How to do well in interviews: focus on competence and potential

How to do well in interviews: focus on competence and potential

October 10, 2019 by Stella Petrou Concha

Find out how communicating your competency is more effective in interviews than focusing on your CV. This requires giving well-structured answers that give evidence of times in the past when you have demonstrated competency.


Too much of the time, the wrong people end up in executive positions. Much of this mishandling of executive recruitment is due to bad interviewing practises. But interviewers are beginning to realise that it is better to focus on competency and knowledge rather than the CV.

Find out how you, as an employee, can demonstrate how you’re right for the job, beyond the words on your CV.


Prepare for your interview by studying the company 

First, start by reading about the company. Research relevant industry trends, how the company is organised, the culture and even look for information about the interviewer. Claudio Fernández-Aráoz also suggests pinpointing the main challenges of the job. Then, figure out how you are competent in addressing those challenges.


Study the job description and focus on the leadership qualities likely to be assessed. 


Victoria University of Wellington writes about how more companies are moving towards conducting behavioral interviews. Behavioral interviews centre around looking at the candidate’s past behavior as a way to predict future behaviour.

Therefore, preparation is key because you need to effectively demonstrate how your past experience qualifies you for the position. Victoria University advises preparing for a behavioral interview by studying the job description and focusing on the leadership qualities likely to be assessed. After looking at the qualities required, prepare stories in advance about times in the past where you have demonstrated these skills.

Telling stories that demonstrate competency

As you tell stories that demonstrate your competency, communicate them in a captivating and concise way. Rather than citing your grades at college, talk about a specific time that you resolved a problem in the workplace and how those problem-solving skills can be applied to the company you’re interviewing for.

What to say in an interview

In the interview, tell a story about a time you effectively handled a situation that is relevant to the job.


Victoria University advises using the STAR model:

  • Situation – describe a situation or problem that you have come across
  • Task – describe the task that the situation required or your ideas about resolution
  • Action – describe what leadership style you demonstrated and the obstacles you overcame
  • Results – highlight outcomes achieved

By following the STAR models, you can deliver a well-structured answer for what you can do for the company based on evidence of past experience. Showing what you can offer the company in the future rather than talking about how great you’ve been in the past is, in fact, a more intuitive way of going about an interview. Talk about your past only by applying it to how it will benefit the company in the future.


Reo Group are experts in the science of finance recruitment.  Contact us today to discover more about the best interviewing practices you an apply to land your next role!

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