Do you know how to answer competency based questions in an interview? The pressure of interviewing can make anyone nervous, but understanding the types of questions asked and having an idea of how to answer them is key to making sure your skills shine through.
In this article we’ll delve into what competency based questions are, why employers ask these types of questions, go over some examples, as well as provide you with some tips on how to prepare for answering these effectively. Let’s get started:
What are competency based questions?
Competency based questions are specific questions asked by an employer to gain insight into the applicant’s relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities. These types of questions generally start with phrases such as “Tell me about a time when…” or “Describe a situation where…”.
The aim of these questions is to gain insight into how the person has applied their skills, knowledge, and abilities in the past to a situation similar to what they may face in their new position. It also helps employers determine if an individual possesses the qualities they are looking for in a successful candidate.
How to answer competency based questions
When answering competency based questions, it’s important to provide specific examples that demonstrate your capability. You can structure answers using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action and Result).
- Situation – Describe the context of the situation you faced.
- Task – Explain what was required of you and what goal had to be achieved.
- Action – Explain how you took action to address the issue or accomplish a task.
- Result – Explain what the outcome was and how it benefited either yourself, your team, or your organization.
Competency based questions examples
Here are 10 examples of competency based questions you could be asked in an interview. Try using the STAR technique mentioned above to come up with your answers.
- Explain a difficult task you’ve had to overcome and how you did it.
- Describe a situation in which you had to work with a difficult customer or colleague.
- Describe an occasion when you had to troubleshoot a complex issue.
- Tell me about a time when you successfully led a team project to completion.
- Describe how your skills, experience or education make you suitable for this role.
- Explain how you have handled challenging deadlines in the past.
- Describe a situation where you had to provide feedback to an employee or a colleague.
- Explain how you have demonstrated leadership skills in previous roles.
- Tell us about a time when you had to make a difficult decision based on limited information.
- Describe a situation where you had to think outside the box for a solution.
Competency based interview tips:
- Do your research: Prepare for competency based questions by researching the position and understanding the skills and experience needed to be successful in the job.
- Practice: Rehearse answers to common competency-based questions to gain confidence when answering them during the interview.
- Be honest: Employers are looking for genuine examples of your past experiences, so avoid exaggerations or fabrications.
- Provide details: Remember to use the STAR method when answering a competency based question. Describe the Situation, Task, Action and Result in as much detail as possible.
- Demonstrate previous success: Show off your strengths by providing real-world examples that demonstrate successful outcomes within previous roles.
I think we can all agree, competency based questions can be intimidating, but if you focus on providing specific examples that demonstrate your skills and abilities, you will create a more engaging conversation with the employer, and this could make all the difference between walking away empty-handed, or landing the job you want. Good luck!