Top Tips for Tackling a Competency Based Interview

The main difference between a competency-based interview and a more general interview is that most of the questions will relate to situations and past experiences you have had within your previous academic or professional environments.

For example: Instead of being asked whether you like to work as a part of a team, you’ll be asked to describe an example of a time in the past when you did so effectively .

Understanding how you behaved in that situation allows the interviewer an insight into how you may behave in the role, helping them decide whether you are the right person for the position.

What will I be asked?

The questions you are asked will depend on the job you are applying for. Being familiar with the Job Description and picking out key word such as ‘good communication skills’ or ‘problem solver’ can give a good indication to the kind of examples you may be expected to give.

How do I answer?

In preparation, it is a good idea to make a list of competencies you think will be covered and for each one try to think up two or three examples of when you used your skills and strengths in that area to achieve a positive result.

A method which is suggested by a variety of Recruitment experts is the STAR technique to structure your answers in the interview – talking through the situation, task, actions and results.

•    Think of a situation where you applied the competency in question
•    Explain what the tasks were carried out
•    Describe the actions you took to fulfil those tasks
•    Highlight the results that were achieved

As well as narrating past experience with positive results, it is also important to demonstrate and detail challenges you have faced, how problems were overcome and show what you learned from the experience. Explain what went wrong, why it went wrong and what you would do differently next time around.