Ask a Coach

Q: I am having an interview soon.  Is there anything I need to do after my interview?

A: After an interview, it's important to evaluate how your interview went in order to improve for the future.  While the hope is that the interview went well enough for you to be offered the position, you can always learn from both the good and the bad parts of the interview to use this information for the future. 

Overall, how did your interview go?  Did you feel you answered the questions fully?  Did you use the STAR Method of answering questions?  Did you fully understand the questions asked?  Were your answers responsive to the questions?  Do you feel you truly prepared as much as you could or do you need more preparation next time?

I know it's not easy to make reflection on the interview the first thing you do afterwards; you might even want to forget what occurred.  Evaluating your preparation and performance, however, and using that information for future interviews could be just what you need for success.

The Importance of TSA's Core Competencies

As an employee of TSA, you might have heard the term "core competency" mentioned at some point, but you might not be quite sure what the importance of it is.

In fact, core competencies are an integral part of the functions of each position within TSA, so knowledge of the important competencies will benefit not only your day-to-day work, but also your path to career progression.


First off, what are core competencies? These are skills identified by TSA to be key to all positions and job levels within the agency. Successful implementation of the relevant competencies will help lead to success within the position. TSA specifically says a competency is an "observable, measurable pattern of skills, knowledge, abilities, behaviors, and other characteristics that an individual needs in order to perform work roles or occupational functions successfully." Implementing these competencies will not only improve your chances of professional success, it also helps TSA to carry out its core mission successfully.


Why is it important to know these TSA Core Competencies? If you understand the competencies required of your position, you'll be better able to carry out the competency well. There are also practical reasons that'll help with your job search and promotion chances.


First off, they're an integral part of every job announcement.  When you start reading through the required Vacancy Questionnaire that you must answer, you'll notice the questions are broken up into "Modules."  These are core competencies that have deemed to be most important for the position.  You need to ensure that your experience satisfies these competencies to give yourself the best chance of making the Best Qualified List.  Look at the job announcement of a position you'd be interested in holding in the future so you can identify and start working on improving the key core competencies.  If you want to understand what the different levels of proficiency are for each competency, you can review the TSA Competency Proficiency Levels here.  This resource also contains a definition of each core competency.


Another reason to understand the core competencies of the position is so you can prepare for a potential interview. The behavioral interview questions you'll be asked for the position cover those important competencies, so identifying your relevant experience and examples of when you implemented these competencies will help increase your chances of interview success.


When you've identified what competencies you'll need to implement for each position, how do you go about improving them?  The first thing you can do is identify and take the TSA Online Learning Center (OLC) Courses that are relevant to the competency you're looking to develop.  If you visit the TSA Career Coaching Career Toolbox, click on the box for "Competency Catalog" to open up a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet that separates out OLC courses by core competency.

Other ways to develop the core competencies are to self-identify which ones you'd like to work on and come up with ways you can improve them, or you can ask your supervisors or other management for ideas on how to work on strengthening those competencies.

Identifying and strengthening the TSA core competencies are an excellent way to increase your chances of success in your current and future positions.