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‘SHINE to the TOP’ competency-based interview framework



I have developed a technique, which you can use at different kinds of behavioural interviews. There are certain competencies an employer would like you to demonstrate during this kind of interview.

So this framework I have designed could help you remember the key things you would need to describe during your competency interviews along with providing examples of situations where you have exhibited all or some of these competencies.

I called the framework – SHINE to the TOP. I hope that by employing it during your interviews, you will ‘shine to the top’ of the shortlisted candidates for the next selection round! And it will give you an idea what examples you will need to prepare to shine!

So SHINE stands for:

S – Stress tolerance. It is crucial for you to provide examples from your work experience when you were put under pressure. It could either be a situation when you had only a limited amount of time to complete a certain task, or a client has suddenly decided to make a last-minute change in a project plan and that has put you and other colleagues under stress. Or possibly, you thought you have almost made that important sale but the client has pulled out from the deal at the last minute and you are now faced with a challenge and stress of how to explain it to the boss. Make sure you don’t merely provide examples of stressful situations but also the ways you have dealt with your stress, such as for instance, sitting down and writing out your plan on how to make up the money lost through a client pulling out – day by day or maybe even hour by hour.

H – Honesty. This really speaks for itself. It is crucial you find suitable examples to demonstrate your honesty and integrity in the workplace. If you are running out of the work-related examples, you could perhaps provide some from your personal life.

I – Initiative.  Initiative is something all employers would love their employers to demonstrate on a daily basis. So try to find examples where you can show how you have volunteered for something at your job. For instance, it may be that your boss wanted somebody to prepare a training course for the team and you felt you could do it well and volunteered. Or you have expressed your wish to go to a different office for a week to train people there or simply share experiences. Or to work at the weekend to polish that important presentation. Or you have decided to test the ground and apply for a management post advertised at your company (this would also demonstrate confidence and self-belief!)

N- Networking skill. Have you managed to up sell a product by networking with your current clients? Have you attended an important conference and networked efficiently, which resulted in a few new clients coming on board? Or maybe you have networked within your current company between departments and established a regular inter-departmental meeting? These are just a few thoughts on some of the examples you may give to demonstrate your outstanding networking abilities.

E – Ethic (work ethic.)This is quite an elusive term and quite hard to define. I guess for me, good work ethic would mean coming to work on time, completing all the required tasks and serving a good example to the colleagues. But this could also include workplace integrity and honesty.  This competency is a hard one so you should think carefully about the examples that could be of relevance here.

And TOP stands for:

T – Team work. This all important team work! How many times have we heard about it at the job selection process or after we got the job. I believe it is relatively easy to find examples of successful team work but be warned – it is so easy to start talking about how your team has achieved this or that. Instead you would need to single out your particular contribution within that team. I would advise to use ‘I’ more often than ‘we’ when talking about the project you have completed in a team, or your leadership skills when leading a team towards a certain goal.

O – Organisational awareness. This is another difficult one. Here I would recommend collating two or three examples of when you had to speak on behalf of your company and promote its values and mission. It could be at an international conference, a trade show or an inspirational team building day with your colleagues or just simply as a manager inspiring your subordinates to achieve their monthly sales target for instance.

P – Problem solving. This is a relatively easy one in my opinion. Make sure you think of two to three occasions when you have solved a particular issue/problem or faced and overcome a challenge in a workplace. Some ideas may include, your subordinate has not attended his scheduled meeting with a client so you are faced with a potential disciplinary. What do you do? How do you tackle it? Or the project you have been leading is running late and is out of pocket – how do you deal with it? I would say this competency is one of the easiest to provide examples for since it is based purely on facts and outcomes.

Hope it was useful and you have enjoyed it. If you have any further questions on the framework or need some particular advice on how to prepare for an interview, don’t hesitate to get in touch at

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