Competency Based Interview Questions

13 March 2021 Victoria Butt

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Competency Based Interview Questions

Competency based or behavioural job interview questions are based on the premise that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour, and that is why they are so often asked by employers during a job interview.

The golden rule when you’re answering competency based interview questions is to always talk around 3 things:

Context, Action, Result

Context is about describing a situation and setting the scene. Choose your example well; pick one that clearly demonstrates the quality/ skill that the employer is asking about.

Action is about explaining what action you took. Remember to be very specific and to avoid vague statements.

Result is about detailing the outcome of your action.

Your ability to answer these questions can often make or break your interview – so we have put together some examples to help you prepare.

Examples of competency based questions:

Stakeholder Management

  • Describe a time when your communication and interpersonal skills helped in dealing with difficult clients/colleagues.

  • Give an example of a win-win situation you negotiated.

  • Describe a situation where you were given feedback on your performance that wasn’t what you had hoped for.

Teamwork and Leadership

  • Tell me about a time when you were either a member or a leader of a great team. What role did you play in making the team great?

  • Give me an example of how you used your leadership skills to help your team meet a difficult challenge.

  • Tell me about a time when you were the leader of a team and the team disagreed with your decision. How did you handle it?

  • Describe which attributes a leader whom you most admire/admired has.


  • Tell me about a difficult problem you were faced with, and describe how you went about tackling it.

  • Describe a time when you proactively identified a problem at work and were able to devise and implement a successful solution.

Organisation and Planning

  • Tell us about your experience in managing different projects or developing different strategies, and how this can contribute to our position.

  • What specific systems/processes do you currently use to organise your day, and how successful are they?

  • Describe a time when you failed to meet a deadline.

  • What was the most stressful aspect of your last role and how did you deal with it?


  • Tell me about a time when you had to stand your ground against a group decision that you disagreed with.

  • Have you ever had to work with, or for, someone who was dishonest? How have you handled this?


  • Describe some projects that were implemented and carried out successfully primarily because of your efforts and involvement in them.

  • What are three achievements from your last job that you are particularly proud of?

  • What is your five year career plan?

  • In which areas would you like to develop further?

Find more information on how to prepare for an interview here or contact the team at Parity Consulting on +61 2 8068 2016 or +61 3 9016 8606.

Are you looking for a new role? Find our most recent vacancies here.

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