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How to Effectively Assess a Candidate's Competencies During the Interview

ANDFinding the profile that best fits a vacancy is one of the main missions of the Human Resources department. All companies are looking for someone with talent, experience and the desire to continue growing. But how to make the right choice? The ideal is to evaluate the skills during the interview.

The key lies in knowing all the competencies that a certain position needs and knowing how to identify them when we are facing a candidate. For this reason, the first step will be to evaluate the skills to define the profile of the ideal candidate, and then select the most suitable CVs. This pre-interview step will prevent many mistakes in the future and reduce costs.

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Each job requires certain technical knowledge and specific skills. Technical skills are easier to detect, since they are usually included in the curriculum (academic training or professional experience). But detecting if the candidate has all the skills for the position is more complex to estimate. For this reason, evaluating the skills prior to the interview will be very helpful and so on. analyze the competencies, strengths and weaknesses of the applicants.

What are job skills?

Competencies in the world of work are the capacities of a person to perform a given task using their skills, knowledge and attitudes.

The job skills they respond to the theoretical knowledge, abilities (know how to do), skills (know how to be) and attitudes (want to do) that a person develops to adequately carry out a work activity.

What are the strengths and weaknesses?

They are known as strengths to the skills, competencies or positive aptitudes of the candidate that make him optimal for the position to which he aspires. On the contrary, they are considered weaknesses those skills that can harm the performance of work, or even the company itself.

The strengths and weaknesses that a recruiter must evaluate are mainly related to the workplace, although they also affect some related to more personal traits of the candidate. The factors to be analyzed will be:

  • It should be in line with the philosophy of each company. Sincerity or discipline are some of the most demanded values.
  • candidate's personality. It will help to know if you fit in with the work team.
  • Professional experience. The way the interviewee talks about their past experiences and their position in the company can offer relevant information about their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Training and technical knowledge. It will be decisive depending on the requirements of the position, but it is advisable to assess the option of providing specialized courses or offering subsidized training, before discarding a profile.
  • Knowing the motivations of the candidate will improve the work environment and the productivity of the team.
  • Interpersonal skills. Some of the most sought after by those recruited are: active listening, a collaborative mentality, clear verbal communication or a positive attitude.

What is evaluating skills in an interview?

To evaluate the skills in an interview and that they are those that the job requires, recruiters resort to the competency interview model. This increasingly common methodology differs from the traditional interview focused on training and experience, in that the candidate is valued not only for their skills, but also for the potential to develop and apply them in a work environment.

The competency-based or competency-based interview is also known as a structured, behavioral, or situational interview. It consists of evaluating the candidate face to face, either in person or virtually, from the perspective of skills or competencies.

What is evaluated in a competency interview?

The focus of a competency interview is the skills, knowledge and attitudes to perform a given job. For this reason, its structure is more systematic and each question points to a skill necessary for the job. These are some of the most evaluated elements in the interviews:

  • Ease of learning
  • Capacity for teamwork
  • determination and leadership
  • Commitment to work
  • Capacity to make decisions
  • Conflict resolution
  • Contribution to the company's objectives
  • organizational skills
  • Communicative skills
  • Resilience and adaptability
  • Creativity and flexibility

How to prepare the interview according to the types of competences?

When preparing for the recruitment interview, combining conventional questions about education and experience with more in-depth ones will help tease out developed and potential skills, past achievements, and glimpse what strengths and weaknesses may be.

The recommended time for a competency interview is approximately 30 minutes. It is essential to choose the questions previously thinking about the competencies that are needed for the position, and choose the questions that clarify those competencies: set of abilities, skills, knowledge and how these competencies have been developed.

To find out what the candidate can offer, a series of questions will be drawn up based on the skills required for the position.

Evaluate skills in an interview: the 5 most in demand

1. Individual competitions 

Interviews usually begin by competencies, with the aim of analyzing knowledge, flexibility, independence or personal integrity. An example of a question is "Tell me about a moment of labor crisis or criticism of your work and how you managed to solve it."

2. Leadership skills

To check a candidate's leadership, strategic thinking and project management skills, an example of questions is What is the biggest responsibility you have been delegated in a job? How did you feel taking it on? What result did you get?


3. Motivational skills

In order to know the motivations, initiative and results orientation of the candidate, an example of a question could be: “What has been your greatest work achievement? Why do you consider that to be the most important?

4. Analytical skills

Some of the most frequently asked questions to find out more about learning by doing, the capacity for analysis and conflict resolution of the interviewees are: "Explain a difficult moment in which you knew how to change the approach and solve the problem."

5. Interpersonal skills

They are the ones that determine social and teamwork skills. An example of a question is: "Describe an achievement that you achieved through your effort and teamwork."

In short, a job requires much more than technical skills, just as a candidate is much more than a resume. For this reason, it is important to evaluate all the competencies and to have expert professionals in selection processes to extract and analyze the factors that will be decisive for a successful selection process.

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