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Competency Based Job Interview Questions

competency based job interview

Competency-based job interview questions take your existing work experience as an indicator of your future performance. This means that these specific questions require you to provide the interviewer with an example situation that you experienced during work. These types of strategic interview questions are called behavioral interview questions. We will discuss them in more detail later on in this blog.


Competency-based job interview questions focus on work situations that you experienced and how you responded to them. The way you respond to these questions tells the interviewer more about your competencies, skills, abilities, and work ethic.

The reason why interviewers use these questions is that analyzing your past behavior is the best indicator to predict your future job performance. Also, it’s the most pragmatic way to uncover previous work experiences.

Learn more about competency job interview questions and how to answer them!

Why Interviewers Ask Competency Interview Questions

Competency-based interview questions are asked because your answers give the interviewer a better understanding of how you deal with work-related situations. Interviewers are interested in how you deal with situations, tasks, colleagues, and clients in the past.

Competency questions are open questions that require you to provide specific examples in your answers. These questions are used to let you do the talking during the interview. As stated, these questions are usually behavioral interview questions.

Behavioral questions are used to test different competencies. Below you find a list of competencies that can be discussed during your interview. The competencies discussed are, of course, dependant on the type of position you’re applying for.

The best way to find out more about the most likely topics that will be discussed is by analyzing the job description and researching the company.

Examples of competencies

Behavioral competency interview questions

Behavioral questions usually focus on the important requirements needed to successfully perform the job. The interviewer wants you to answer the question by including a situation you experienced in the past and how you handled it.

Behavioral interview questions, such as competency-based interview questions, usually start with:

  • Give me an example of
  • What do you do when
  • Tell me about a time when you
  • Describe situations where

Examples of competency behavioral interview questions:

  1. Tell me about a time you made a mistake or when you failed
  2. Describe a time you had to handle a challenging situation
  3. Tell me about a time you had difficulty working with a manager
  4. Describe a time you had to overcome an obstacle in your work
  5. Tell me about a time a manager hindered your performance

Learn everything you need to know about behavioral interview questions and how to answer them.

Preparing for competency-based job interview questions

When preparing for an interview that’s competency-based, take out a sheet of paper and write down all the skills you think will be required in that line of work for which you are being interviewed. If you don’t know them, there’s nothing to work about as you can always go online to have a look at the job listings for the abilities required. After you’ve listed them down, think about situations where you’ve had to demonstrate these skills and abilities in giving a solution to a problem or making something better.

For every situation that comes to your mind, write down the problem you had to face, the steps you took in the direction of solving the problem, and the results were at the end of the day. We can say this an upgrade of the STAR technique. Making use of this technique, ie, writing down the process, it will help you prepare adequately I giving a brief and well-structured answer to any interview question thrown your way.

You should have a review of the list of situations you have jotted down and think of how well they can be constructed to be precise, clear, and convey your message for maximum understanding by the interviewer.

Examples of competency-based job interview questions

Below you can find some more examples of competency-based interview questions:

Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers

Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Adaptability
  3. Admission
  4. Behavioral
  5. Career Change
  6. Career Goals
  7. Communication
  8. Competency
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Creative Thinking
  11. Cultural Fit
  12. Customer Service
  13. Direct
  14. Experience
  15. Government
  16. Graduate
  17. Growth Potential
  18. Honesty & Integrity
  19. Illegal
  20. Inappropriate
  21. Job Satisfaction
  22. Leadership
  23. Management
  24. Entry-Level & No experience
  25. Performance-Based
  26. Personal
  27. Prioritization & Time Management
  28. Problem-solving
  29. Salary
  30. Situational & Scenario-based
  31. Stress Management
  32. Teamwork
  33. Telephone Interview
  34. Tough
  35. Uncomfortable
  36. Work Ethic

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