What I should invest in – The Competency-based Application Form or The Competency-based Interview?

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Organizations today and especially organisations in the public sector are now recruiting and selecting new staff members and promoting staff members from within using competency-based methods and approaches. Developing, structuring and narrating examples to specific on-the-job competencies in writing using a competency-based application form and then talking about them in a competency-based interview format has now become the norm and to be honest is making the whole process of hiring / promoting people very arduous for the both interviewees and the interviewers, but more especially for the former.

So, when it comes to completing competency-based application forms or preparing for competency-based interviews, what should the interviewee spend their most valuable time on? Without any hesitation, it should be on the application form. Allocated, purposeful time spent on this will make for and deliver the following benefits:

  • Each example will have a start, middle and end following a structured format for narrating them
  • It will be easy for the interviewers to understand and score each example on paper
  • It will be easy for you to talk about the examples at the interview
  • You will be able to answer any and every question about the example when they probe you
  • You will be more confident and looking forward to the interview

Don’t under-estimate the amount of time required to complete these competency-based application forms. There is usually a word count to meet or a space to fill. Trying to achieve these and meet the criteria of the competency explanation in the competency-based application form will literally ‘eat up’ time, so it is advised to start early and not leave them until the last minute to complete the competencies.

Preparation is key for both competency-based application forms and competency-based interviews processes, however with significantly more time allocated to the competency-based application form.


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