Home | Blogs | How to Nail a Competency-Based Interview Questions

How to Nail a Competency-Based Interview Questions

Moustafa Ahmed September 7, 2022 3 min
A recruiter that records notes during a competency based interview with a candidate

What’s a Competency-Based Interview?

A competency-based interview has one primary aim is to determine if the candidate has the specific skills and competencies the employer is looking for or not, to go on with further steps if possible. Questions focus on how the candidate will finish his tasks and solve problems. It also checks his behaviour in certain situations.


Competencies You Must Show on a Competency-Based Interview

Every role needs its tailored competencies; however, there are seven general competencies that every recruiter looks for in his candidate, which are:

  1. Being a team player
  2. Acquiring perfect communication skills
  3. Flexibility
  4. Problem-solving mindset
  5. Trustworthiness
  6. Time management
  7. Integrity

You should know how to cover these competencies according to real-life situations and your past experiences.


Top 5 Competency-Based Interview Questions & Answers

1- “How Do You Contribute to a Team?”

This question will evaluate your ability to collaborate with others. Here, you need to concentrate on the main value you try to add with each contribution, the problems that bother you, and how you handle them. If your responses are taken into account, you should mention them.

Support your answer with true events where you dealt with bad personalities in your team, cooperated with your team colleagues in facing challenges, or led a group of individuals towards success.

2- “How Do You Deal With the Challenges You Meet at Work?

Your response should demonstrate both your ability to solve problems and your level of adaptability by citing an actually difficult situation and how you handled it.

Was this something you’d done before? What steps did you take, and what technique did you employ to complete the task? And were the results at the end as expected or not?

3- “How Do You Meet Tight Deadlines at Work?”

You should be able to demonstrate your time management skills without getting overwhelmed or letting it affect the calibre of your work. Discuss the criteria you use to set the task’s priorities and whether you break it up into smaller tasks or not.

4- “What Mistakes Have You Made Before? And How Have You Handled Them?”

It’s a tricky question that might make you uneasy, but you must be open to answering it honestly and clearly. This establishes your trustworthiness in the eyes of the recruiter by demonstrating how you recover from significant errors and unintentional mistakes to pursue integrity.

5- “Have You Ever Adjusted Your Communication Approach to Suit a Particular Audience?”

You should discuss your way to build a good relationship with your manager or coworker to have a healthy workplace environment or at least have work that provides safety and satisfaction to your spirit and mind.


How to Prepare for a Competency-Based Interview

You ought to have a thorough understanding of the prospective employer’s requirements by the time you passed the screening stage and were invited for a competency-based interview. However, you need to get prepared for this critical situation.


Have Another Look at the Job Description

Whether you’re a positive candidate who has applied for a job based on a job ad, or a negative candidate who has been reached out to because the recruiter believes that his professional profile fits their needs, you’ve been exposed to a job description either written or verbally. It’s time to get back to revising its content.


After investigating the company’s website and online presence, a job description is an essential source of competencies. A well-written job description will take into account the culture of the organization, the dominant environment, and the company’s values.


Fully comprehending the competencies the recruiter needs will significantly shorten the goal. Find the common competencies you possess and those that the organisation needs to emphasise during the competency-based interview.


Keep in Mind the Correct Situation From the Ideal Perspective

After determining the competencies you have and the recruiter also seeks, you must clarify the proof. Show the situations that clearly show that you’ve got that competency.


If you need to demonstrate that you can solve problems:

  • First, explain to the interviewer what made this situation problematic and its consequences.
  • Second, To better understand how to get to the root of the issue, categorize the possible causes into major and minor factors.
  • Third, describe the major and minor factors’ treatment strategies.
  •  Fourth, display the outcomes and provide timelines to illustrate what took a long time and what happened quickly.


A STAR Method Is an Ideal Way to Arrange Your Ideas

Like in any story, you must maintain the listener’s interest and tension at all times to avoid losing him in the middle. A STAR method explains your “How” in a plotted way so that the recruiter can follow along and accept the truth with ease.


Situation > Task > Action > Result

These initial letters together make up the acronym STAR.

  • First, outline the situation in which you applied the competency.
  • Second, in light of this circumstance, determine the task that was assigned to you.
  • Third, describe the action you took to complete the task, including the skills you used, the difficulties you encountered, etc.
  • Fourth, deliver the outcomes and accomplishments to which you have contributed.


Pieces of Advice to Successfully Pass a Competency-Based Interview

Be Confident and Specific

Dealing with a competency-based interview as a nerve-pushing situation may damage your confidence. That’s why you should stay calm and determined about every answer you deliver.


Being direct will help you to stay focused and specific with every detail you mention. Stay positive by supporting your answers with numbers and statistics if they are available on request.


Do Your Research

Before applying for the vacancy, you should read the job description carefully to understand every qualification and skill needed by the employer. Then, you have to search for his values and definitions to link between the competencies, the principles of the organisation and its organisational culture. After finishing this research, are you suitable for this vacancy and the culture? Apply and get ready for the next competency-based interview.

Need Some Help?

A competency-based interview is a real checkpoint that could easily transfer you to the onboarding process. Try not to lose this opportunity! Get complete guidance for your career through our counselling packages. Find the best package that fits you, and contact us!


Managed by Quantum VXenon

Open chat
Whitecollars Team
Can we help you?