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boigy77  
#1 Posted : 01 March 2018 20:11:43(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
boigy77

Anyone recommend sites with some good examples of competency based interview questions for H&S Adviser positions (or is there any advice on this site)? I am moving on after completing an 18 month stint as a H&S Adviser at a 'smallish' construction firm, which was my first H&S job. Leaving on really good terms but I was there on maternity cover and it became evident there wasn't going to be enough to keep both of us going full time.

I don't have a great deal of interview experience, had one competency based interview which was not a nice experience as I was caught unawares (my own fault). I feel pretty well covered in the 'most common interview' question set, but I don't want to get caught out again. I have an interview next week with a big name firm, its for a trainee H&S position, and I don't think its a competency based interview as its only a half hour slot and the job description isn't too heavy. However, as I said, not taking any chances and I want to be prepared for all possibilities. 

Kate  
#2 Posted : 01 March 2018 20:57:00(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

I don't have a particular website to recommend but this is what I do.

Look at the job description, the person spec, the organisation's values, any other information about what they want from you, and the claims about yourself you have put on your CV.

Write down questions that relate to these ("Give an example of persuading someone to do something", "Describe a project you have managed", "Have you ever been asked to do something you thought was wrong?"). 

Then write down your own examples in STAR (situation - task - actions - result) format.  If your CPD is good quality, it may be a good reference for examples to support your memory.

Fictional example: "Recently I saw a contractor up at height without any protection (situation).  I needed to get him down and help find a safe way to complete the job (task).  He was belligerent but I refused to take no for an answer, made him get down, and arranged to get the job done from a cherrypicker (actions).  The job was finished safely and in the end he thanked me for it (result)."

I write these down on index cards, add to them from time to time, then pull out the ones that I think are relevant for the interview and refamiliarise myself with them.

thanks 3 users thanked Kate for this useful post.
Charlie Brown on 01/03/2018(UTC), WatsonD on 02/03/2018(UTC), charlottewdhd on 09/03/2018(UTC)
boigy77  
#3 Posted : 01 March 2018 21:09:21(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
boigy77

Thanks Kate. I am just getting cpd underway so that should help in future. I have been dissecting the job description, so I will try and cover as many questions from that as possible, but also look beyond.
Charlie Brown  
#4 Posted : 01 March 2018 23:13:12(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Charlie Brown

I think Kate has given some excellent advice here but I would like to add that sometimes interviewers will ask a question about something for which you have no experience.

For example, "How would you plan for access to a roof?"

If you don't know the answer then rather than say "I don't know"  or just try to fluff your way through you could show them how you would find out the information you need, such as seeking advise from places like HSE Guidance or even asking the question on this forum.

Nobody knows everything but a prospective employer always wants to know that you know how to find answers.

Edited by user 01 March 2018 23:14:52(UTC)  | Reason: spelling

thanks 1 user thanked Charlie Brown for this useful post.
Kate on 02/03/2018(UTC)
RayRapp  
#5 Posted : 02 March 2018 08:18:24(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Some really good advice given, all I would is to do your homework about the prospective company. Go on their website and review what they do, how they do it, what safety systems they utilise, etc.

hilary  
#6 Posted : 02 March 2018 08:27:11(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
hilary

A lot of competency based interviews also rely very heavily on equality, diversity, inclusion and other "soft" subjects so make sure you're very well versed on this as well as the technical competencies.

boigy77  
#7 Posted : 02 March 2018 10:39:39(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
boigy77

Some great advice everyone, thanks.

Hsquared14  
#8 Posted : 02 March 2018 12:58:32(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

Don't forget also that you can demonstrate competence by reference to transferrable skills from previous experience.  Good luck, hope the interview goes well.

A Kurdziel  
#9 Posted : 05 March 2018 13:01:52(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

Organisations that use competency based recruitment usually have a list of general competencies eg

•            Team Working

•            Understanding the business

•            Ensuring compliance with corporate goals (including legal)

•            Delivering the service

•            etc

At each level in the organisation there will be requirements for working at that level so for Team Working it might be (these are very simplified)

•            Band One- listening and doing what you are told to do

•            Band Two- speaking up and contributing to the team

•            Band Three- leading he team

•            Band Four-aligning team goals fully with organisational requirements

•            Etc

These will be related to  H&S role taking into account what the role is, be it technical ( eg face fit testing,  reporting accidents etc) to a more senior  leading type role , to  being responsible for a whole site or being a national manager etc.

By explaining the competences required before the interview you avoid that situation where a person turns up ready to talk about the H&S training they can do and the interviewer wanting to talk about how good the candidate is at drafting policies.

You should prepare a series of situations you have dealt with in the past based on the STAR model mentioned (Situation-Task-Action-Result) and that is what they ask you about. They should refer back to the general competencies and there should be one or two examples per relevant competency.

