The purpose of competency based interview questions is to quickly assess your mindset and overall attitude towards everything from working with others to dealing with customer concerns. Here’s a little insider tip: interviewers usually start asking competency questions once they get through with the questions specific to your skills for the job. Questions like this can either trip you up and catch you off guard or serve as the basis for a productive exchange, especially if you’re prepared to respond to such inquiries.
1. Discuss a time when you acted as a mentor for a co-worker.
2. Describe a creative solution you used to resolve an unexpected problem.
3. Do you have faults in your leadership abilities? If so, what are they and how can you improve?
How to Answer: Leadership doesn’t mean doing everything yourself. In fact, these questions are actually meant to gauge how well you work with others and how willing you are to be a team player. Don’t embellish with your examples. If you can’t think of something, give an example from a related situation. The last question determines how objective and honest you can be about your own leadership abilities. Remember that most employers aren’t looking for someone who is absolutely flawless.
4. Provide an example of how you explained a technical concept to a client or co-worker lacking your technical expertise.
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6. How do you encourage the sharing of relevant information?
7. How do you respond to negative feedback?
How to Answer: Competency based interview questions are meant to determine how well you communicate with others, including your ability to simplify difficult concept. The customer service question about negative feedback is meant to determine whether or not you’re capable of dealing with customer comments that aren’t all that positive in a courteous, constructive manner. With a few of your examples, briefly discuss what you learned from those interactions.
8. Can you tell me about a time when you consulted others when making important project decisions?
9. Have there been times when you’ve delayed making a decision? If so, please explain your reason.
10. Can you give me an example of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and how it impacted some decisions you’ve made based on the results of the assessment?
How to Answer: You’ll notice that interviewers tend to want specific examples to illustrate your abilities. It’s not unusual for questions to be fairly complex in nature, often involving multiple, related parts. Don’t get overwhelmed. Instead, answer questions one point at at time by providing relevant, easy to digest examples. If you forget the rest of the question, politely ask the interviewer to repeat it.
Think of competency based interview questions as the behavioral part of the interview. As you can see from the above examples, competency questions can determine factors such as which of your achievements you consider the most important, your professional priorities in given situations, your leadership abilities and how you deal with conflict. The best answers, regardless of what’s asked, are clear, honest (don’t just say what you think the interviewer wants to hear) and well-thought-out.
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