How To Approach Competency
The best way to prepare for competency questions is to reflect on your experience. Interviewers are looking to get as much information out of you as possible, so make sure your responses provide all the necessary information for the interviewer to understand the scope of your answer. As well as this, its important to have competency-based question examples ready with your answers to ensure you’re prepared for the real thing.
Often, interviewers will focus on instances of past failures or successes. Admitting your failures will not reflect negatively on your interview if you relate how you remedied the situation, what you learned, and how you plan to avoid making the same mistake again.
Team Working Competency What Are Employers Looking For
Many employers value team players. For this competency, they dont just want to hear about how you work well in a team. They also want to know why youre good at it. If youre a true team player, youll excel at three key skills: communication, judgement and responsibility.
Effective communication skills
Employers are trying to discover how you listen and respond to other team members ideas, and whether you can interact with people effectively.
Youll convince an employer you have effective communication skills if you show you:
- Listen and respond constructively to other team members ideas and proposals.
- Are open with other team members about their concerns.
- Express disagreement constructively by, for example, suggesting alternatives.
- Express support for other peoples great ideas.
- Give honest and constructive feedback.
Judgement and integrity
Employers need people who make objective decisions based on data or educated hypotheses, as opposed to personal assumptions.
They want honest, transparent and honourable team members who work towards the business or organisations goals.
In an interview, you need to show you earn the trust of your colleagues and are willing to place your trust in them.
Ownership and responsibility
If you have a track record of taking responsibility, both when working individually or as part of a team, an
employer will want you.
Here are some examples of team player traits:
- They support group decisions.
Integrity Competency What Are Employers Looking For
In all businesses, its important to build trust by keeping your promises, sticking to the rules and behaving honestly and ethically. Integrity competency questions give employers the chance to check whether youll deviate from your principles. Employees who lack integrity can damage a companys brand and harm its image in ways that may take years to reverse.
If an employer asks you about this competency, they are looking for someone who is honest and demonstrates strong moral principles. They want to see that you are diplomatic and have strength of character.
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Taking Control Of A Situation Interview Answers
Go for an example where things looked bleak and make sure to explain the full extent of the consequences that might have ensued, had you not been involved, says Jon Gregory, career coach.
Andrew Fennell, founder of StandOut CV, advises talking about a situation that could have been harmful to your employer, but you presented a plan to your colleagues and took the lead to achieve the goal.
If you can talk about a particular style of leadership youve had to adopt, or times when youve been out of your comfort zone and still managed to achieve results, the employer will be impressed, says Duffin.
Resilience Example Interview Questions
- Describe a situation where things deteriorated quickly. How did you react to recover from that situation?
- Tell us about a project where you achieved success despite the odds being stacked against you.
- Give us an example of a situation where you worked under pressure.
- Under what conditions do you work best and worst?
- Which recent project or situation has caused you the most stress? How did you deal with it?
- When is the last time that you were upset with yourself?
- What makes you frustrated or impatient at work?
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Why Are Aptitude Tests Used
Aptitude tests are often used by employers as part of a selection process for a job.
While aptitude tests wont necessarily test candidates on their ability to perform a specific job within a company, they will give the employer a general sense of how well a candidate can think on their toes and demonstrate critical-thinking skills that would be reflective of the type of thinking theyll need to do on the job.
Administering aptitude tests allows companies to narrow down the number of candidates who have applied for a job to a more refined group that may be more qualified for the job.
Seeing The Big Picture Competency Interview Questions
Here is a small selection of competency based interview questions related to Seeing the Big Picture taken from the InterviewGold online training. How would you answer?
- Describe a situation where you worked outside of the scope of your role.
- Tell me about a time when you have collaborated with another department in order to deliver a positive outcome.
- Give an example of an achievement which directly contributed to your department goals.
Creativity Competency What Are Employers Looking For
When an employer asks about your creative skills, theyre looking for someone who develops fresh insights into situations, challenges conventional approaches, and delivers new ideas and innovations.
Some examples of creativity include:
- Devising an innovative way of organising new projects.
- Changing something aesthetically, for example rearranging a shop window display to encourage more customers or redesigning a part of a website.
- Finding creative solutions for repeated problems, such as finding a new way to cut company costs.
What Are Aptitude Tests Used For
Aptitude tests are used for the evaluation of a persons cognitive skills and character profile. They are increasingly used in recruitment to help hiring managers streamline their applicants. Its the efficiency and accuracy of aptitude testing compared with hiring methods like interviewing that has made them so popular.
