Preparing for a competency-based job interview


Individual competencies – your personal attributes: Flexibility, decisiveness, tenacity, independence, risk taking, personal integrity.

Managerial competencies – taking charge of other people: Leadership, empowerment, strategic planning, corporate sensitivity, project management, management control.

Analytical competencies – the elements of decision making: Innovation, analytical skills, numerical problem solving, problem solving, practical learning, detail consciousness.

Interpersonal competencies – dealing with other people: Communication, impact, persuasiveness, personal awareness, teamwork, openness.

Motivational competencies – the things that drive you: Resilience, energy, motivation, achievement orientation, initiative, quality focus.

Questions about…

– Influencing or Persuading Others

Tell me about a time when you were able to change someone’s perspective significantly.

Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something that you disagreed with.


Interpersonal and Team Skills:

What experience have you had working on a team?

What skills and personal qualities have you contributed to the teams you have been part of?

Tell me about a time when you used sensitivity and diplomacy?

Tell me about the last time you had a disagreement with someone?

Tell me about the most difficult person you have worked with?

What have you disliked in your past jobs?

What type of people do you enjoy working with?

What type of people frustrate you?

What qualities do you admire most in others?


Communication Skills:

Tell me about a time when you were successful in obtaining crucial information from another person?

Tell me about a time when someone misunderstood what you were attempting to communicate to them?


Personal Adaptability, Energy and Resilience

Tell me about a time when your work or an idea was criticised?

Tell me about a time when you felt under pressure?

Tell me about a time when you felt frustrated by your work?


Self-management, Self-motivation and Self-knowledge

Tell me about a time when you performed over and above the expectations of your role?

What have you done that shows initiative and willingness to work?

What are your three major accomplishments?

What does “success” mean to you?

What does “failure” mean to you?

What motivates you to make known your greatest effort?

What are your interests outside work?

Tell me about a major problem you have encountered and how you dealt with it?


Problem Solving and Decision Making

Tell me about a difficult decision that you have made?

Tell me about an unpopular decision you have made?

What significant problems have you faced in the last year?

How do you work under pressure?

What impact do you think…….will have on our business?

How would you motivate an employee who was performing poorly?


Conflict Management and Ethics

How do you resolve conflict in the groups or teams that you have involvement with?

How would you resolve a dispute?

Tell me about a time when you manipulated the rules. When is it okay to do so?


Personal and Career Objectives

What are your short and long-term goals?

What are the most important things you are seeking in a career?

What person do you admire most and why?

Why do you want this position?


Knowledge of the Organisation and Role

Why did you apply for this position?

What skills and personal qualities are essential for success in this role?

What would you like to know about this organisation?

What do you believe you can contribute to this organisation?

What do you know about our organisation?

Why are you interested in working for our organisation?

In what type of a work environment are you most comfortable in?

Tell me about a time when you have been managed in a good or bad way?

What qualities should a successful manager possess?

Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and those reporting to him/her?

What problems do you feel you will have fitting into the job?

Tell me about the best job you have ever had?

What did you enjoy most or least about your last job?

What extra-curricular activities are you involved in?


Academic Experience

If you were hiring a graduate for this position, what qualities would you look for?


Ability, Competence and Achievement

What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?

What do you feel qualifies you for this position?


Stress Questions

How do you react to criticism?

Can you accept criticism for poor work?

What causes you to lose your temper?

Aren’t you overqualified for this role?

How long would you expect to remain with this organisation?

What salary are you expecting?



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