Competency Based Interviews

A compentecy based interview is the most popular interview technique with modern companies. When attending interview you will often be told that it is to be 'competency based'. Therefore you need to know what one of these is, what to prepare and what sort of questions to expect.

The key aspect of a competency based interview is that it will try to find out about your competencies. What this means is that it will be very targetted to examples, rather than generic questions about your thoughts and feelings with regard your career and achievements.

Therefore when planning for a competency based interview, the key is to prepare examples from your career that highlight the various skills that you would be required to show in your new job.

Have an example of the following sorts of situations and scenarios to hand:

  • A situation where you resolved conflict with a colleague
  • A time you worked to a pressured deadline
  • The performance or project you are most proud of
  • A time when something went wrong and what you did to resolve it
  • An example that demonstrates good leadership skills
  • An example of working as a team to achieve a common goal
  • An example of upward management or inspiring others, if relevant
  • Examples of showing specific skills relevant for the job you're going for

By performing this mental exercise beforehand and making notes you will have ready to access examples of all these situations, which you will need at interview. Focus and hone in on your own contribution and ensure that you show yourself in a good light, whilst of course being honest.

Sample competency based interview questions are below, and as you'll see, they basically ask directly for the examples mentioned above.

Competency Based Interview Questions

  • Describe a situation where you disagreed with a colleague. What was the issue and how did you resolve it?
  • Describe a situation where you worked to a tight deadline on a project. What did you do to ensure that you met the required timescales?
  • Describe a situation where there were problems with a project. How did you identify the project and what did you do to mitigate or overcome those difficulties?
  • Leadership is an important aspect of this role. Please tell me about an occasion where you showed strong leadership, and the reaction you received from your peers and direct reports?
  • Please give me an example of a situation where you worked together well with others as a team to achieve a specific goal.