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Top Tips for Competency Based Interviews

Firsty, what is a competency- based interview? This style of interview is meant to test exactly that: your competence. Unlike some interviewers who may be more interested in qualifications and previous qualifications, a competency based interviewer really wants to know whether you have the right skills to take the position on. 

Key Competencies could include: 

  • Teamwork
  • Responsibilty 
  • Communication Skills 
  • Decision making
  • Leadership 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Organisation 

Examples of Competency-based questions

  1. What has been your biggest achievement? Try to think of a work-based achievement to relate your answer to. Think why it was so important, how you achieved it and the outcome as a result of your actions, to make it a success. Reference skills such as teamwork, self-motivation and organisation, as well as the results of your work, such as slashing costs or reducing overheads.
  2. Could you give an example of where your communication skills helped to improve a situation? A high level of communication is a key competency, so use a work-related example where you can. Use an example such as dealing with an aggressive or disgruntled customer or turned a negative into a positive, such as a complaint to a sale. Highlight your listening skills as well as verbal.
  3. Could you demonstrate a time where you have had to manage or lead a team? Summarise your role before demonstrating how you acted as a leader and got your team to perform. Explain which of your abilities were used to complete the task at hand and how you achieved success. Give examples of any lessons learnt.

  4. Could you tell me a time where you handled conflict within the workplace? Answer carefully how you approached an uneasy situation in the workplace. Maybe it was a difference of opinion or heated exchange between colleagues, the interviewer will be looking to see how you adapted to this type of situation.

  5. Could you let me know a time where you have overcome an obstacle or challenge in the workplace? Think of competencies such as teamwork, leadership or communication and use them in your answer. An obstacle may have been where you were understaffed and how you dealt with the extra work demands, where you lead a team to get a project done under tight deadlines or had to work remotely to get work completed.
  6. Have you recognised an issue in the workplace that you have had to overcome through your own initiative? An example may be where you have identified an expense to the business that is unnecessary, or perhaps a failure with an internal database that was preventing or damaging customer care or the firm’s reputation. Demonstrate the initiative shown to fix the problem and how you achieved it.
  7. Have you had to handle change or disruption in the workplace? OK, so here you can demonstrate those key capabilities and competencies to deal with the change. Chances are it may have been a whole host of competencies required here, from communication and teamwork to using empathy and experience. Be positive in your answer to demonstrate your skills!

Our top tips for competency-based interviews:

PREP, PREP, PREP – pick out key skills highlighted in the job description and prepare examples of how you’ve displayed those skills.

USE EXAMPLES - including during education, employment, sports or in your daily life.  For example, if they’re looking for someone with excellent teamwork and leadership skills, think of a scenario in which you’ve demonstrated this. As well as workplace situations, consider, for example, a group presentation, a club you have run or even being captain of your football team.

BE YOU – relate your answers to you, your life and work experience, just be you!

We hope this helps! Check out Clever HR’s other News Blogs on our website and socials for other helpful hints and tips for interviewing and general career advice.