What is a Competency-Based Interview?

Competency interviews are also called behavioral interviews and are intended to test the competencies and skills of a person. The interview panel will make a list of competency-based interview questions focusing on some skills. A predetermined criterion is designed to compare the candidate’s answers and to mark accordingly. Competency interviews review your past behavior to guesstimate your future performance. Competency interviews are different from unstructured interviews that are usually informal. In these interviews, the interviewer will try to know what skills you have and if you are suitable for the position or not.

What is the purpose of Competency-Based Interviews?

These interviews are designed to identify how a person will work in different scenarios. These interviews are designed to gather more information about a person’s work styles and how he works under pressure. The interviewer will judge your answers to know how he will use his skills effectively, work mutually, and strategies to deal with the challenges of your work. The tasks could vary from written and oral communication to organization, planning, and problem-solving.

What are the key competencies?

Interviewers mostly ask questions to look for some particular skills that are mentioned below;

  •      Communication.

It is very important to interact with your customers and colleagues in a wonderful way to maintain pleasant relationships.

  •      Leadership.

It will show that you can work in coordination and are also able to lead a successful team.

  •      Decision-maker.

This competency will help you formulate solutions, solve problems excellently, and make efficiencies.

  •      Result orientation.

Result orientation will help you go ahead in your career. It includes hitting targets and enhancing a process or system.

  •      Teamwork;

Teamwork is essential for a business. Working mutually can improve work performance, boost productivity, and achieve expected results.

  •      Responsibility;

You must be able to take responsibility and work efficiently to achieve in your work.

  •      Reliability;

You must be a loyal and trustworthy person to rely on.

  •      Technical skills;

Technical skills are very crucial because most companies are using them to expand.

  •      Commercial awareness;

It means a skill that shows commitment, professionalism, and efficiency towards the business.

  •      Profession improvement;

You must be ready to gain more knowledge and enhance your skills to make improvements in your work and gain success in the future.

Information about competency-based interview questions?


These interviews will examine your past job experiences in different situations. These competency-based questions will be asked to know about your work experiences by asking the result of your past decisions. These questions will provide a better understanding of your general personality, your working techniques, and the way you deal with different tasks. These questions will judge your skills including behavior, knowledge, and cognitive proficiency. Your answers will be compared with the business standards to know if you are suitable for the firm or not.

Most interviewers are more interested in competency testing more than their qualifications. This will conclude that the person will not only complete his specific tasks but he can also deal with future promotions, position replacements, and the company’s vision.

Competency-based questions are mostly separated into three categories;

  •      Behavioral;

These include your values, desires, ethics, and motivations or you may also be asked about social skills including leadership, teamwork, and communication.

  •      Cognitive;

These competencies are mostly evaluated by a person’s aptitudes, capabilities, and learning skills.

  •      Technical;

These skills include field-related performance and knowledge, for example, the skill to operate specific systems or technologies.

Examples of Competency-based interview questions

  • Describe a project where you led a team.
  • Have you ever handled any divergence at your workplace?
  • How do you convince people in a scenario with contradictory visions?
  • How to maintain an excellent working relationship with your co-workers?
  • Have you ever made a grand decision at your workplace? What was the outcome?
  • What was your biggest achievement with your previous company?
  • How did you use various leadership styles to accomplish your goal?
  • How do you deal with difficult situations?
  • Tell me about a big challenge you faced in your job and how you dealt with it?
  • When did you show professionalism and integrity at your work?
  • Have you ever changed your mind after making a decision?
  • Have you ever asked to perform something that you had never done previously?
  • Did your communication skills help you improve a scenario?
  • Have you ever creatively solved a problem? Describe the situation.
  • Have you ever handled any divergence at your workplace?
  • Describe a time when you gained success even when the possibilities were heaped against you.

Tips for answering the competency-based question

Take out and make yourself familiar with the questions and tips to be prepared excellently. Some tips are mentioned below and can be used to be prepared to answer the questions efficiently and convey your skills for a position.

Identify your skills related to the position

The interviewer will ask you questions about the skills required for a specific position. You must study the job requirements and any other information regarding the position to identify what competencies are essential.

Make a list of your attempted competencies in some situation

You must make a list of your achievements and the situations when you demonstrated those skills. It will make you quick in answering the questions during an interview and you will become more fluent in your answers.

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Star method

Star method is mostly used to prepare for competency-based questions. With this method, you will be able to portray effective and clear examples of your skills and competencies. You can prepare an answer by using the following star method;

  •      Situation;

When you are describing a situation about your skills and efficiencies, you must talk about the circumstances.

  •      Task;

Describe the task you were assigned for that particular situation.

  •      Action;

Explain the action you performed to tackle the issue or improving.

  •      Result;

You must describe the achievements that were accomplished as a result of your work.

Rehearse your answers

You must rehearse the answers to deliver them in a detailed, articulate, and structured method. You must be confident while answering and preparing your answers will make you take less time to think about an appropriate answer.

At the interview

You must greet your employer and thank them for providing you the opportunity. You must listen to the questions cautiously and answer them by being specific and to the point. You must share the information that is relevant and appropriate according to the question. Keep your body position relaxed and confident.

Pros of the competency-based interview

Employers usually make a list of questions with a scored-based method to determine the competency of the candidates. All the candidates are asked the same questions and it helps to take the right decision because everyone has received equal opportunities to describe themselves.

Competency-based questions will make candidates recall their achievements and experiences. Candidates find them comprehensive to answer than common questions that need a lot of research.

By Competency-based interview questions, the employer will identify if the person will excel at doing the work or he will work mutually with existing employees. These interviews will provide candidates a great chance to explain their experiences and competencies that are essential for getting the position.

Cons of Competency-based interview questions

Some candidates prepare very polished answers and they unintentionally give the answers in a robotic way that doesn’t appeal to the employer.

If an employer focuses particularly on abilities, a person might not get a chance to express their motivations and emotions.

When you talk about competencies, newcomers will remain unnoticed but they might be most eligible and efficient in the long run.



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Galway (Head office)
Block 9
Gort Leinn,
Monivea Road

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+353 (091) 394175