A traditional application form will probably be compared to different elements found within the job description/ person specification documents. If the job requires a specific degree for instance, you need to have that or you will be sifted out. When it comes to the more personal aspects of your application you can draw conclusions from the person specification. For instance, it may require someone with ‘strong analytical skills with a proven track record of meeting deadlines and people management’. It is reasonable to assume that your application will be assessed by the evidence you provide in relation to analytical skills, meeting deadlines and people management. It makes sense to make sure you have covered your strengths in these areas.
If your application is competency based your answers will be measured on how well they match the behaviours described by the competency criteria. You won’t have access to this but you can get some idea of what is important to the company from its list of competencies, its values or its mission statement.
What do more traditional questions look like?
‘Please describe why you want to join our organisation?’
‘Please explain what you would bring to the role’
‘What are your main strengths/ weaknesses?’
‘Where do you see your career in the next 5 years?’
These types of questions have been phased out of many organisations because they do not provide as reliable evidence as competency type questions. This is because these type of questions rely on you writing what you think your audience wants to hear; it’s easier to fabricate them.
With competency based questions you are being asked to provide evidence of your capability which may later be further explored in an interview. It is more difficult to convincingly make up a real life example of what you actually did, particularly when you may be quizzed on the details of it later. Stating an opinion or providing a general statement is much less illuminating!
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