Tips and tricks for competency-based interviews

While there are many different formats that a job interview can take, one of the most common interview styles is competency-based interviewing, also known as situational or behavioural interviewing.

We’ve put together some tips to help you answer competency-based interview questions, as well as some ideas on what you can do to prepare in advance.

What is a competency-based interview?

In a competency-based interview you’ll be asked to give specific examples of situations in the past where you have demonstrated a skill that is important to the role you have applied for.

Though this can be daunting, it’s also a great opportunity for you to expand on your CV and give concrete examples of why you are a good fit for the role.

How to prepare for a competency-based interview

The best thing you can do in advance is to take a detailed look at the job description and identify the key skills or experiences they’re looking for. Use these to go back through your CV and past experiences to find examples of roles or situations where you’ve demonstrated these skills.

At the end of this article there are some more generic questions that you can use to prepare with, but there are likely to be more specific questions dependent on what industry and role you are interviewing for.

Even if you don’t get to use the specific examples you’ve come up with in your interview, it’s a good way to get you thinking about what you have to offer, and what you’ve done so far in you career.

How do you answer competency-based questions?

Because the answers need to be detailed, we recommend using the STAR technique to structure your responses:

Situation start out by briefly outlining the situation

Task describe what your responsibility was within that situation

Action what actions you took

Result what was the outcome of your actions

 Example questions

 Can you give me an example of a time when you’ve led a team?

 Describe a situation where something went wrong at work, and how you managed this.

 Tell me about a situation where you had to convince other people to change a process or way or working, and how you went about doing that.

 Have you ever had to work with someone who was dishonest? How did you deal with the situation?

 Tell me about your greatest success at work, and how you achieved it.