Concept Onyx Recruitment

Understanding Competency Based Interviews: What to Expect and How to Excel.

Competency-based interviews have gained popularity in the recruitment process, operating on the belief that past behaviour serves as the best indicator of future performance. Simply put, employers believe that the way you have acted before is a good indicator of how you will perform in the future. So, in these interviews, they are going to ask about situations you have been in before to understand how you handle things.

Research indicates that these interviews are pretty reliable. The interviews are structured, meaning the questions tie directly to what is essential for the role. They’re like a sneak peek into how you might tackle certain situations on the job.

The structure:

Competency based interviews typically form one part of the selection process, often followed by more informal discussions about your CV. A good competency-based interview will usually ask you questions about:

      • Past behaviours and performance

      • Learning from past behaviours

      • Future adaptability to new post

      • Knowledge and understanding of issues in relation to the post

    Focus areas: What skills are they after?

    Most interviews focus on six key areas: competencies like leadership, teamwork, conflict resolution, motivation, creativity, and technical skills. Think of them as the key essential factors for success in the job you’re applying for. Depending on the role, there may be other specific criteria, such as in-depth knowledge or experience in a similar role.

    Cracking the Code: Example Questions:

    Now, competency-based questions are a bit different. They’ll likely kick off with phrases like “Please give me an example of when…” or “Please describe an occasion…” Let’s look at a few examples:


        • Why are you a good leader?

        • What type of leadership style do you adopt?

        • How would those you have led describe you?


          • Explain a mistake you have made in delegating- what were the consequences?

          • In what instance would you delegate a task?

          • What are the advantages of delegating?

        Conflict & Pressure

            • Give an example of an instance when you have had an argument with someone at work? What was the outcome?

            • How do you react if your boss asks you to do something which conflicts with your own deadlines?


              • Do you prefer to work alone or in a group?

              • When you joined your last company, how did you get on with your co-workers?

            Staff Motivation and Development

                • What makes a good manager?

                • How do you motivate staff?

              Personal Motivation

                  • What are the three most important events in your career to date?

                  • What are your standards of success in your job?

                Decision Making

                    • What is the toughest decision you have had to make while at your present company? Tell me about it. What alternatives did you consider?

                    • What has been the effect of your decisions on others and what was the wider impact?

                  What do the Interviewers Really Want?

                  Interviewers want specifics. They’re not looking for hypothetical situations or what your team did; they want to know exactly what you did in certain situations. So, get ready to share real examples from your current or past jobs or even experiences outside of work.

                  Your Take Home Tips:

                      • Be yourself – Authenticity goes a long way.
                      • Use real life examples to showcase your skills.
                      • Be ready to discuss outcomes and what you learnt from each experience.

                    Remember, every example you share is a chance to highlight your talents. Best of luck!


                    On Key

                    Related Posts

                    Cookie consent

                    We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We’d like to set additional cookies to understand site usage, make site improvements and to remember your settings. We also use cookies set by other sites to help deliver content from their services. View our Privacy Policy