It is important that you talk about what YOU did and avoid saying “we did this”.  The interviewers will press you on that, so be ready.

thanks 1 user thanked A Kurdziel for this useful post.
boigy77 on 05/03/2018(UTC)
Ian Bell2  
#10 Posted : 06 March 2018 11:39:01(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

I went to a 'competency based' interview about 6mths ago, with a large well known German engineering company.

It was a disaster!! The 2 interviewers were useless, I don't think they had very much experience.

The interviewers spent the vast majority of the interview 'heads down' scribbling notes. 

What questions they asked were pre-scripted and formatted. They had no free flowing conversation about the job or what I could bring to the company etc.

Competency interviews, seem to be the latest 'in thing' with HR.

Job interviews are like 1st dates - you either hit it off and get a 2nd date/interview or you get blown out.

I didn't get the job.... no great loss, if that was an indication of what it might have been like working for the large German company.

A Kurdziel  
#11 Posted : 06 March 2018 11:57:57(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

Competency based interviews are in theory better than the traditional ones where you turn up and the interviewer takes one look at the interviewee and decides whether they like them or not without providing any evidence that they can do the job.  Like a lot of things that are good in theory it can break down if the interviewer does not understand what is required of them. Simply following the script is not really enough- they have to use the questions as starting point and see where it goes. They need to write notes as they have to both justify why they chose a particular candidate and why they rejected the others. I have been to interviews where they really wanted someone in particular and even if I could walk on water and perform miracles I would not have been chosen. This system means that they would have had to at least consider me based I what I could do as opposed to the impression I gave.

The secret of these competency base interviews is to prepare your case- you can’t just busk it and hope to blag your way through.

boigy77  
#12 Posted : 08 March 2018 12:43:07(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
boigy77

Well interview done, without tempting fate or getting carried away I would say its one of the best interviews I have had. A lot of that would be down to the interviewers techniques, informal, interviewing for the actual role and not nasa, and it was onlt part competency based. Was in for nearly an hour for an interview I was told would be 30 minutes, 45 minutes max, hopefully that's a good sign.

Even if I don't get the job its went a long way to erasing the 'court martial' interview I suffered a few weeks back lol.

thanks 1 user thanked boigy77 for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 08/03/2018(UTC)
boigy77  
#13 Posted : 09 March 2018 18:25:43(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
boigy77

Got a follow up call this afternoon, I will be one of those they wish to chat to further, well chuffed. Finding it really hard not to get carried away, this role would be everything I am looking for.

What would a 2nd interview/chat involve, as I mentioned earlier I don't have a great deal of interview experience, and now panicking that I have said everything I could in the first one lol.

boigy77  
#14 Posted : 21 March 2018 08:41:14(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
boigy77

Leaving for my 2nd interview shortly, hoping its as good as the first one and nerves are kicking in a wee bit, thats a good thing right?

Kate  
#15 Posted : 21 March 2018 08:49:53(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

Good luck!

Yes, you're supposed to be nervous.  If you're not, it's a sign that either you don't want the job or you are arrogant, and they don't want those people.

thanks 1 user thanked Kate for this useful post.
boigy77 on 21/03/2018(UTC)
boigy77  
#16 Posted : 22 March 2018 14:35:03(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
boigy77

Well the job hunt is over, got the role, and I am over the moon. The whole process has been pretty stressful tbh, but the high I felt when I got the call last night has made it worth it.

I applied for maybe 30 jobs, but only got 3 interviews, or 4 if you count the 2 for the job I actually got.
First interview I felt went excellent, but didn't get it. (1st low)
Second one, and the original reason for this post, was horrific, but I suppose it helped in that I was determined to be prepared for all eventualities. (tremendous 2nd low, felt like giving up)
Third one, I actually felt the stress lifting through the first interview, the interviewers had a fabulous manner and technique. The fourth was yesterdays. This is the kind of role and opportunity I have been looking for, so hopefully do not have to go through the job hunt process again, or at least for a very long time.

Good luck to everyone still looking.

thanks 2 users thanked boigy77 for this useful post.
WatsonD on 26/03/2018(UTC), A Kurdziel on 26/03/2018(UTC)
Kate  
#17 Posted : 24 March 2018 11:58:12(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

Great to hear that and I hope I will soon be able to say the same.

thanks 2 users thanked Kate for this useful post.
boigy77 on 26/03/2018(UTC), A Kurdziel on 26/03/2018(UTC)
boigy77  
#18 Posted : 26 March 2018 09:00:56(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
boigy77

Thanks Kate, and good luck.

peter gotch  
#19 Posted : 26 March 2018 12:13:07(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Well done Boigy!

thanks 1 user thanked peter gotch for this useful post.
boigy77 on 26/03/2018(UTC)
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