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How to prepare for competency-based questions in a job interview

Tips for Competency-Based Questions

When you are looking for a new job, you’re almost certain to come up against what are commonly known as competency-based questions. These are where employers closely look at a candidate’s previous conduct and use it as an indicator of their future performance and suitability for the job. These can often catch an unwitting candidate off guard when you are asked to give examples of previous competency or skills. 

Can you predict the questions?

You are already well on your way to the answer by reading this guide as preparation is key to succeeding in these questions. Start by thinking about the kind of job you are applying for - what skills are the company looking for and why? Simple preparation is the key to avoiding a stuttering performance. Make a checklist of the competencies they are looking for (these are found in the job specification) and then apply them to your own experience. Just think about your ability to work in a team, solve problems, complete a project under pressure and hit tight deadlines. Reflect on how you have dealt with this previously and make a note of the situation, how you dealt with it and the outcome. 

Make it about you

This is your chance to sell yourself as the ideal candidate, so make sure you are prepared with examples of your talent which will really shine through and show you as the only candidate for the role. Showcase your part in previous projects, and don’t be afraid to be proud of your achievements, whilst remaining specific and on topic.

Don’t panic!

This interview style is rigid by their very nature, and this can be somewhat disconcerting. Each candidate will be asked a series of these questions, and it is designed to show the strong candidates against the ones who are not appropriate for the role in a fair and concise way, so don’t be alarmed if they are taking notes whilst you answer the question. Practice makes perfect, and if you have prepared your answers and delivered them confidently then you are sure to have impressed!