Competency Based Interview Questions
Competency based interviews are used to specifically assess likely fit with an organisation, and will therefore be different for each company. Detailed below are a set of example competency questions which can be used to help you prepare.
Verbal communication Ė effectiveness of oral expression in individual or group situations
Written communication Ė the abililty to express ideas clearly in writing
- What is the most difficult communication problem you have experienced? How did you handle it?
- What differing approaches do you employ in talking with different types of colleagues or customers / clients? How do you evaluate the effectiveness of these approaches?
- Would you rather write a report of give an oral presentation? Why?
- What report that you are currently preparing (or recently prepared) is the most challenging? Why?
The ability to come up with imaginative solutions, and to identify radical alternatives to traditional approaches
- What are the most creative things you have done in the past 12 months?
- What is the most imaginative or innovative task you have done in your present position?
- How much opportunity for innovation and imagination is there in your present position? How have you demonstrated these qualities?
- What kind of problems have people recently called on you to solve? Tell me about what you devised.
- Describe the last problem in your organization what was solved in a highly imaginative manner? What part did you play?
- Can you think of a change in your organization which your peers would recognise as being developed principally on your initiative?
- What do you do differently from your predecessors in the position?
Critical thinking is the identification and evaluation of evidence to guide decision making. A critical thinker uses broad in-depth analysis of evidence to make decisions and communicate his/her beliefs clearly and accurately
- How often are you required to make a decision with limited facts at your disposal? What do you do in these circumstances?
- Can you give me an example of a difficult and complex problem you have had to deal with recently?
- What is the most difficult/interesting/complex problem you have ever had to solve? How did you set about it? What were the difficulties?
The ability and readiness to take decisions and to act on conclusions reached
- What was your most recent decision in the last six months? What made it difficult?
- How do you go about making an important decision affecting your career?
- What was the last major problem that you were confronted with? What action did you take on it?
- What was the last major decision you faced? How long did it take for you to make up your mind about what to do?
- What kind of decisions do you tend to make rapidly, and which ones do you take more time on? Give me some examples.
- When (if ever) have you delayed a decision to give you more time to think? What is the longest time you delayed it?
- Give an example of a situation in which you made up your mind too rapidly. Explain.
- How do you determine problems in your work area? How do you determine priority for action?
Effective use of subordinates and other resources available. Knowledge of when, how and whom to delegate. Effective allocation of responsibilities
- What criteria do you apply when deciding what to delegate?
- What sort of decisions do you usually delegate?
- When did you last have a major problem requiring help from others? What did you do? Why did you ask particular people to help you?
- Explain your biggest mistake in delegating (or not delegating).
- Describe the type of decision making that you delegate to your subordinates. What criteria do you use for delegating assignments?
- How do you cope with frustration?
- Tell me about an issue where you had to overcome resistance from your boss, subordinates or peers. How did you go about this?
- When do you do your best work? How many tasks do you like to tackle at one time?
- Tell me how you organise your day.
- What do you do in your spare time? What do you do for exercise?
- How much time do you devote to sports, hobbies and recreational activities?
- When did you last feel thoroughly exhausted?
Awareness of changing economic, social and governmental environment likely to affect the job or the organization. Breadth and diversity of business related knowledge
- How much do you know about whatís going on in your/this industry? What are your sources of information?
- What do you know about the way other people outside the organisation feel about it? (customers, suppliers, neighbours)
- How are changing social attitudes changing the way you do your job?
- What are the most significant challenges facing your industry/company?
- What do you read?
- Name a business book or article which has influenced the way you work.
The ability to modify oneís own approach or style in order to reach a goal
- What are the two most different approaches you use in ďsellingĒ ideas?
- Describe your two best and weakest subordinates. Do you handle them differently? How?
- Give examples of the two most different approaches you have ever used in similar situations.
Actions based on own convictions rather than on a desire to please others
- When have you had to go against general feelings or policies to accomplish a goal? Tell me about it.
