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Mastering Competency-Based Interview Questions: Your Path to Success

  • March 27, 2024

Competency-based interviews have become increasingly common in the hiring process across various industries. Unlike traditional interviews that focus on generic questions about your strengths and weaknesses, competency-based interviews delve deeper into specific skills and experiences relevant to the job. Employers use these interviews to assess how well candidates demonstrate essential competencies required for the role.

Preparing for a competency-based interview requires more than just rehearsing your resume. It involves understanding the competencies sought by the employer, crafting compelling examples from your past experiences, and effectively communicating your abilities. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to answer competency-based interview questions and ace your next job interview.


Understand the Competencies

Before the interview, carefully review the job description and research the company to identify the key competencies they value. These could include skills like leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, communication, adaptability, and attention to detail. Understanding these competencies will help you tailor your answers to align with what the employer is seeking.


Prepare Relevant Examples

Once you've identified the key competencies, brainstorm specific examples from your past experiences that demonstrate each competency. These examples can come from various aspects of your life, including work, education, volunteer experiences, or extracurricular activities. For each example, use the STAR technique:
    ◦    Situation: Describe the context and background of the example.
    ◦    Task: Explain the specific task or challenge you faced.
    ◦    Action: Detail the actions you took to address the situation.
    ◦    Result: Summarise the outcomes of your actions and any lessons learned.


Practice Your Responses

Practice delivering your examples using the STAR technique until you can articulate them clearly and concisely. Focus on highlighting your specific contributions and the impact of your actions. Anticipate follow-up questions and be prepared to provide additional details or insights.


Be Specific and Detailed

During the interview, be specific and provide detailed examples to support your claims. Avoid speaking in generalities or providing vague responses. The more specific and concrete your examples are, the more convincing they will be to the interviewer.


Highlight Transferable Skills

Even if you don't have direct experience in a particular competency related to the job, highlight any transferable skills or relevant experiences you possess. For example, if you're applying for a leadership position but don't have formal leadership experience, you could discuss times when you took initiative, mentored others, or led a project team.


Demonstrate Self-awareness

Employers value candidates who demonstrate self-awareness and a willingness to learn and grow. Be honest about areas where you may have struggled in the past, but emphasise what you learned from those experiences and how you've improved or overcome challenges.


Ask Questions

At the end of the interview, take the opportunity to ask thoughtful questions about the company, the role, and the team. This demonstrates your interest in the position and allows you to gather valuable information to help you make an informed decision if you receive an offer.


Follow Up

Send a thank-you email to the interviewer(s) within 24 hours of the interview. Express your appreciation for the opportunity to interview and reiterate your interest in the position. This simple gesture can leave a positive impression and reinforce your enthusiasm for the role.

In conclusion, mastering competency-based interview questions requires preparation, practice, and the ability to effectively showcase your skills and experiences. By understanding the competencies sought by the employer, preparing relevant examples, and using the STAR technique to structure your responses, you can increase your chances of success in your next job interview. So, go ahead, put these tips into action, and land that dream job!