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Competency Interviews Uncovered

Competency Interviews

Competency Interviews are a common style of interview, especially when targeting public sector and HSE jobs. That said, many private sector clients use this format, particularly US multinationals. Knowledge is the key to successfully navigating competency interviews.

Common competencies used include leadership, teamwork, communications skills, planning and organisational skills, analysis decision-making, problem solving, negotiation skills and influencing skills. Below I will discuss two competencies – decision-making and leadership.

Competency interview questions are structured to seek out past examples of when you demonstrated a certain sets of behaviours. To achieve optimum outcome when answering questions at competency interviews you should use the STAR technique – Situation/Task, Actions and Results.

Competency Definitions & Sample Questions

A definition of DECISION-MAKING – makes prompt, clear decisions which may involve tough choices or considered risks; takes responsibility for actions, projects and people; takes initiative, acts with confidence and works under own direction; initiates and generates activity

An example of a competency question for decision-making would be …. Tell me about a time you to make a quick decision. What elements did you consider when making the decision? In what way did you assess risks involved?

A definition of LEADERSHIP – provides team with a clear direction; sets appropriate standards; delegates work appropriately and fairly; motivates and empowers others; provides team with development opportunities and coaching; recruits individuals of a high calibre

An example of a competency question for leadership would be ….. Give me an example of a time when you led a team to achieve a certain outcome. How did you set tasks/goals for the team? How did you guide and motivate the group?

Interview Coach – Competency Interviews Expert

Paul Mullan a leading interview coach, with 15+ years of experience coaching job seekers to success at competency interviews. For more information about competency interviews skills training CONTACT US or visit