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List Of Competencies Assessed At Interview:
- Customer-service skills.
- An ability to work under pressure.
- Working collaboratively with others as part of a team.
- Communicating effectively to individuals or a group of people.
- Remaining calm in difficult situations and circumstances.
- Resolving disputed and conflict at work.
- Gathering information before making important decisions.
- Being open to change.
- Continually learning and developing skills.
- Using your initiative to solve complex and difficult problems.
- Demonstrating integrity and professionalism.
- Supporting diversity within an organization.
Within our Competency-Based Interview Questions and Answers guide, which is available to instantly download on this page, we will provide you with sample answers to tough competencies assessed at interview.
Can You Describe A Time When You Worked Under Pressure
Some positions require completing multiple tasks with strict deadlines. A successful answer should demonstrate your ability to perform well under pressure, whether that be a time or budget constraint, working with a difficult team or client, working with limited resources or other reasons. Provide a brief explanation of a time when you remained calm by using specific soft or technical skills.
Example: I was a manager in a retail store during the very busy holiday season. We were behind on sales goals but found it crucial to continue providing excellent customer service. To increase our sales, I created a detailed schedule for each week that included additional employee coverage. I also held a daily team meeting before each shift to address questions and highlight top performers to incentivize the team. We were able to keep customers happy and exceed our sales goals by 12% that month.
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How To Answer: Star Format
The STAR approach is the best way to demonstrate your core competencies as they apply to a specific situation. Give an example of a time when you approached a specific task, outlining the actions you took and what the result was. Here is what the STAR acronym means:
S: Situation Begin by describing a situation where you demonstrated the target competency.T: Task Explain a difficult task that had to be completed.A: Action State what actions you took to complete the task.R: Results Describe the outcome resulting from your actions.
What The Interviewer Really Wants To Know
Also known as soft skills or people skills, interpersonal competencies are those traits that enable people to work well with others and also within fast-paced, high-stress occupations.
Interviewers ask these questions in order to see how closely your competencies and personality traits align with those they listed in the Desired or Preferred Qualifications sections of their job listing. If the job ad specifically states that the candidates needs to be skilled in, say, conflict management, then its a safe bet that youll be asked how you have mediated workplace or client conflicts in the past.
Good Customer Service Example Interview Questions
- Please provide an example of when you delivered excellent customer service.
- Tell us about a time when you had to calm an angry customer.
- Tell us about a time when you had help your customers deal with a problem with your employers product or service.
- Give us an example of time where you werent able to solve the customers problem. How did you handle the situation?
Sales Competencies What Are Employers Looking For
Whether youre selling a product or service, involved in lead generation or working with teams on pre-sales research, employers want key skills that give you an edge.
Employers want people who can persuade a customer to buy. Examples of sales skills include:
- Being able to negotiate.
- Good product knowledge.
Bring Proper Structure To Your Answer
Most competency based and behavioural interview questions require you to give an example of a situation you have been involved in. This sounds straightforward however it is very easy to give a long rambling answer resulting in a low score. The key to an effective and top scoring competency answer lies in its structure and there are two standard formulas we recommend:
1. The STAR technique = This method is often referred to as the CAR and PAR technique and gives a logical process to create and deliver your answer. Learn more about the STAR Method here.
2. The iPAR technique = Similar to the STAR technique and is favoured by us as it brings greater focus on using a powerful introduction summarising the achievement plus we suggest always answering in the first person using I rather than we even if your example refers to a team effort. The interviewers want to hear about what you did and if you constantly use we it could weaken your answer. While we favour the iPAR technique, feel free to use whichever you are most familiar and comfortable with.
How To Prepare For Competency
Its really, really simple:
- list the competencies for the specific job
- trawl your CV for two examples for each competency
- for each example, write a bullet point for each of the STAR headings above
- practice your answers with a critical friend
- andenjoy the interview because you have prepared
Good news: many people dont do the above preferring instead to take a rushed, grape-shot approach applying for anything and everything that comes along and are surprised that they dont get an interview and if they do, they perform like rabbits in headlights.
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Examples Of The Best Answers
And so, for example, imagine that your interviewer asks you a competency-based question about teamwork such as, Describe a time in which members of your team did not get along. How did you handle the situation? Heres a sample answer:
I was recently on a hiring committee where the members were almost evenly divided between two job candidates. Both candidates were highly qualified for the position, and either would have been a great addition to our team.
The conflict lay in their respective ages: one candidate was well-established in her profession but within ten years of retirement age, whereas the other was a thirty-year-old dynamo with only four years of experience. The younger members of the team gravitated towards him the more senior members preferred the older candidate. And, the discussion got extremely heated.