- Describe the occasions when you feel you must consult your superior or someone else before taking action.
- Describe an incident in which you disagreed with your superior. How was it settled?
- In which situations do you tend to be independent or proactive, and in which do you wait for someone else to take the initiative?
- Were there ever any organisational policies you didnít agree with? What did you do about them.
- What do you do in your job that isnít covered in the job description?
- Give an example of a project or idea you have accomplished in spite of considerable opposition or organisational constraint.
Actively influencing events rather than passively accepting, seeing opportunities and acting on them
- How often do new ideas come from you? Give me an example.
- Give me an example of an important initiative that came from you recently, in any sphere. How did the idea come to you? How did you decide what to do? How did you set about making it happen?
- How do you get your work assignments? Do you have the flexibility to generate some projects on your own? If yes, can you give me an example of one you started recently?
- Have you found a way to make your job more interesting or more rewarding?
- How many projects have you started on your own this year? What prompted you to begin with?
- How do you personally influence the productivity of your organisation?
- How do you get your subordinates to generate new ideas?
- What ideas would you like to see implemented in your organisation? Have you tried to sell these ideas? How would you go about it?
- How did you go about getting your last job?
- What did you do to get ready for this interview?
Awareness of other people and environment and own impact on these. Actions indicate consideration for the feelings and needs of others
- Have you ever had to make any unpopular decisions? How did your subordinates react? How did you feel about it?
- What specific problem has a person from another department brought to you recently? How did you handle it?
- Describe your most recent discussion with one of your subordinates/colleagues who was having or causing problems.
- How sensitive are you to the way that other people are feeling?
- How good are you at predicting how people will react in a given situation?
the cognitive process of reaching a decision or drawing conclusions
- Whatís the best decision youíve ever made. Tell me about it. What were the alternatives? Why was it a good decision?
- What is the toughest (or most important) decision you have made in the last year. Tell me how you went about it. What alternatives did you consider?
- How confident are you in your own judgement of people or situations? Can you give some examples?
- When have you included subordinates in you decision making? To what extend did you incorporate their input?
The ability to motivate and inspire people so as to achieve group objectives most effectively
- Tell me about a new policy or idea, considerably different from the standard procedure, that you recently implemented. What approach did you take to get people to go along with the idea?
- How frequently do you meet with your immediate subordinates as a group? Why? What do you do in preparation?
- Have you ever had a problem in getting your subordinates to accept your ideas or departmental goals? What approach did you use? How effective was it?
- How would your subordinates describe your leadership style?
- Do you have any subordinates who do not work together well? What have you done to get them to do so?
- How often do you attend meetings with colleagues? What role did you play at the last meeting?
- On what occasions have you ever involved subordinates in helping you make a decision? Why?
Ability to assimilate and apply new, job-related information, taking into consideration rate and complexity
- Which project have you found most difficult to master? Why? How did you attempt to master it?
- How do you keep up to date with technical developments in your field? What relevant papers or magazines do you read?
An understanding of the need to maintain controls over projects, people and processes; the discipline to follow up on tasks initiated
- How do you make sure everything happens as planned?
- Do you find that things need a lot of following up on? Give me an example.
- What methods do you usually use to keep informed of what is going on in your area of responsibility?
- What changes have you made to handle delays in or failure to meet time schedules? Give an example.
- What kind of system do you have for keeping track of assignments given to subordinates?
The ability to organise, analyse and present numerical data
- What sort of problems do you most like to solve? Why?
- How good are you at coping with statistical information? Is it a part of your job that you enjoy?
The capacity to perceive the impact and implications of decisions and activities on other parts of the organisation
- With what other departments do you frequently deal in your current job? How often and under what conditions?
- How do events in your area of the organisation affect other parts of the organisation? Please give explicit examples.
- Have you ever made a decision that affected departments other than your own? What was the situation? What was the outcome?
