Published February 10, 2019
How to Answer Competency-Based Interview Questions
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The start of a new job can always mean new opportunities and experiences, and for many people, this is an excellent way to showcase new skills and qualifications. Time after time, job recruiters will throw hard-to-answer questions in order to understand your personal ability to present all that you can bring to the new job.
One of the main difficult questions that are sure to be asked is competency-based questions and these include questions such as:
“Describe a time where you showcased effective time-management skills in order to successfully complete a difficult task.”
Questions such as these tend to stump even professionals, usually because it requires the ability to think on your feet to creatively deliver a unique response.
Job recruiters are always looking for someone who can deliver a confident response. If you truly believe that you have what it takes to do the job you’re seeking, then this is one of the key aspects to successfully delivering an answer that will allow job recruiters to remember you.
When sitting in an interview, the most important thing to think about is what exactly is driving you to get this job? It may be the following:
- Desire for money
- Job satisfaction
These areas may also be your key areas of motivation. Remind yourself exactly why you’re applying for this job, and during the interview, it may help to ease any nervousness you may feel.
Competency-based interview questions are often characterised by situations in which you were able to successfully and efficiently complete a task that may have been difficult.
For example, you may be asked in your interview, “think about a time where there was some conflict between two employees, how were you able to successfully resolve it?”
These types of questions are often asked because they will provoke an understanding of your ability to cooperate with others and resolve difficult circumstances. Remember, with competency-based interview questions, that the main outcome of any answer you provide with the interviewer is always successful and efficient.
In order to answer a competency-based interview question as effectively as possible, note that the main motive for interviewers to ask these questions in the first place is to see exactly what skills you have, and how that may benefit the workforce.
For example, you may already have great skills such as:
- Time management
All these skills are essential to nearly every workplace and presenting this to your interviewer is one step towards achieving an excellent outcome.
Approaching your interview with confidence is achieved with first understanding:
What skills can you bring to the workforce?
During your interview, it’s very important to mention what previous experience from any other jobs that you have. Experience is a necessary factor in almost any work environment, and it will help set you apart from any other job candidates. This means that in any answer you provide for competency-based interview questions, it’s important to mention, “well, in my previous position”, and then continue to answer the question with a situation from your previous job.
What makes you a more valuable work candidate than anyone else?
This is an important question that you should have answered prior to your interview and it can help you form an answer to a competency-based interview question. For example, if you’re asked how you used time management in your previous position, then you should be able to form a unique response that demonstrates your ability to complete a task successfully.
When answering this, your answers should also be fit for the job you’re applying for. Your answers to competency-based interview questions should centre around the job description. For example, if you’re applying for a job in accounting and you say that you are motivated by other people or interpersonal communications (working with people) then you may not be considered for the job. However, if you say that you are motivated by challenge and a keen eye for detail, then this would be more suited to accounting.
And so, the key to answering competency-based interview questions is to always ensure that you provide a useful situation, depending on the question asked, and provide a response that demonstrates a time in which you were able to successfully complete a task. It’s vital that you’re able to mention any skills and experience from your previous job to include in your answer, as experience and evidence is always necessary.
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