Competency based interview questions attempt to link together three parameters – knowledge, skills, and attitude. These competency based questions will assess whether you have the right balance between great interpersonal skills, education or experience, and the right attitude for the role in question.
Below you will find 10 of the most widespread competency based interview questions that interviewers like to utilise, and sample answers in order to help you handle the question quickly and effectively to secure you the role you desire.
1. Give an example of a time you handled conflict in the workplace
Your interviewer will assess your adaptability and gauge the constructiveness of your approach towards conflict, tension and differences of opinion. Your example(s) should highlight the importance of your role in resolving these issues.
2. Give an example of a challenge you faced in the workplace, and how you overcame it
If you are entering the workplace direct from school, college or university, this question will be geared towards your academic experiences.
Provide a great example of a task that involved using as many skills and abilities as possible. An ideal answer to this question enables you to demonstrate your ability to work in a team, display leadership skills and handle pressure.
3. What is your biggest achievement?
Ideally, use a work-related example to illustrate your key career achievement. Highlight exactly why you consider it important, with details of the role you played. If your biggest achievement in life is related to your personal life, use commercial references such as budget slashing, determination, commitment and team work to communicate all the associated positive aspects.
4. How did you reach the decision that you wanted to change your job and work for us?
Make time for detailed research of the company and vacancy. Your answer should encompass analysis of the company and role attributes and the wide range of qualities you bring. In terms of competencies, the interviewer is ensuring you can make well-informed and timely decisions, and that you perceive the impact and implication of decisions you may make.
5. Tell me about a time your communication skills improved a situation
You will be assessed on your abilities to communicate effectively and sensitively and should use an appropriate work-related example, possibly entailing handling disgruntled customers or colleagues and highlighting your excellent listening skills as well as verbal communication skills
6. Give an example of change in the workplace and how you handled this
If you have managed change in the workplace, this is an ideal question to illustrate all your skills and abilities. If not, answer in a way which demonstrates your flexibility and the positive manner in which you meet challenges.
7. Give an example of a time you identified a new approach to a workplace problem
This question is a test of your analytical skills and likely to be asked of management candidates who need to prepare a great example which illustrates key skills such as analysis, problem solving, innovation and practicality. Candidates for administration-type posts asked questions of this nature might use simple work-based examples such as when their budgeting skills caused substantial savings in areas such as postal charges, stationery purchases, etc.
8. When did you work hardest and feel greatest achievement?
This question could be classed as a gift as you can use the responses given for questions 2 and 3 above. Just build upon them to further highlight the examples already mentioned. A question of this nature is geared towards assessing your motivational competencies, such as energy, focus and initiative.
9. Give an example of team leading in past employment
You should summarise the task and nature of the group but focus primarily upon your role as team leader. List the personal qualities you possess which made you ideal for leading this team and how you achieved success. Conclude your answer by giving examples of the lessons you learnt while leading this team.
10. How do you cope in adverse circumstances?
This is quite a wide question and you will need to think carefully about the response you prepare to the question. The interviewer will be assessing your coping mechanisms and whether you learnt and progressed from your adversity. Again, a question of this nature can be linked back to a previous question (1) and your answer can build upon the response previously given.
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