Competency based interview questions

Use these sample competency based interview questions to uncover meaningful insights into your candidates suitability for a role.

What is a competency based interview?

A competency-based interview, sometimes referred to as a skills based, structured, behavioural, or a situational interview, typically look to assess¬†a candidate’s practical capabilities (skills), validating the claims made in their application and CV.

Competency based interviews often include situational inquiries designed to uncover how a candidate has used the skills in question to address specific challenges.

Asking competency-based questions helps recruiters to discover how a candidate plans to employ their skills and expertise once they gain a job within your organisation.

Tips for answering competency based interview questions

When faced with competency-based interview questions that ask you to elucidate your key competencies or share an example of when you applied a specific skill or managed a particular situation, it’s crucial to incorporate the following elements into your response:


  • Describe the context by explaining what occurred, your role at the time, and the potential consequences or implications of the situation.


  • Specify the tasks that needed to be accomplished in response to the situation.


  • Explain the actions you took to fulfill these tasks, outlining your approach to each task and how you successfully completed each action.


  • Highlight the overall outcomes that resulted from your actions.

For instance, when asked about identifying a new approach to a problem:



  • “Upon assuming the role of X at my current company, there was widespread skepticism about my team and our function, stemming from previous letdowns in the broader business history.”



  • “My challenge was to regain trust and promote our team as the preferred choice for inventory-related matters within the company.”



  • “I proactively engaged with all internal stakeholders, soliciting their input on how we could enhance their experience. I also assumed responsibility for establishing metrics to gauge our success and introduced monthly progress meetings to address issues.”



  • “As a result, we secured full engagement from the business, experienced fewer issues through improved communication, and saw enhanced team performance driven by better KPIs and the sense of being valued. These efforts translated into an additional ¬£X,000 in sales while reducing our working capital.”


By diligently preparing for competency-based interviews, you can bolster your ability to deliver comprehensive responses, leaving a lasting impression on the interviewer and positioning yourself as a standout candidate.