Competency-based interviews: what are they? How do you prepare? What can you expect?

competency based interview

What exactly do you need to prepare for in a competency based interview?

In competency-based interviews, you’ll get competency-based questions. These are designed to assess your level of competency in different areas they find important.

For example, let’s say you are applying for a job where adaptability is key. They could ask you something along the lines of “talk to me about a specific time you were faced with a last-minute change on an important project and what you did to adapt to the new circumstances”.

This gives you an opportunity to explain the LEVEL at which you can competently adapt. If you give an example like “the deadline was pushed forward by 1h”, they might not be too impressed as you might have had a long time beforehand to prepare for it.

However, if you give them an example where you were genuinely challenged and your skills and solution-oriented mindset pulled the team through, they will be really impressed.

Go through the job description and pick out the skills and experience they need for the role, and come up with multiple examples that you could use to answer these questions to make sure you impress them.

To give you an even better chance at nailing your competency-based interview, make sure you structure your answers using the STAR technique. This is where you explain the Situation so they have background information; explain what the Task or issue was; what Actions you took to achieve/avoid the task or issue; and finally what the Result of this was for yourself and your team/company/client. Communicating the result effectively, your answer becomes much more impactful.