Competency-based interviews are designed to get candidates to show how they deal with workplace scenarios.

They are a great way to demonstrate your skills in dealing with different situations during work.

competency based interviews
As a candidate, you will be asked to give examples of how you dealt with a situation in a previous job, how you handled a difficult task or situation.

You will need to cover how this affected you and others around you. Did you encounter any push back from your peers or team and if so how did you deal with them.

Always remember that this style of interview is about you as a candidate so try to avoid using  ‘we’ or ‘us’ too much when giving examples.

Yes, there may have been a team involved but the interviewer is interested in how you dealt with the situation and how you overcame challenges along the way.

Competency based interview question examples:

  • Tell me about a complex task you had to deal with under tight deadlines
  • Tell me when you have gone above and beyond the call of duty
  • How did you deal with a member of your team that did not deliver

The correct way to answer:

Let’s look at the STAR model as the most effective way to answer competency based interview questions.

We will break it down into 4 easy to follow sections to keep it simple. This allows you to structure your answer and hit all the points you need along the way.

It will help you get your answers to flow nicely and stop you tripping yourself up.


First, you will need to describe the situation you were faced with. The more recent the example the better. It will be fresh in your mind and easy to discuss.


What specific task did you have to complete? Again, keep it simple but concise at the same time.


What actions did you take to overcome the problem you faced. How did you get around the challenges you encountered during the process


What was the final outcome?

Preparing for the Interview

A great way to prepare for an interview in advance, apart from practicing questions is to take a look at the job description in detail.

What are the skills and competencies listed for the job opening?

Take each of the requirements and prepare your competency-based answers. Following the STAR method to make sure you get your point across but also to explain how your decisions influenced the outcome.

Take note of any issues you encountered along the way and prepare examples of how you dealt with them or team members that may have caused problems during a task.

The closer you can align your specific skills to the job requirements, the better chance you have of securing the job.

You can expand a small bit and go into detail on how everything came together, how you were involved and the positive results to the business because of your actions.


Some quick tips

Take a breath

Take your time when answering these types of questions. Now is the perfect time to take a quick drink of water or just take a breath. This will give you time to frame your answer and bring up an example of where you delivered.

Prepare ahead of time

Search online and you will find numerous examples of behavioral interview questions. Think of a scenario that relates to each question and practice answering them to yourself using the STAR method above.

You would be surprised how good you get using this method by practicing a few times.