Prepare for these 6 competency-based interview questions and you’ll do great.
Competency interview questions help hiring managers figure out if you have the right skills, knowledge, and behavior for the job you’re trying to get. Most of the time, these questions are open-ended and may need answers that are based on real-life situations. With a detailed answer, you can show how good you are at the relevant skills and make a good impression on potential employers. 6 competency-based interview questions
This article will explain why employers ask competency questions and give examples of questions and answers.
Why companies ask competency-based questions at job interviews
Employers can find out more about how you handle different situations at work by asking you competency questions. These questions can help you figure out how well you do things like communicate, lead, work in a team, and more. Hiring managers can also see how well you can do more than one thing at once, solve problems, and think critically. Employers may ask you more questions about your industry knowledge, like what hard skills you may need for the job.
Using the STAR method can help you get ready to answer questions. STAR stands for:
- Situation: Describe a particular scenario or experience.
- Task: Tell me what you have to do with the challenge.
- Action: Explain what you did to get past the problem.
- Result: Tell what happened as a result.
This way of answering lets you come up with real-life examples that answer many common competency interview questions in a natural way. By telling a story from your professional life, you can show your impact, how you think, and how you work, which are all important things for employers to know during the interview process.
Interview questions about competency and examples of answers
Consider the following competency-based questions and examples of how you can answer them as you prepare for your interview:
1. Can you tell me about a time when you had to work under a lot of stress?
Some jobs require you to do more than one thing by a certain date. A good answer should show that you can work well under pressure, whether that pressure comes from a tight deadline or budget, working with a difficult team or client, having few resources, or something else. Give a short description of a time when you kept your cool by using certain technical or soft skills.
“I worked as a store manager during the very busy holiday season. We weren’t meeting our sales goals, but we thought it was important to keep giving great customer service. I made a detailed schedule for each week that included covering for more employees so we could sell more. I also had a team meeting every day before each shift to answer questions and give praise to the best workers. We were able to keep customers happy and sell more than we had planned that month.
2. Tell me about a time when you had to convince a coworker or boss to do something.
During your career, you may need to tell a team member or customer why you think or suggest something. Your answer should show the employer that you can talk to people well. Try to come up with a thorough answer that shows you can listen carefully, come up with a solution, and persuade others to agree with you.
“I used to work as a coordinator for a team that planned events. One of my main jobs was to talk to clients and coworkers on a regular basis. A customer and my manager had different ideas about when an event should start. I was able to get them to agree that we could find a solution that worked for everyone by talking to them in person and on the phone several times. We found a time that worked for both my company and the client after a conference call.”
3. What’s the biggest thing you’ve done in your career so far?
Long-term career goals require a lot of planning, time management, and commitment, all of which are things that many employers value. A good answer can also show how determined and ambitious you are. When writing your answer, pick a goal for which you can describe the steps you took to achieve it, including any problems you had to work through.
“By the end of my second year of college, I was determined to get a job as an editorial assistant at a top publisher. Because it’s a competitive field, I knew I had to find a way to stand out from the other applicants. During my summer breaks, I worked as an intern at two publishing companies and took as many relevant classes as I could. I also met with the English department’s career counselor a few times to figure out how to schedule my classes and internship. She helped me meet important people in the publishing business.
At the end of my senior year, I was offered a job as a customer service rep at a publishing company. Even though I was upset at first, I soon realized that it was a great chance to learn more about the business and get better at customer service. I took the job, and after a year of hard work, the organization moved me up to the position of editorial assistant.”
4. Have you ever had trouble getting along with someone on a team?
Many employers want to know if you can get along with people, solve problems, and work as part of a team. In your answer, talk about how you handle conflicts, communicate, and make decisions. Think of a time when you and your coworkers worked together to solve a problem.
“I joined a sales team as a marketing associate to help make advertising campaigns for our customers that work better. We couldn’t decide how to market a client’s product once. We had a week to put together a presentation for the client. We spent a week talking about each plan in detail, and in the end, we made a campaign out of the best ideas from each team member. The client liked the choice, and the campaign went well.
After that, when people in the group disagreed, we worked hard to find solutions and make decisions as a group. Because of this, the way our team worked together got better, and over the next three months, our sales went up by 7%.”
5. What is the biggest change you’ve ever had to deal with at work?
To reach a goal in your career, you may need to change how you work or how you do things. If you can accept and adjust to changes made by a company, you may be a good candidate in many situations. Talk about a time when you had to change your work habits or learn something new at a previous job to show how flexible you are.
“When I taught middle school, a lot of my students spoke a language other than English as their first language. Also, families moved in and out of the district often, so the people in my classroom were always changing. I realized that my original lesson plans wouldn’t work as well because each student already knew different things. I changed everything about how I teach and what I teach based on what my students needed. The personalized lessons led to better test scores and better behavior in the classroom.”
6. Has your boss ever asked you to do something that you didn’t agree with?
In some situations, you may be given a task that you don’t know how to do or don’t see the point of. This question gives you a chance to show how well you can think about and talk about a problem. Try to describe a time when you didn’t agree with what your boss told you to do and how you solved the problem.
“When I worked at a car dealership, the manager set a high sales goal. As a salesperson, I thought that the goal made it hard to provide good customer service. I wanted to be honest and fair with all of my customers, even if it meant being flexible about price. I asked for a private meeting with my manager to talk about how worried I was about meeting my quota and making sure my customers were happy.
My boss understood what I was saying, but he still wanted me to meet the quota so that we could make more money. We finally decided that it would be helpful for me to follow the best salesperson around to learn how they do things. After spending two days shadowing, I was able to learn some good ways to boost my sales. I didn’t meet the goal for the first two months, but with a lot of practice and hard work, I was able to beat it by 5% or more for eight months in a row.