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5 Tips On Acing A Competency-Based Interview

By Lauren @BubbleJobs


If you’ve been invited to take part in a competency-based interview, you may be wondering how you can prepare and what you need to do to ace the interview.

Competency-based interviews are basically the employer’s way of making sure that all candidates are rated using the same criteria so they can easily make decisions based on the answers you give.

They tend to involve asking for examples of how you dealt with past experiences, so it’s important to have situations in mind when you walk into the interview room.

The idea behind competency-based interviews is that these examples will be good indicators of how you’ll act in future situations, so it’s vital that you pick situations that paint you in the best possible light.

But how can you make sure you give yourself the best chance of acing the interview and landing the job? Well, these tips should help!

1) Be Prepared

Different jobs will require different competency questions in an interview, so the best thing you can do is look through the job description and pick out the skills and experience it asks for, then write down past situations that prove you’re the right person for the job.

For example, if the job description asks for previous team management or an innovative mindset, note down a couple of examples of when you successfully managed team or when you went beyond the call of duty and came up with an innovative solution to a problem.

2) Use STAR

The STAR technique is a popular process used to answer competency-based questions and can really help you to answer them effectively and fully. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result and is a great way of structuring your interview answers.

It works by giving an example of a Situation relevant to the question, detailing the Tasks that were involved, explaining what Actions you embarked on to fix the situation and complete the tasks, and showing off the Results that came from the actions you took.

3) Don’t Focus On Work

If you’re going for one of your first full-time jobs, there’s a chance that you won’t have a lot of past work experiences to refer to in your interview. This, however, doesn’t mean that you won’t have anything to refer to.

If you’re going for an entry-level role, it’s perfectly acceptable to use examples from school, university, part-time work you’ve done or any extra-curricular activities. As long as the experiences you discuss are relevant to the question and prove you’re the right person for the job then they’re definitely worth mentioning.

4) Keep It Short and Sweet

Even though the interviewer is asking you to describe a situation, make sure you keep it as succinct as possible to avoid boring the people interviewing you and rambling on about irrelevant things.

Stick to the STAR technique mentioned earlier and avoid mentioning names or going off on a tangent. Not only will this confuse the interviewer, but it’ll also alienate them and lose focus on the real point of your story.

5) Don’t Say Nothing

If you get asked to provide an example of a time where you carried out a particular action and you truly don’t have any experience to refer to – first of all, don’t lie. But also, don’t say nothing at all.

If you’re really stuck and can’t think of anything to say – the best thing to do is to talk about how you would have approached a similar situation if and when it arises.


So there we go, some tips on acing that competency-based interview! For more interview tips and advice check the interview advice on our blog!

Do you agree with my tips or have any of your own? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @BubbleJobs! 🙂

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