These used to be extremely popular, I see them less often now but they are still used, especially in some assessment centres and structured recruitment processes.

Do I think they are particularly good at doing their job?

Not really, but I do understand their use when somebody who is not necessarily experienced in the sector is trying to evaluate a person’s overall capabilities.

In case you have never been involved in one, the interviewer will ask you a question that is designed to show a particular skill or characteristic, or in HR terms a competency. This might be communication skills, customer care, ability to work under pressure what are deadlines.

And the question might be as absolutely simple as “Tell me about a time when you went the extra mile for a customer” or even “Tell me about a time when you felt under pressure at work and how you handled it”. The infuriating thing for me is that people who are experienced in this type of interview always have a great story that every question. And nobody ever checks whether those questions are true or not. You get a score for the competency and how well you have demonstrated it, in reality even if you are just a good storyteller during the interview and not a great performer in real life.

But they are here to stay, and you might as well expect them and prepare for them. Google them or look on YouTube, there are plenty of examples out there.

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