How to succeed at competency-based interviews for accounting roles

January 8th 2021 | Posted by Dave Cross

How to succeed at competency-based interviews for accounting roles

Interviews are nearly always an experience that conjures up some nerves. However, you can reduce these nerves by learning how to succeed at one of the most common types of interview that you are likely to face; the competency-based interview. This type of interview requires you to provide answers and examples that are based on your previous experience.

This means that you should already have the knowledge that you need to make a good impression during your interview. You just need to do some research in order to relate your experience and expertise to the role you are applying for.  Let’s take a closer look at this starting with considering what constitutes a competency-based interview?

What is a competency-based interview?

At a competency-based interview, you are asked open questions that give you the opportunity to talk about your attributes such as your achievements in accounting or how you have put your interpersonal skills to use. You answer the questions by relating them to situations that you have dealt with in the past. Doing this helps your prospective employer to get a better understanding of your professional background and how it relates to the role you are competing for.

There are several different types of competency-based questions that can be used in interviews. They can relate to factors such as your professional accounting knowledge and your behaviours. No matter what the question is, it will always be related to your new role, or the business in some way.

You will recognise a competency-based question by how it is phrased. Some good examples are:

  • Tell me about an occasion when…
  • Provide me with an example of when you…
  • Talk about a time when…,

Preparing to answer competency-based questions

Now that you have a better understanding of what competency-based interviews are, you can see that it makes sense to prepare in advance. The first part of this preparation involves finding out the competencies that you will need to talk about. There are several places that you can look to find this information including:

  • Reading the initial job advert.
  • Searching online for the job title and making a note of the competencies that are listed.
  • Researching the company to see what skills they may currently be lacking and where you could be useful.
  • Asking if the recruiter has any additional information that they can give you.

The next step is to develop experience-based examples that you can use to show your ability in each of the competencies that you have identified.

There are various places that you can find information to remind yourself of relevant examples, including your CV and your LinkedIn profile. Using the STAR technique when you are creating your examples means that you fully address the Situation, Task, Action, and Result, so your responses are comprehensive and fully answer the questions you are asked.

Preparing in this way gives you the best possible chance of succeeding at a competency-based accounting interview.

If you are an accountancy professional looking for a new role, register with us. If are looking to hire an acountant, get in touch.