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Interview Preparation: Common competency based questions

3 months ago by Daniel Stargatt
Interview Preparation: Common competency based questions

In this article we take a look at what specific questions you could be asked during your interview to gain an understanding of your skills and experience across a number of key areas, such as delivery, adaptability, problem solving and stakeholder management.

The key to successfully answering competency based questions is to firstly self analyse on things such as skills, duties and responsibilities and then work out how those skills, duties and responsibilities relate to the role you are interviewing for. Once you have done that you are then able to take the questions below and put your own tailored answers to them.

Although we have put some examples of the most common questions asked, the interviewer may ask in a slightly different way. Ultimately they are looking for the same result… a well thought through and structured answer. A good rule when answering questions is to always offer an example of a time when you have demonstrated whatever they are asking about.

So let’s look at the key areas that an interviewer would want to discuss and some of the most common questions asked…

Delivery

  • Describe one of your current or recently completed projects
  • Give us an example of when you took responsibility for delivering expected outcomes
  • Has there been a time when you haven’t delivered on time and within budget? Why was this?

Handling a difficult decision

  • Describe a difficult situation you have had to face and how you handled it
  • Talk about a situation where you had to deal with a difficult customer
  • Have you ever had to make an unpopular decision?
  • Give us an example where you had to deal with a difficult member of your team

Problem solving

  • Give us an example of when you had to come up with multiple solutions.  How did you decide on the most appropriate solution?
  • Talk about a project that didn’t go to plan. What did you do?
  • What’s the most challenging problem you’ve encountered? What did you do to resolve the problem?
  • What would you do if you had a employee who wasn’t performing?
  • How do you usually come up with a solution for a challenging projects?

Stakeholder management

  • Give an example of when you have had to manage a challenging stakeholder
  • Can you talk us through how you typically manage key stakeholders?
  • What do you do when you need to persuade or influence stakeholders?

Adaptability

  • Can you give us an example of when you have had to adapt during a project?
  • What’s the biggest change you have had to deal with? How did you handle it?
  • How would you adapt to a new culture?
  • Can you give us an example of when you have had to do something you haven’t done before and how you handled it?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to adjust due to changes outside your influence or control?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to adjust to someone else’s way of working to complete a project

Attention to detail

  • Can you give us an example of a time when you made a mistake and how you dealt with it?
  • What’s you process to check quality?
  • Can you give us an example of when you had to manage someone closely due to their lack of attention to detail and how you handled it?
  • Have you ever had to pull someone up on their lack of attention to detail and how did you deal with it?

Working under pressure

  • Can you give us an example of when you have had to prioritise difficult tasks? How did you come to a decision?
  • Can you tell us about a project that has caused you a lot of stress and how you handled this?
  • Have you ever had to deal with a difficult customer and what did you do to manage them?
  • What’s the most pressured project you have worked on and why?

Working in a team

  • When was the last time you worked as part of a successful team? What was your contribution?
  • What do you think the key is to a good working relationship with your colleagues?
  • Give us an example of working in a dysfunctional team. What was the cause? What did you do to help the situation?

Leading a team (if you’re interring for a more senior role)

  • Can you give an example of a time where you have had to inspire a team to deliver a project?
  • How would you deal with a team member who is struggling with their workload?
  • How would you deal with a team member who is struggling to deliver to your standards?
  • Have you ever had to make a difficult decision that you knew would be unpopular and how did you deal with it?

Decision making

  • Describe a time when you had to intervene to take control of a situation
  • What’s the biggest decision you have had to make?
  • What’s the best decision you have made?
  • What is your process to making decisions?

I hope that this has give you some food for thought. Remember, preparation is the most important thing when it comes to an interview, so get your answers together and be prepared for anything the interviewer has to ask. Good luck!!

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