Competency-based interview

A competency-based interview is a structured interview process used in EPSO competitions to evaluate candidates’ suitability for a position within EU institutions. This interview technique focuses on a candidate’s past behavior and experiences as indicators of their future performance by assessing specific competencies required for the role.

Recently EPSO has also started to call this a ‘Situational Competency-Based Interview’ (SCBI).

During a competency-based interview, candidates are asked to provide real-life examples that demonstrate their skills and abilities in relation to the competencies outlined by EPSO, such as analytical thinking, communication, leadership, resilience, and teamwork. The interviewer will prompt candidates to describe situations where they have applied these competencies, looking for evidence of how they approached challenges, the actions they took, and the results of those actions.

Preparation for a competency-based interview involves several key steps:

  1. Carefully Review the Competencies: Understand the competencies listed in the EPSO notice of competition, as these will form the basis of the interview questions.
  2. Not Only Reflect on Your Experiences, but Put Into Words Concrete Episodes: Identify examples from your past work, education, or volunteering experiences that demonstrate the required competencies, such as, behaviour in conflict, high stress, ability to meet deadlines, prioritization under task overload and similar situations.
  3. Use the STAR Method: Structure your responses using the Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR) format to provide clear and concise answers.
  4. Practice Your Responses: Rehearse delivering your examples out loud to ensure clarity and confidence during the actual interview. Practice with another person pretending to be the interviewer. If you don’t have another person, use ChatGPT. Ask ChatGPT to come up with variations of questions about each competency mentioned in the competition notice.
  5. Research the EU and Its Institutions: While competency-based interviews may not focus on technical knowledge, understanding the EU’s values, mission, and operations can help provide context to your answers.





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