How To Answer Competency Based Interview Questions

How To Answer Competency Based Interview Questions

Competency based interviews are very common and can be quite daunting if you are not prepared. Competency based interviews require you to answer questions using specific examples from your experience and often require you to think on your feet and answer a question you hadn’t necessarily prepared for. Interviews can be quite stressful as nerves and enthusiasm for the prospective job play havoc with your ability to focus! Luckily, there is a handy acronym which might just save the day!

The STAR technique for answering competency based interview questions

The STAR system is an extremely useful way of responding to structured interview questions common in competency based interviews.

  • Describe the Situation you were in
  • Outline the Task that was involved
  • Describe the Action you took (remember to use “I did this” rather than “we did this”)
  • Explain the Result

Now practice using the STAR system on the sample communication questions below.

Examples of Competency Based Interview Questions


  • Tell me about a time when you’re influencing skills where put to the test in the last 12 months
  • Tell me about a time when you have convinced an individual to change their point of view?
  • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a decision and what steps you took to change it?

(Business) Decision Making

  • When was the last time you made a decision which in hind sight was wrong?
  • Tell me about the best commercial decision you have made?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a rapid decision that impacted either your productivity or efficiency?
  • What decision do you make most frequently that most impacts your productivity
  • Tell me about a time when you believe hesitation prevented you from achieving your goal?
  • Describe a decision you put off the longest and why?
  • Tell me the last time you refused to make a decision?
  • Tell me a situation where you had to make a decision without the input of your manager, but knowing that the manager would judge you on that decision?


  • Tell me about a goal you have worked towards in the past 6 months and how you went about achieving it?
  • Tell me about the most challenging scenario you have faced in the last 12 months?
  • Tell me what you’re most proud of over the last 12 months and how was it achieved?


  • When was the last time you had to be assertive in your job?
  • Tell me a time when you felt you were at your most productive?
  • Describe a time when your attitude had a direct impact on your day/desk?


  • Tell me about the biggest set back in your career and what effect this had on your attitude?
  • Describe how something negative effecting your day, impacts on your desk?
  • Tell me about a time where you achieved success despite the odds being stacked against you? How did you ensure that you pulled through?
  • Give me an example of where you worked under extreme pressure?
  • Describe a situation where you have become frustrated or impatient at work?
  • What has been your most challenging situation in the past 12 months and how you addressed this?


  • Give me direct examples of how you ensure you understand peoples motivation?
  • Give an example where you found it hard to adjust to a certain individual and why?
  • Tell me when you last upset someone and what happened?
  • Tell me the last time you made a decision, based on empathy rather than commerciality and why?


  • Tell me a time when you had to get a member of staff to improve their performance?
  • Describe a situation where you had to drive a team through change? How did you achieve this?
  • Tell me about a time when where you faced reluctance from your team, to accept the direction that you were setting?
  • Explain a situation where you had an opinion that differed from your manager? What was the outcome – Were you able to change the mind of the manager?
  • Describe a situation where you have had to motivate your team and why?
  • Describe how you delegate responsibility?
  • Tell me how you would attract someone to listen to you and to follow you?
  • Describe s situation when you successfully led someone towards fulfilment of their goal?
  • Describe the best leader/manager you have worked for?

Work Ethic

  • Describe a time when you had to go beyond what you consider to be a normal amount of work to achieve your objective?
  • Describe a time when you missed a deadline?
  • Tell me about a time when your work ethic was questioned by another?
  • Describe a time when a deadline was close and what action you took to meet the deadline?


  • How would team members describe the role you play and the effectiveness on your
    contribution to the team?

If you need any support to prepare for your interview, don't hesitate to get in touch.





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