List of Competency Based Interview Questions in UK.
Competency Based Interview Questions – Competency-based interviews (also known as structured, behavioral or situational interviews) are designed to test one or more skills or competencies.
This is how it works, the interviewer has a list of set questions (each of which emphasizes on a particular skill), and your answers will be compared to pre-determined criteria and marked accordingly.
Competency interviews work on the principle that past behavior is the best indicator of future performance. They can be used by employers across all sectors but are particularly favored by large graduate recruiters, who may use them as part of an assessment center.
They’re quite different to normal or unstructured interviews, which normally is more informal. In an arranged interviews, recruiters most time ask a set of random, open-ended questions that are related to the job, such as ‘what can you do for the company?’ to get a full impression of who you are. A competency-based interview is more systematic and each question targets a skill needed for the job.
Primary competencies regularly sought after by employers comprises of the following;
- commercial awareness
- conflict resolution
- problem solving
Competency-based Interview Questions
Questions that are often asked during a competency based interview are aimed to test multiple of skills and yo will need to answer in the context of actual events. Which skills are tested is dependent majorly on the job you’re interviewing for and the sector you’ll be working in.
Expect questions opening with ‘Tell us about a time when you…’, ‘Give an example of…’ or ‘Describe how you…’
Competency questions you may be asked at interview include:
- Describe a situation in which you led a team
- Give an example of a time you handled conflict in the workplace
- How do you maintain good working relationships with your colleagues?
- Tell me about a big decision you’ve made recently. How did you go about it?
- What has been your biggest achievement to date?
- Describe a project where you had to use different leadership styles to reach you goal
- Tell me about a time when your communication skills improved a situation
- How do you cope in adversity?
- Give me an example of a challenge you faced in the workplace and tell me how you overcame it
- Tell me about a time when you showed integrity and professionalism
- How do you influence people in a situation with conflicting agendas?
- Give an example of a situation where you solved a problem in a creative way
- Tell me about a time that you made a decision and then changed your mind
- Describe a situation where you were asked to do something that you’d never attempted previously
- Tell me about a time when you achieved success even when the odds were stacked against you.
Ways to Answer Competency Questions
Using the STAR (situation, task, action and result) method to arrange your answers is a useful way to communicate relevant points clearly and concisely. For for any answer you give to a question, include the following element:
- Situation/task – Describe the task that needed to be completed or the situation you were confronted with. For example ‘I led a group of colleagues in a team presentation to potential clients’.
- Action – Explain what you did and how and why you did it. For example ‘We presented to around 20 big industry players in the hope of winning their business. I delegated sections of the presentation to each team member and we discussed our ideas in a series of meetings. After extensive research and practice sessions our group presentation went off without a hitch’.
- Result – Describe the outcome of your actions. For example ‘As a result of this hard work and team effort we won the business of 15 clients’.
Where possible try to relate you answers to the role that you’re interviewing for. While your responses to the interview questions are pre-prepared try to avoid sounding like you’re reading from a script.
Don’t attempt to wing it by thinking on your feet; the quality of your answers will suffer. Also avoid embellishing the truth at all costs. Any lies or invented examples can be easily checked.
Preparing for a Competency-based Interview
The key to providing successful answers to competency questions is preparation, and the good news is, competency-based interviews are relatively easy to prepare for.
Firstly, it’s essential that you read and understand the job advert. Next, from the job description or person specification pick out the main competencies that the employer is looking for and think of examples of when and how you’ve demonstrated each of these.
Try to draw upon a variety of experiences from your studies, previous employment or any work experience you’ve undertaken.
Familiarise yourself with the STAR approach to answering questions and practise your responses with a friend or family member. You could also make an appointment with your university careers service to practise your technique at a mock competency interview.
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