5 tips from a new partner to pass the competency based interview

It is always good to hear when one of our clients gets the partner role they wanted. It is even better when they give us detailed feedback about the process they went through, plus their tips to help others make it through! Following on from yesterday’s post, this post is based on a set of tips from one of our clients for how to tackle a competency based interview.

You can normally expect to do a series of interviews within the partnership admissions process. One of these interviews is likely to be competency based.

Tips for passing your competency based interviews:

1. Look at your competency framework and what evidence you need to demonstrate

Basically, if you want to know what questions you are going to be asked, just look at the competency framework. For example, if it says something like: demonstrates an ability to win work for the firm you can expect a question about how you have in the past gone about winning work.

2. Write down examples and stories you can use in the interview

Go through each of the competencies in the competency framework and think about how you can evidence your ability, mindset or behaviour to do this. Then write down the evidence as a form of stories. Transfer these stories to a sheet of A4 and take this along to your interview to use as a prompt. Each story needs to contain, the impact/results you generated, your role in producing the impact, and a short context of the problem or background.

3. Write down the questions you may be asked and practice answering them

Go through the competency framework and for each competency and area you are expected to demonstrate, write down a question which will do that. Then ask your mentor, coach or supportive friend to ask you each question and you practice answering each question. Then get feedback from them on how succinctly you answered the question and how well you evidenced the question.

4. Take your crib sheet of stories into the interview

If you have this with you in the interview, you can literally tick off the stories as you use and tell them. The crib sheet will help remind you of the key points you want to make in the interview. It can also save your bacon if your mind goes blank when you are asked a question. At the end of the interview check to see whether you have ticked off all your stories. If you find that you haven’t, use the opportunity at the end of the interview to talk the interviewers through the ‘evidence’ you didn’t give them. Normally this will happen when the interviewer asks you:

Do you have any questions for us?

Is there anything you haven’t told us that you think it would be useful for us to know?

5. Use your mentor and/or sponsoring partner to help you practice for the interview

The last thing you want to do is go in cold to this interview. Our client spent a fair bit of time going over the potential interview questions and his answers with his sponsoring partner before his interview. This helped him be succinct, relaxed and stopped him waffling or going off topic. It also helped him hone his answers to questions so he was making sure he was hitting all the right buttons to get a high score for his competency based interview.

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