- How well informed do you feel you are in what is going on in other departments in the organisation? How do you keep informed?
- How do you keep your team informed of what is going on in the organisation? How is your job affected by situations beyond your control in other parts of the organisation? Give examples
- What departments have you found to be of most assistance in helping you solve problems?
Ability to make a clear, persuasive presentation or ideas or facts, convince others to own expressed point of view, gain agreement or acceptance of plans, activities or products
- Give me an example of an occasion recently when you persuaded your colleagues of your views. What was the issue? How did your views differ? What was your strategy? How did it work?
- What was the best idea you ever sold to your manager, colleague or subordinate? Why did they accept it?
- Describe your most satisfying experience in presenting to and gaining the support of top management for an idea or proposal.
- How do you cope with situations of conflict?
Planning and Organisation
Effectiveness in establishing an appropriate ourse of action, either for oneself or for others, in order to achieve an objective
- Tell me about a recent project you have managed and how you structured it.
- What did you do to get ready for this interview?
- What organisational changes have you made in the last year? What were your reasons? How did you implement them?
- What were your objectives for last year? Were they achieved? What are your objectives or this year? Who else knows them? What are you doing to see they are reached? How are you progressing?
Ability to maintain effectiveness in situations of disappointment and/or rejection
- How do you cope with feelings of stress, tension or anxiety? Give examples.
- How well do you cope when things arenít going your way? Give me an example.
Extent to which calculated risks are taken in order to obtain a recognised benefit or advantage
- How often do you have to take a calculated risk in your job?
- What do you do when a decision has to be taken very quickly? Give an example.
- Have you been criticised for taking a risky decision which subsequently paid off?
- Tell me about a mistake you have made in your job? What did you learn from this?
- What has been the thing that you have most wanted in your life? What have you done about it?
- How well do you work when things arenít going you way? Can you give me an example?
- Which parts of your job do you enjoy most? Why? Which do you enjoy least? Why? How do you get yourself to do the unenjoyable bits?
- How ambitious are you? What drives you?
- What is the achievement you are proudest of? Why?
Stability of performance under pressure and/or opposition. Ability to make controlled responses in stressful situations
- What do you do outside work? How do you relax? How easy do you find it to forget about the office when you go home?
- What makes you angry? How do you cope with it?
- Under what kinds of conditions do you work best? Do you feel pressure in your job? In what circumstances? How do you deal with it?
- What has been the highest pressure situation you have been under in recent years? How did you cope?
- When did you last lose your temper? Describe the reasons? What was the outcome?
- Give me an example of one of your ideas being strongly opposed in a discussion? How did you react?
- When in the last year have you been most upset with yourself? Why?
- When in the last year have you been most upset with someone else? Why?
The ability to recognise the needs and potential of subordinates and provide the right framework for them to develop
- How often do you coach people in some aspect of the job? How many daysí training has each of them had over the last year?
- What techniques do you find most useful in developing subordinates?
- How do you identify subordinatesí needs and potential?
- Tell me about some of the people who have become stressful as a result of your management.
- Have you ever worked under a manager who was good at developing people? Why do you consider him or her to have been good at it?
Willingness to participate as a full member of a team of which s/he is not necessarily leader; effective contributor even when the team is working on something of no direct interest
- How do you most prefer to work: on your own or with other people? Why?
- Can you give me an example of a successful team that you have been a member of? What did you achieve? How was it achieved?
- How do you get on with your colleagues? What annoys you about them?
The ability to stay with a problem or line of thought until the matter is settled or the objective is no longer reasonably attainable
- What was the biggest obstacle youíve had to overcome to get where you are today? How did you overcome it?
- Describe a situation in which you were too persistent. What happened? How could you have improved the outcome?
- Have you ever submitted a good idea to your superior and he or she didnít take action on it? What did you do?
- Can you relate an experience in which you felt you gained something because you persisted for a length of time?