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13 Questions About Your Skills and How to Prepare for the Interview

13 Questions About Your Skills and How to Prepare for the Interview

Employers often use competency-based interviews to find out if a job candidate has the right skills for the job. This is usually done early on in the interview process by asking the candidate a series of questions about their skills.

With these questions, interviewers can quickly find out how a candidate would handle a certain situation and how they would act in different situations. Competency-based questions are the best way to do well in this kind of interview. This article looks at common competency-based interview questions and gives advice on how to answer them.

What is a skills-based interview?

In a competency-based interview, you will be asked questions about your last or current job to find out how you handled tasks, problems, and other things. Interviewers will ask you competency-based questions to find out when in your career you used different skills and acted in different ways.

Employers can find out about a potential employee’s “key competencies,” which are the specific skills needed to do a job well. A competency-based interview could also be called a behavioral interview or an interview based on criteria.

Employers often look for the following key skills:

  • Teamwork
  • Decision-making skills
  • How to get along with people
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Skills for being a leader
  • Time-management skills
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Integrity
  • Trustworthiness

Why is it important to practice your skills for interviews?

Preparing for a competency-based interview can give you the confidence and knowledge you need to show the interviewer that you are the best person for the job.

By learning about competency-based questions, you can practice how you would answer them in an interview so you sound more sure of yourself. Taking the time to prepare for this kind of interview can also help you figure out what key skills the employer might be looking for in a candidate.

Some examples of questions based on a candidate’s skills and experience

Here are some examples of the types of questions you might be asked at a competency-based interview:

  • When have you worked with others to do something hard?
  • Tell me about a good thing you did to help a team.
  • Have you ever been told something bad by your boss, a coworker, or a manager? What did you say?
  • Tell me about a tough problem at work that you solved.
  • Have you ever dealt with a customer’s complaint? If you did, how did you fix it?
  • Tell me about a time you had to do something you’d never done before.
  • How have you helped a team as a whole perform better in the past?
  • What is the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make at work? Why was it hard for you, and what did you do to fix it?
  • Tell me about a big change you had to deal with at work and what you did.
  • Have you ever worked with someone you didn’t get along with? If so, what did you do to make it better?
  • Tell me about a time at work when you had to solve a problem by being creative.
  • Give an example of a time when you handled a disagreement at work well.
  • What do you think is the most important thing you’ve done at work?

Advice on how to do a competency-based interview

You can be as ready as possible for the interview if you take the time to learn about competency-based questions and interview tips. Here are some things you can do to prepare for competency-based questions so you can answer them well and show that you are qualified for a job.

Find out which skills are most important for the job.

Many employers and hiring managers will find out what skills are most important for a certain job and then ask questions about those skills during an interview. Read the job description and any other information you can find about the job to find out what skills are needed.

For example, if you’re interviewing for a job as an editor, you might be asked about how well you communicate, how you handle your time, and how you make decisions.

Make a list of specific times when you showed you had important skills.

After figuring out which key skills are most likely to come up in the interview, make a list of specific times when you showed these skills. For example, you could say that you were good at managing your time when you organized and edited the company magazine on a tight deadline.

Make sure you know exactly what you did to finish the job or solve the problem. If you think of answers before your competency-based interview, you won’t have to spend as much time trying to figure out what to say. This will help you feel better about the answers you give.

STAR stands for:

The STAR method is a great way to get ready for answering skills-based questions. STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result. This method lets you show your skills and abilities in a clear and effective way by giving examples. Here’s how to put together an answer with the STAR method:


Tell what was going on around the event you’re talking about. For example, you could say “My boss at my last job didn’t come in often and wasn’t good at getting things done. Our team found it hard to talk about tasks and what was expected of them because of this.”


Describe what you should have done in that situation. One example is “As the assistant editor, it was my job to make sure that all the writers had work to do and that everyone turned in their work on time. I was also in charge of making the magazine’s layout and finding freelance writers for one issue.”


Tell what you did to fix a problem or make a situation better. One such case is “I set up a writing management system that clearly listed each writer’s tasks and when they were due. This was done to avoid confusion and make sure everyone knew what was expected of them and when. I also set up weekly meetings with the writers so I could answer any questions they had and point them in the right direction.”


Describe what happened as a result of what you did. For example, “We were able to meet all future magazine deadlines and even hire more writers to help with production because we set up the writing management system and made sure all writers knew their goals and deadlines.”

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