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How to Answer Competency Based Questions in an Interview

How to Answer Competency Based Questions in an Interview

21 Jul 14:00 by Adrienn Prezenszki

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I spoke with a candidate the other day who has attended several interviews over the last few months (going back to before the pandemic) and still has not been able to secure a role. I was intrigued because he has a strong CV, and I was interested to explore the specific areas where he has been struggling. When I mentioned competency-based questions, he said he always struggles with those, so much so that he has started to dread them. He feels he is ok with technical questions, but more general competency ones throw him completely off. Perhaps this is something other people struggle with too? When I prepare my candidates for interview I generally ask them to talk me through different hypothetical scenarios, such as how they would solve an unexpected problem, or how they would deal with someone on their team who is having an off day. Perhaps these more general questions cause difficulties for quite a few people.

There’s a really great technique that could help you to create your answers to these types of questions, and it is summarised in this link: https://indeedhi.re/2ZDmvkp. It may seem like going into more forensic detail than you might do in normal everyday life, but it can really help. When you are asked how you might handle a certain situation, it is helpful to think of a similar previous experience and to break it down into separate parts – it is almost like combining story telling with a known method called the STAR technique. If you are preparing for an interview, it could be helpful to challenge yourself to think of a couple of situation examples and break them down into small parts, analysing the situation, how you responded, what the end result was, what you learned from it and how you can apply this learning in the future.