If you bought a tin of glue and discovered it didn’t hold 2 surfaces together you may get a little angry, if you had a guard dog but proceeded to run outside and bark yourself whenever an intruder approached your property you would be mad! Likewise would you want to recruit a police officer or a nurse with low emotional control? No, I didn’t think so!  So, why do so many organisations recruit without considering what it is they want people to do and how that service should be delivered.

The result of failing to identify the current competencies required for a role ultimately impacts upon motivation, productivity and service levels. Considering the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required of a job holder is an essential part of preparing to recruit.

Recruitment and Past Performance

  • Is past performance  an indicator of future potential? Be very careful with this notion!

If people recognise their past behaviour didn’t achieve the results they hoped for, they are likely to change their behaviour. A candidate may provide you with an example of their role in a situation that did not produce expected results.  Is the candidate marked down because they didn’t get the result they were looking for or marked up because they recognised the need to change? they learnt from past mistakes in order to improve. Past performance in a different context may not be the most reliable indicator of future potential.


When preparing questions  look at the present, find realistic scenarios that the candidate is likely to encounter in the role. Take real, present day problems and challenges and ask the candidate to tell you how they would address these.

Preparing questions to access the likely behaviours of a candidate following the Recruitment and Past Performance STAR method is an effective way of revealing how a candidate is likely to behave in a situation, but first you must decide what qualities you require.



In the following example the interviewer is looking for evidence of leadership qualities:

Question:  Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills.


      During my last quarter at university, I completed an internship at Saint’s Hospital in the Health Information Management department. I was the first and only intern the department had ever had, and they decided they wanted to continue with an official internship programme.

T      To successfully launch this my manager asked me to create andadminister a training course for the new, incominginterns.

A       To complete this task, first, I analysed and outlined all the procedures the new interns would need to learn about.  Next, I created a three day training agenda covering these topics. Finally, I presented it to the new interns.

R       The training was a huge success. On the  survey completed after the training, all the interns rated the program a 10 out of 10 in the areas of usefulness and creativity.   In addition, each intern rated my communication and leadership styles as excellent.

Your candidates responses and descriptions of what happened will reveal valuable information that will help you to assess how they analysed the situation, their emotional response and their ability to learn from experience.

Spectrain design competency based initiatives including competency frameworks, competency based development needs analysis and assessment centres. We also have a range of Recruitment and Selection Courses