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    (Original post by Tortious)
    I wonder whether they see the irony in the question.
    I don't think they would appreciate it. :no: Similarly for ones like "when did you not prepare sufficiently?" or "when were you asked to do something you did not expect?" or "give an example where you made a mistake.".
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    (Original post by alex_hk90)
    Another problem I have with the competency questions is that I feel that I have to force situations to fit what they ask, for example, if the question was something like "give an example of a situation where you were asked to change how you were doing something, disagreed, but had to do so anyway?" and the real answer was "this situation has never occurred to me", I don't think that would suffice as an answer. And then a lot of companies say they want honesty. :rolleyes:
    The idea of competency is that you think of a scenario and how you responded/reacted, it gives employers an insight of the likely behaviour that you will display should that occur which is a good predictor of a job performance (potential). Of course candidates have clocked on that they can event such scenario rendering the process fruitless....

    However, mate, its a game: "play it"... simples lol, companies obviously need to have some filter mechanism and generally a business is about who is gonna make the most money £££. A lot of business is BS as well, schmoozing CEO's and sucking up etc.

    Since it seems the world is about who you know this is all made even worse :P
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    (Original post by ebam_uk)
    The idea of competency is that you think of a scenario and how you responded/reacted, it gives employers an insight of the likely behaviour that you will display should that occur which is a good predictor of a job performance (potential). Of course candidates have clocked on that they can event such scenario rendering the process fruitless....

    However, mate, its a game: "play it"... simples lol, companies obviously need to have some filter mechanism and generally a business is about who is gonna make the most money £££. A lot of business is BS as well, schmoozing CEO's and sucking up etc.

    Since it seems the world is about who you know this is all made even worse :P
    Yeah I know, I'm just not that comfortable with sacrificing moral integrity to do so.

    And one day I'll have to run my own company with a much more sensible recruitment process, that won't involve a single competency question.
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    (Original post by alex_hk90)
    Yeah I know, I'm just not that comfortable with sacrificing moral integrity to do so.

    And one day I'll have to run my own company with a much more sensible recruitment process, that won't involve a single competency question.
    How will you differentiate between candidates? I dislike competency questions - I had one which was 'where do you think you fall in your year group?' (average to below average isn't what they're looking for here...) but they do seem to work quite well...
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    (Original post by alex_hk90)
    I don't understand why they don't just test things that are actually relevant to the job?
    I've been wondering this for a while. I have several theories:

    1) HR departments need to justify their existence, so they claim that they know a better way of testing competence than the clearly absurd idea of testing competence.
    2) People are stupid.
    3) Companies are purposefully selecting for dishonesty, overconfidence or the ability to talk yourself up.
    4) The people who are trying to employ you are the ones who got through that sort of question and their sense of self worth leads them to believe that that sort of question is a good test of competence.
    5) They're testing for either the ability to put up with nonsense or the lack of ability to think for yourself.
    6) Asking and scoring competency questions is easy.
    7) They're testing for how much you bother to prepare for the interview.
    8) There are good reasons to do it that don't occur to me.

    1, 3 and 5 probably attach too much consciousness to the process, so I expect it's a combination of 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 (along with other reasons that haven't occurred to me).

    ebam_uk has given the standard explanation, but several things have never been clear to me:

    a) Why you can expect someone to have been in the given situation.
    b) How you can tell whether people did act the way that they claim that they did.
    c) Why a single example picked by the candidate is a good indicator of how the candidate would normally act.
    d) Whether anyone has actually measured how the answers correspond to job performance.
    e) How you even measure job performance.
    (Original post by alex_hk90)
    And then a lot of companies say they want honesty. :rolleyes:
    That's always a good one.
    (Original post by alex_hk90)
    "when did you not prepare sufficiently?"
    A bit of advice: "when preparing for this interview" doesn't go down well.
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    3) Companies are purposefully selecting for dishonesty, overconfidence or the ability to talk yourself up.
    I reckon for various lines of work (*cough* banking, law, consulting *cough*) this is definitely a virtue
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    (Original post by The West Wing)
    I reckon for various lines of work (*cough* banking, law, consulting *cough*) this is definitely a virtue
    I'd say that all three can definitely be an advantage, but I don't know whether they purposefully select for them.

    With people I know, the correlation between cheating at CATAM and going into investment banking is interesting. And the only person I know to have lied on a non-competency question on an application form is now working at an investment bank. (He claimed to know a programming language. As he was later tested on the programming language, he didn't get the internship.)
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    (Original post by alex_hk90)
    I don't think they would appreciate it. :no: Similarly for ones like "when did you not prepare sufficiently?" or "when were you asked to do something you did not expect?" or "give an example where you made a mistake.".
    My favourite one I've been asked is 'what are you THREE biggest weaknesses'
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    My favourite interview question:

    "You appear to have been very successful, but have you ever failed at anything?"

    Interview answer: "Well, I failed my driving test. It was really disappointing but it taught me the value of hard work and of picking yourself up and having another go."