I suggested that we sit together and write a list of the skills and competencies we most desired in our new hire, based on our company culture and the strengths and dynamics of our current team. Once we had agreed on our most important requirements, we were better able to get beyond the age issue and evaluate which of the two candidates would be the best fit.
We ended up choosing the older candidate because she had experience that the rest of the department lacked. And, because we were able to agree on a needs-based approach , the team was ultimately content with the hiring decision.
Core Competencies For A Post
COVID 19 has changed the world of work. Here are 5 core competencies that are likely to be in high demand going forward.
1. Adaptability – the ability to adapt to the changes that are happening in the way companies operate and work is critical for survival going forward. Companies will look for employees who can demonstrate agility and flexibility in responding to new demands and challenges.
2. Creativity – the importance of creativity and innovation has been highlighted during the pandemic. Companies and employees have had to come up with new ways of doing business in order to respond to new demands.
3. Critical thinking – the ability to accurately and objectively evaluate data has become essential in a world overwhelmed with different ideas, arguments and information. Employees who can identify and analyze data systematically will be able to make sound decisions.
4. Resilience – the ability to maintain effectiveness in the face of difficulties has been widely put to the test during the pandemic. Employees with strong coping skills will be able to remain productive in the face of challenges.
5. Self management – the ability to organize one’s day, self discipline and the motivation to achieve goals independently is essential with remote work. Taking personal ownership of job performance is vital to goal attainment.
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How Aptitude Tests Are Marked
Aptitude tests are norm referenced.
This means that your performance on the test will be compared to a norm group.
A norm group is a group of people with similar characteristics to the candidate, a group of graduate trainees for example.
Your score will be compared to the scores of the people in the norm group, and this will allow the assessor to understand your performance relative to others who are similar to you.
Usually, a candidates score is expressed as a percentile.
This, then, tells the assessor what percentage of the norm group their performance surpassed.
If a candidate scored on the 75th percentile, for example, they have performed better than 75 percent of the norm group.
Each particular employer may have a different performance level required for specific positions.
To be successful, the candidate must achieve a level of performance that exceeds a stated minimum.
Candidates will usually not know what the minimum score requirement is before they take an aptitude test.
Delivering Value For Money Example Interview Questions
- Explain how you delivered value for money on a project or task following new input into it.
- Describe a situation where you changed your approach, which led to higher profitability for the company.
- Describe a situation where you produced better results with fewer resources.
- Discuss an example where you increased productivity in your team.
- Tell us about a situation where you helped increase company profits.
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What Does A Competency
Competency based interviews provide the candidate with an opportunity to provide evidence for their level of competence. Employing organisations will conduct a job design for a particular role, developing what’s known as a competency framework. This competency framework will usually consist of 4-6 key competencies, which are the essential to performance in that particular role.
For example, in an investment banking role, analytical thinking is likely to be considered a key competency by many organisations. Similarly, in a human resources role, interpersonal sensitivity may be considered a key competency in many organisations.
Competency frameworks are custom made by the employing organisations, and will vary depending on the organisations culture, sector, industry etc.
The competency based questions during the interview will search for evidence of competencies within the framework, helping employers gauge a candidates understanding/experience with a particular skill set. Competency frameworks are designed to be appropriate to both the duties of the role, and the immediate level of the role, therefore non-management roles are unlikely to incorporate leadership ability into the competency framework of the role.
Learn To Narrate Using The Star Method
This means setting the scene, explaining how you handled the situation by placing the emphasis on your role and detailing the outcome/result.
If you’re soon to have a competency-based interview, you may want to check out this interview training course, with access to competency questions and expert answers.
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Develop A Story For Each Competency
Lydia Fairman, HR and resourcing specialist, recommends structuring each example using the STAR technique. The STAR technique stands for: Situation, Task, Action, Result. This means setting the scene , describing what you wanted to achieve , communicating what you actually did , and then talking about the result how was the situation resolved?
Check out the STAR interview technique section for in-depth information.
Once youve broken down your answer into these four sections, practise saying it out loud but dont over-rehearse. Your story needs to sound natural as you tell it.
- Keep a positive tone throughout.
- Dont focus on negatives or criticise others.
- Emphasise how you contributed to the successful outcome.
Your examples must be tailored to the competencies required for the role youre applying for. John Lees, author of Knockout Interview, says dont fall into the trap of talking about what you usually do.
Youll also need to make your stories concise. If you waffle, youll bore the employer.