Competency-Based Interviews

What are Competencies?

Competencies are a combination of skills, attributes and behaviours that are directly related to successful job performance. We demonstrate our competencies by applying them to our actions and how we behave in our everyday work and interactions with others. UNDP distinguishes between two types of competencies for recruitment and performance management.  These are known as Core competencies and Technical competencies.

Core vs. Technical Competencies:

  • Core or Personal: Core or personal competencies are relevant to all positions and relate to our problem-solving behaviours and skills in the management of everyday affairs (ex. communication, teamwork, self-management).
  • Technical or Functional: Technical or functional competencies are related to the functions, skills and knowledge areas that are specific and critical to the functioning of a position (ex. project management, database analysis, graphic design).

What is Competency-Based Interviewing (CBI)?

CBI (also known as "behavioural interviewing”) is a structured interviewing method, where interviewees are asked to share examples from their past experiences to describe their behaviour in a particular situation.

Why CBI? CBI is based on the premise that a person’s recent past performance or behaviour is the best predictor of their future performance.  By asking you to draw out examples from your work history, recruiters can get a clearer picture of who you are, your talents, how strong your problem-solving skills are and what your approach is to handling stressful situations.

What kinds of questions will be asked in a CBI? CBI questions often tend to be situational - i.e. how would you cope in a specific situation? Some examples of such questions include:

  • Tell us about a challenging assignment when you went above and beyond your manager's expectations.
  • Give an example of a time when you used your problem solving abilities to resolve an issue between staff members.
  • How have you handled situations when you had a number of demands being made for delivery at the same time?

UNDP Core Competency Framework

UNDP uses the Core Competency Framework for recruitment, career development, leadership development and managing performance and talent in the organization.