How to prepare for HSE Competency-based Interviews

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    There was a time, when the HSE requested candidates, whether they be internal or external, to submit a Letter of Application & CV as part of their Recruitment & Selection Process.

    Can you imagine all the different styles of letters and CV’s that they would receive and then read, screen and select the best ones from them all to go forward for an interview? When it came to the interview, different questions would be asked of various candidates, depending on what the HSE Interview Board read or saw in the candidate’s application documents. And then (again), when it came to selecting the best person for the job, it was based on how well the Interviewer(s) liked the person, founded purely on individual and collective personal opinions and as they say ‘on-the-day’! There was no real consistency to the process, which was arduous, challenging and overall difficult on both the Interviewees and the Interviewers.

    Today, if you are a HSE employee or someone who wants to work in the HSE, the only way of being considered for an Interview is to complete a Competency-based Application Form. When you are called for an Interview, you will have to prepare for and complete a Competency-based Interview.

    HSE Competency-based Application Forms

    Depending on the role being applied for these Competency-based Application Forms contain 4-6 competency-based questions, where each candidate must articulate an example against the title and criteria of the competency name & against a word count or in a space allowed, usually the latter for the HSE. They prefer candidates to follow a specific format to make it easy for them to write the example and easier for the HSE Interview Board to read understand and make a decision on whether to call candidates for an interview or not. Completing the form can take a long time.

    Consider these as you set about the task ahead of you:

    • Understand the competency title
    • Use words/statements from the competency explanation
    • Follow the format
    • Fill the space allowed
    • Include three tangible outcomes/results in your examples

    HSE Competency-based Interview

    As stated earlier, a well written Competency-based Application Form makes for a much easier Competency-based Interview. If you are successful i.e., get passed the application stage, it is time to prepare for the Competency-based Interview. Knowing the contents of the Job Description, knowing the contents of your Competency-based Application Form and knowing all about the HSE are the three key focus areas. 

    Consider these as you prepare:

    • Know the contents of your examples
    • Have 1-2 back-up examples for each competency
    • Analyse what probing questions they could ask you about your examples
    • Develop mini-examples or the ‘Power of Three’ answers to each bullet point in the ‘Key Skills/Competency’ section in the Job Description
    • Develop three questions to the ask them
    • Develop a Closing Statement i.e., a Memory Hook (why they should hire you!)
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