A Guide to Competency Based Interviews Questions | Career Advice

Alas, what a feeling it is to finally get that interview call you have been waiting for! But hey, don’t get jittery before the interview. It is undoubtedly stressful to give an interview, but if you are well prepared, nothing can stop you from landing that dream job of yours!

When thinking about how to prepare for an interview, one must know the importance of competency-based interview questions and prepare accordingly. So, what are they? Competency-based questions are interview questions that need candidates to state real-life examples as the basis of their answers. Candidates should describe why they made certain decisions, how they executed these decisions and why certain outcomes took place.

Why are competency-based interview questions important? Employment professionals believe that the best way to evaluate a candidate’s potential future performance is to ask candidates about their past performance. However, graduate candidates don’t usually have any experience of the industry to which they are applying. Thus, it is impossible for interviewers to discuss prior job roles.

Instead, interviewers use competency questions to have candidates show how they have performed in various situations in the past, revealing individual personality traits. These are a great way for recruiters to find out exactly who a candidate is and how they may act if employed.

Here is a guide to competency-based interview questions.

Know the key competencies the recruiter is looking for. Communication is one of the most important competencies a potential employer is looking for. Irrespective of the position or industry, the way we interact with others is vital and you need to be able to build and maintain exceptional relationships with clients and colleagues. An example question could be: ‘Tell us about a time you had to adjust your communication approach to suit a particular audience.’

Another key competency being looked at is Teamwork. Businesses cannot work appropriately without good teamwork. Collaborative working can achieve results, improve productivity and boost performance. An example question might be: ‘Describe a situation in which you were working as part of a team. How did you make a contribution?’

Decision making and leadership are other key competencies a recruiter will always want to assess. Good decision making will help you solve problems, develop solutions and make efficiencies. Example question can be: ‘Give an example of a time when you had to make a difficult decision.’ Leadership is a valuable attribute for many reasons – such as showing that you can coordinate, motivate and lead a successful team. An example question could be: ‘Describe a situation when you assumed the role of leader. Were there any challenges, and how did you address them?’

Once you identify these key competencies, use the STAR technique to devise your answers. This is what the STAR technique stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This means setting the scene (situation), describing what you wanted to achieve (task), communicating what you actually did (action), and then talking about the result – how was the situation resolved?

Develop a story for each key competency you have identified and ensure that you keep a positive tone while telling that story and that it sounds natural.

Good luck!

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