Competency-Based Interviews

What to expect

Competency-based interviews allow you to display your skills, knowledge and abilities (known as competencies) by giving specific examples of your past experiences.

The purpose of this type of interview is to demonstrate what you have done, NOT what you can do. We are increasingly seeing large corporate and financial institutions use them as part of their recruitment process.

Preparation is key. Before any competency-based interview, look at the job description and try to put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. If “Leadership” is a key requirement for the role, simulate and practice a few answers around this.


What happens?

The interview questions are often based around a job description. Your response must be specific and detailed.

Tell the interviewer(s) about a particular situation that relates to the question (not a general one). When answering a question, try to plan your answers in the following format – Situation, Action, Outcome.

Situation = What was the situation? Describe the situation to set the scene.

Action = What did you do as a reaction to this situation? Talk about “I” rather than “We”. The interviewer is interested in what you did, not the company as a whole.

Outcome = What was the result of your action? The interviewer is looking to see a positive result so aim to reflect success in the outcome.

Example interview questions

  • Can you tell us about a time when you made a particularly good decision? What was the situation? What decision did you make and how did you make it? How did others respond? How did you determine that it was a particularly good decision?
  • Can you tell us about a time when you personally developed a new skill? How did you identify that you needed a new skill? How did you go about obtaining the new skill? What obstacles did you encounter? What was the outcome?
  • Can you tell us about a time when you exceeded a customer’s expectations? What were their expectations? How did you determine and/or exceed their expectations and why? How did they respond?
  • Can you tell us about a time when you dealt with conflict in a team? Who was involved in the conflict? What was the extent of the conflict and how was it caused? How did you determine the cause of the conflict? What did you do? How did others respond? What was the outcome?

Best of luck with your interview! If you have any further questions, we’re here to help.

Planning to move to the UK? We will line up your interviews before you go.