    Never learnt to drive :p: I just - at the risk of sounding arrogant - don't feel like I have ever genuinely failed at anything. If I was ever bad at something I wanted to be good at, I would just work extra hard at it in order to be good at it, which is how I clocked up two hours of piano practice a night when I was 15/16 and got an A* in my Music GCSE without a musical bone in my body. I'm sure this is the approach that most successful people take. However, I'm not confident that answering honestly would have got me the job. So it's a dumb question.
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    (Original post by harr)
    With people I know, the correlation between cheating at CATAM and going into investment banking is interesting.
    How many CATAM cheats do you know? Hope they got caught!
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    (Original post by lopterton)
    How many CATAM cheats do you know? Hope they got caught!
    Four. And they did get caught, though I can't really say that they got punished.
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    If anyone happens to be able to contact the Girton Women's Badminton Captain within the next 20 minutes or so and let her know the Leys is closed, I will literally love you forever. I'm running out of methods to get this message to her and I don't know if she's received it!

    Edit: Nvm. Slumpy managed it
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    (Original post by Topaz_eyes)
    How will you differentiate between candidates? I dislike competency questions - I had one which was 'where do you think you fall in your year group?' (average to below average isn't what they're looking for here...) but they do seem to work quite well...
    I'm not sure they do work so well. I would actually have the candidates demonstrate said competencies - so for team working have a role play where they work in a team, for presentation skills give them information and get them to present it, for persuasiveness get them to argue something to someone who has the opposing view, etc.

    (Original post by harr)
    I've been wondering this for a while. I have several theories:

    1) HR departments need to justify their existence, so they claim that they know a better way of testing competence than the clearly absurd idea of testing competence.
    2) People are stupid.
    3) Companies are purposefully selecting for dishonesty, overconfidence or the ability to talk yourself up.
    4) The people who are trying to employ you are the ones who got through that sort of question and their sense of self worth leads them to believe that that sort of question is a good test of competence.
    5) They're testing for either the ability to put up with nonsense or the lack of ability to think for yourself.
    6) Asking and scoring competency questions is easy.
    7) They're testing for how much you bother to prepare for the interview.
    8) There are good reasons to do it that don't occur to me.

    1, 3 and 5 probably attach too much consciousness to the process, so I expect it's a combination of 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 (along with other reasons that haven't occurred to me).

    ebam_uk has given the standard explanation, but several things have never been clear to me:

    a) Why you can expect someone to have been in the given situation.
    b) How you can tell whether people did act the way that they claim that they did.
    c) Why a single example picked by the candidate is a good indicator of how the candidate would normally act.
    d) Whether anyone has actually measured how the answers correspond to job performance.
    e) How you even measure job performance.
    I think you've summed it up pretty well. :yep:

    (Original post by harr)
    A bit of advice: "when preparing for this interview" doesn't go down well.
    Yeah, that was pretty much what I was implying.

    (Original post by The West Wing)
    I reckon for various lines of work (*cough* banking, law, consulting *cough*) this is definitely a virtue
    Perhaps so.

    (Original post by The West Wing)
    My favourite one I've been asked is 'what are you THREE biggest weaknesses'
    That would be hard - I struggled when I was asked for two. How about:
    1) I have no weaknesses.
    2) Oh wait, arrogance.
    3) And now dishonesty as 1) no longer applies. ?

    (Original post by Zoedotdot)
    My favourite interview question:

    "You appear to have been very successful, but have you ever failed at anything?"

    Interview answer: "Well, I failed my driving test. It was really disappointing but it taught me the value of hard work and of picking yourself up and having another go."

    Never learnt to drive :p: I just - at the risk of sounding arrogant - don't feel like I have ever genuinely failed at anything. If I was ever bad at something I wanted to be good at, I would just work extra hard at it in order to be good at it, which is how I clocked up two hours of piano practice a night when I was 15/16 and got an A* in my Music GCSE without a musical bone in my body. I'm sure this is the approach that most successful people take. However, I'm not confident that answering honestly would have got me the job. So it's a dumb question.
    I agree, and thankfully I've never been asked if I've failed anything. I'd also be tempted to use my first driving test. Can't think of much else apart from other job applications but it's obviously not something I'd want to talk about at a job interview.
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    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...ther_multiline
    Hooray!
    :judge:
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    PRSOM.
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    (Original post by Tortious)
    PRSOM.
    :ditto:
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    Urgh, I got the "failure" question recently. My approach to this competency BS is to hijack the question and turn it into something that makes me die inside a little bit less. So when asked about an example of failure I simply spoke about the difficulties I encountered on my last internship and what I did to deal with them.
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    See this is where failing grade one violin comes in handy.

    The world seems to be conspiring against me so I don't get to play sport which is very annoying, no football frisbee or basketball in the end.
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    (Original post by alex_hk90)
    I agree, and thankfully I've never been asked if I've failed anything. I'd also be tempted to use my first driving test. Can't think of much else apart from other job applications but it's obviously not something I'd want to talk about at a job interview.
    I've never actually taken a driving test, much less failed one, but it was all I could think of that sounded plausible!
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    (Original post by Zoedotdot)
    I've never actually taken a driving test, much less failed one, but it was all I could think of that sounded plausible!
    :eek: See I don't think I could stomach just making something up like that - obviously it's not that I physically couldn't do it, it's just that it wouldn't feel right. :dontknow:
Updated: October 5, 2012
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