do this? 

 

·        Can you remember a business situation when you didn't keep your word?  What was the situation?  What happened?

·        Sometimes we have to stretch the truth when working with a difficult colleague or customer.  Can you give me some examples of times when you had to do this?

 

·        Can you remember a business situation where your boss entrusted you with a confidence?  What happened?  How did you manage the information you received.

 

·        Have you ever been caught breaking a company rule?  What was the situation?

 

Interview Questions:

 

·        Describe a time when you were able to work successfully across departmental lines in order to accomplish something that was in the best interests of the organization.  What was the situation?  Describe your role in detail.

 

·        How would you describe your current network of business contacts - both internal and external?  How did you go about building that network?  Give some examples.

 

·        Can you remember a time when you initiated a community outreach effort on behalf of your company?  What prompted this effort?  What, specifically, was your role?

Desired Behaviors:

 

a.      Builds and encourages others to build close relationships with key people.

b.      Promotes the sharing of options, good ideas, information and innovations within the group and with other departments; encourages people to work cooperatively across organizational lines.

c.      Identifies and pools resources with other organizations who could benefit; jointly sponsors and develops innovations.

d.      Builds networks among fellow professionals so that he/she knows where to find information and resources.

e.      Understands and promotes the importance of the organization as a community institution in supporting the community.

f.       Reaches out to important community organizations to form partnerships, educate and begin important dialogues about services the community views as important.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Respect for Others

 

 

Interview Questions:

 

 

·       Describe a recent situation where an employee or colleague came to you with a new idea.  How did you react?

 

·        How do you recognize and reward people for their accomplishments?  Give me some examples of when you have done so.

 

·        Tell me about a time when your group needed to deal with a failure.  What happened?  How did you handle it?

 

Desired Behaviors:

 

g.      Promotes a healthy climate in which people can grow and develop - one in which they feel comfortable expressing their needs and opinions.

h.      Keeps a finger on the pulse of the organization; knows what issues and problems people have.

i.       Gives people the freedom to fix problems or take advantage of opportunities, without asking permission first.

j.       Treats people's ideas and concerns with respect, regardless of level  or role in the organization.

k.      Makes certain credit is given when credit is due; shares accolades and recognition with people who contributed to successes.

l.       Lets people know that he/she appreciates their cooperation and contribution to the team effort.

m.    Protects other's self-esteem by avoiding finger pointing when things go wrong; concentrates instead on fixing the problem.

n.      Trusts his/her team's professional abilities; showcases their abilities by ensuring that they get the visibility they deserve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leadership

 

 

Interview Questions:

 

 

·        Tell me about your toughest challenge as a leader.  How did you handle the situation?

 

·        Give me an example of a time when you have "practiced what you preach."

 

·        Describe a time when you took a strong stand on an issue that was important to your organization.  What was the situation?  What action did you take?  What was the end result?

 

·        Tell me about how you set standards for people in your group.  Give me some specific examples of times when you've done so.

 

 

 

 

Desired Behaviors:

 

o.      Models the attitudes and behavior he/she expects of others (e.g., integrity, fairness, openness to new ideas); walks the walk.

p.      High ethical standards (e.g., is honest and straightforward in dealings with people; does not have hidden agendas.)

q.      Sets high standards of quality for his/her group or department.

r.       Builds trust and credibility by delivering on promises.

s.      Takes a strong stand to do what is right for the organization and its employees.

t.       Promotes the view that the ultimate measure of success for the organization and the system is in meeting the community's needs effectively.

u.      Increases the visibility of the organization within his/her community groups, giving speeches and presentations, talking to the professional community, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Gaining Commitment

 

 

Interview Questions:

 

 

Ø      Tell me about a time when you had to gain support for an initiative or a proposal before you could implement it.  How did you approach the situation?  What was the end result?

 

Ø      Can you remember a time when you had to develop a strategy or game plan for influencing someone?  What was the situation?  What did you do?

 

Ø      Tell me about a time when you were successful in reaching a win-win solution between opposing parties.  What was the situation?  What, specifically, was your role in bringing about an agreement?

 

 

 

Desired Behaviors:

 

a.      Uses factual, data-based or well-reasoned argument to convince others (e.g., building a business case for making an investment).

b.      Explains his/her reasons for requests or suggestions as a way of gaining support.

c.      Persuades others by appealing to common good, such as the good of the group, staff or customers/clients.

d.      Bases influence strategies on an understanding of the other parties involved - their experience, interests and personal style.

e.      Knows what works best in his/her organization such as how consensus is built, how to get on people's agendas, etc.

f.       Pre-sells ideas by developing alliances and gaining support before important decisions are made.

g.      Structures situations or the environment in order to influence the attitudes and behaviors of others (e.g., making notations on customer files to help personnel understand cost implications, etc.).

h.      Thinks through total influence plans, which may include using multiple strategies (e.g., stakeholders, timing fit of agendas).

i.       Seeks to maximize positive outcomes for all parties; looks for win-win strategies and solutions.