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Competency‐based interviewing – has it gone too far?

Paul Derek Martin (Managing Director, Martin Associates, Buckhurst Hill, UK.)
John Pope (Director, Woolhampton Management Services, Ross‐on‐Wye, UK.)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 14 March 2008




The purpose of this paper is to provide a critique of the inflexible use of competency models in organisations and, in particular, to explore the limitations of competency based interviews and stress the need for alternative approaches, e.g. wider use of job sampling, biographically based interviews and ability tests at the recruitment stage. The paper suggests that there is nothing fundamentally new in the competency‐based approach but suggests that its ubiquity may be counterproductive in an exponential world where constant reappraisals of skills, attributes and behaviours are required.


The paper provides a critique of the inflexible use of competency models in organisations.


Many competency models are not sufficiently clear or dynamic for effective use in constantly changing organisations. Competency‐based interviewing per se is an overly restrictive and increasingly blunt selection instrument.

Practical Implications

The paper reveals the need to constantly review competency models and argues for complementary selection techniques to be used in addition to competency‐based interviews.


Adds to the growing literature critical of rigid application of competency models, particularly in the selection arena.



Derek Martin, P. and Pope, J. (2008), "Competency‐based interviewing – has it gone too far?", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 40 No. 2, pp. 81-86.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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