Competency questions try and look at your real experience. They ask you to show where you’re competent by using real-world examples of things you’ve done in the past. They tend to vary pretty widely by industry, but one thing is certain: most people find these questions terrifying.
That’s where we come in. For your perusal, we’ve provided a list of competency based interview questions. We’ve also supplied the competency based interview answers.
Q: Explain to me a project that you failed to meet the deadline for.
A: I missed the deadline for my senior thesis. It was research-based, and unfortunately I felt I didn’t have all the information I needed.
Competency questions will sometimes ask you to explain a mistake you made. You have to find a way to emphasize why it still shows that you’re a good worker.
Q: What is the hardest job switch you’ve ever had to make?
A: In my early twenties, I realized I didn’t want to be an accountant. I took up computer programming, which let me do math, but also felt more interesting.
The interviewer wants to see that you can handle change.
Q: Describe a moment of rebellion, where you didn’t follow your company’s policy.
A: I was a long-haired eighteen year old, working for a fast food company. Occasionally I forgot to wear a hair bun. Since then, I’ve cut my hair shorter.
The interviewer wants to see how well you’ll comply to company rules.
Q: Describe a piece of writing you’ve done.
A: I wrote the company newsletter for three years. I felt the messages that I crafted were clear and compelling.
Here they just want to make sure you can communicate effectively.
Q: Describe a moment in time where your listening skills proved beneficial.
A: In my thirties I began working on a ship. I got the terminology down quicker than everyone else, because I listened.
Listening skills are important to almost every job. That’s all this question is looking for.
Q: Describe a situation where someone wasn’t being clear.
A: I had a very intelligent boss who had difficulty explaining what he wanted. He taught me the importance of listening and patience.
This one’s tricky, because you have to be sure not to actually speak poorly of anyone.
Q: Tell me about a time when you got people to work together.
A: I coordinated everyone’s schedules for my boss’s surprise birthday party.
This question shows your leadership skills.
Q: Name an accomplishment that fills you with pride.
A: I told a joke that made a particularly difficult patient smile. Brightening his day reminded me why I took up nursing.
This question shows how you motivate yourself.
Q: Describe a conflict on your team. How did you solve it?
A: Two salesmen under me didn’t get along. After listening to their complaints, I organized their schedules so they didn’t have to see each other.
This question looks at conflict management.
Q: Tell us about an unconventional solution you came up with.
A: The office was too loud, so I bought everyone headphones.
This question is looking to see if you can come up with creative solutions to problems.
With these samples interview questions and answers, interview success should be a no-brainer. By studying these competency based interview questions answers, you’ll have a leg up on the competition, because your preparation will mark you as a professional.
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