Behavioural Competencies: The Hidden Currency of Resumes and Interviews

Nov 29 / Thanos Mengrelis
In the competitive job market, showcasing technical skills and experience on a resume is a given. But beyond these, behavioural competencies — the soft skills that indicate how one approaches work and interpersonal relationships — are increasingly becoming the deciding factor for employers.

As an English Tutor or an individual preparing candidates for the professional world, understanding how to articulate these competencies in resumes and interviews is crucial.
This blog will explore the importance of behavioural competencies in resume writing and their connection to potential interviews, with a focus on utilizing effective English language techniques.
Behavioural Competencies in Resumes
A resume that illustrates not only what you have done but also how you have approached your work can capture an employer’s attention. Behavioural competencies such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability are indicative of how one might perform in the future.
Example: Instead of writing: "Managed a team."
Craft a statement that highlights behavioural competencies:
"Led a diverse team of 10, fostering a collaborative environment that increased project delivery efficiency by 20%."

This statement doesn't just say you were a team leader; it shows that you embody leadership and teamwork competencies.

Articulating Behavioural Competencies in Interviews
During interviews, candidates often have the opportunity to bring their behavioural competencies to life.
The STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is an effective method to structure responses in English.
Interviewer: "Can you tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a significant change at work?"
Appropriate STAR response:
Situation: "In my previous role, our company merged with a larger organization."
Task: "I was tasked with leading my team through the transition, integrating new processes while maintaining morale."
Action: "I facilitated team-building exercises and weekly check-ins to address concerns."
Result: "As a result, my team not only met but exceeded our quarterly goals, and reported higher satisfaction levels."

This approach highlights adaptability and leadership while providing a memorable story that demonstrates these qualities in action.

Connecting Resume and Interview
The key to a successful interview lies in making a connection between the behavioural competencies listed on your resume and the examples you present during the interview. It’s about telling a consistent story.

Resume Statement:
"Thrives in high-pressure situations and adept at problem-solving under tight deadlines."

Connected Interview Example:
Interviewer: "How do you handle pressure?"
Candidate: "I excel in high-pressure situations. For instance, when faced with a critical deadline at XYZ Corp, I analysed the bottleneck, re-prioritized tasks, and coordinated with stakeholders to focus on critical deliverables. This approach helped us meet the deadline and secure client satisfaction."
Tips for English Usage in Resumes and Interviews

  • Active Language: Use strong action verbs that make your competencies come alive. Words like "orchestrated," "engineered," and "spearheaded" can be impactful.

  • Quantify Achievements: Whenever possible, use numbers and data to quantify your achievements and add credibility to your competencies.

  • Be Specific: Use precise language to describe exactly how you've demonstrated your competencies.

  • Practice: Before the interview, practice articulating your competencies in English, focusing on clarity and conciseness.

Behavioural competencies are the subtle threads that weave through your professional narrative. They are not just buzzwords to be sprinkled throughout your resume and interview responses but are reflections of your professional identity. The ability to effectively communicate these competencies in English, both written and spoken, can set you apart in the eyes of potential employers, demonstrating that you possess not only the requisite skills for the job but also the soft skills that can lead to long-term success and growth within the company.

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