Competency-based interviewing is used by employers to ascertain whether an individual’s skills, abilities and motivation match those in the job specification. It delves deeper than a traditional interviewing style to ensure that the candidate has the right competencies – knowledge, application of skills and undertaking of tasks in the workplace – to be considered a suitable candidate for the role. It is recommended that candidates informed that they will be undergoing a competency-based interview prepare answers to the following questions which are typical examples of those used in such an interview.
- Tell me about a time when you changed your priorities to meet others' expectations.
- Describe a time when you altered your own behaviour to fit the situation.
- Tell me about a time when you had to change your point of view or your plans to take into account new information or changing priorities.
- Give an example of how you provided service to a client/stakeholder beyond their expectations. How did you identify the need? How did you respond?
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a client/stakeholder service issue.
- Describe a situation in which you acted as an advocate within your organization for your stakeholder’s needs, where there was some organizational resistance to be overcome.
- Describe a situation you were involved in that required a multi-dimensional communication strategy.
- Give an example of a difficult or sensitive situation that required extensive communication.
- Tell me about a time when you really had to pay attention to what someone else was saying, actively seeking to understand their message.
- Describe the culture of your organization and give an example of how you work within this culture to achieve a goal.
- Describe the things you consider and the steps you take in assessing the viability of a new idea or initiative.
- Tell me about a time when you used your knowledge of the organization to get what you needed.
Problem solving and judgment
- Tell me about a time when you had to identify the underlying causes to a problem.
- Describe a time when you had to analyze a problem and generate a solution.
- Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a problem or make a decision that required careful thought. What did you do?
- Tell me about a time when you set and achieved a goal.
- Tell me about a time when you improved the way things were typically done on the job.
- Describe something you have done to improve the performance of your work unit.
- Describe something you have done to maximize or improve the use of resources beyond your own work unit to achieve improved results.
- Tell me about a time when you worked successfully as a member of a team.
- Describe a situation where you were successful in getting people to work together effectively.
- Describe a situation in which you were a member (not a leader) of a team, and a conflict arose within the team. What did you do?
- Tell me about a time when you coached someone to help them improve their skills or job performance. What did you do?
- Describe a time when you provided feedback to someone about their performance.
- Give me an example of a time when you recognized that a member of your team had a performance difficulty/deficiency. What did you do?
Impact and influence
- Describe a recent situation in which you convinced an individual or a group to do something.
- Describe a time when you went through a series of steps to influence an individual or a group on an important issue.
- Describe a situation in which you needed to influence different stakeholders with differing perspectives.
- Describe something you have done that was new and different for your organization that improved performance and/or productivity.
- Tell me about a time when you identified a new, unusual or different approach for addressing a problem or task.
- Tell me about a recent problem in which old solutions wouldn't work. How did you solve the problem?
- Tell me about a time when you had to lead a group to achieve an objective.
- Describe a situation where you had to ensure that your “actions spoke louder than your words” to a team.
- Describe a situation where you inspired others to meet a common goal.
- Describe a situation in which you developed an effective win/win relationship with a stakeholder or client. How did you go about building the relationship?
- Tell me about a time when you relied on a contact in your network to help you with a work-related task or problem.
- Give me an example of a time when you deliberately attempted to build rapport with a co-worker or customer.
- Describe a situation in which you took a creative approach to resourcing to achieve a goal.
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a particular resource management issue regarding people, materials or assets.
- Describe the options you would consider to resource a project or goal if you did not have the available resources within your own span of control.
- Describe a situation in which you established a partnership with another organization or stakeholder to achieve a mutual goal. What steps did you take to ensure the partnership was effective?
- Describe the level of stress in your job and what you do to manage it.
- Describe a time when you were in a high-pressure situation.
- Describe a time when things didn't turn out as you had planned and you had to analyze the situation to address the issue.
- Describe a challenge or opportunity you identified based on your industry knowledge, and how you developed a strategy to respond to it.
- Describe a time you created a strategy to achieve a longer-term business objective.
- Describe a time when you used your business knowledge to understand a specific business situation.
Have you read our other guides to help you prepare for interview?