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"Give me an example of when you’ve..."

by Sellick Partnership | 20 July 2016

One of the most common ways in which companies are assessing the future performance of prospective employees is through competency based interviews. These interviews cover a series of behavioural questions where the interviewer will ask you to describe a situation which demonstrates your abilities that will be integral to the role you are interviewing for.
At Sellick Partnership we prepare candidates thoroughly for any interview we arrange. To help you prepare we will give you a full breakdown of each element of the interview process, taking time to specifically talk through competency based questions.
When preparing for a competency based interview you should think to yourself; “Which competencies are important for this position?” You should be able to pull these from the job description, the person specification or sometimes you can make an educated guess as to what the interviewer may be interested in.

  • Individual competencies: These refer to your personal attributes; your tenacity, flexibility, knowledge, independence, decisiveness, personal integrity and risk taking.
  • Managerial competencies: The refer to your ability to take charge of other people; leadership, strategic thinking, empowerment, managerial control, project management and corporate sensitivity
  • Analytical competencies: These refer to your decision making abilities; innovation, problem solving, analytical skills, attention to detail and practical learning.
  • Interpersonal competencies: These refer to you social competence. Many workplaces function on the basis of project teams and the more collaborative they are, the more likely they are to thrive.
  • Motivational competencies: These refer to the things that drive you; energy, result orientation, motivation, resilience, initiative and quality focus.

Answers to competency based questions should be very structured, so we recommend the STAR technique, describing: 

  • the Situation
  • the Task required as a result
  • the Action you took
  • the Result of that action  

Remember, one of the most important things is be yourself when answering competency questions; use real life examples and relate them to your experience, how you reacted or how it made you feel. These questions are not designed to catch you out, they are designed to ensure the best match between the company and the candidate. A little bit of preparation and you will see that competency based interviews is the perfect opportunity to elaborate on your top career highlights and paint the perfect picture for your prospective employer.
Good luck!

For further guidance on finessing your interview technique to secure a new role, please call 0113 243 9775. Alternatively, visit our candidate resources section for detailed sample questions and how best to respond to them.