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Competency Based Interviews

Tips on Dealing with Competency Interviews

Competency based interviews take a more scientific approach to finding the right person for the job. Employers are more readily able to compare candidates based on certain key competencies required for the role. The below tips can be useful in getting prepared for this type of interview.

How You Are Assessed

  • Interviews are based on asking targeted questions related to the key competencies for that role.
  • Usually between 4 and 6 key competency questions will be asked.
  • Applicants are judged on their past performance. This is used as an indicator of their future performance.
  • Employers want to determine whether your skills, abilities and motivation match their specific criteria.

Common Competencies

  • Personal competencies evaluate your individual attributes.
  • Managerial competencies looks at how well you deal with responsibility and your supervisory control.
  • Analytical competencies usually revolve around your decision making abilities.
  • Social competencies look at your interpersonal skills, looking at well you function in a team and how well you get on with your colleagues.
  • Motivational competencies focus on the things that drive and motivate you.

Plan Ahead

  • It is acceptable to ask for the list of competencies you may be questioned on in advance.
  • Get your stories ready beforehand. Use examples from both work experiences and other areas of your life.
  • Keep your answers as succinct as possible. Rehearse your answers and know when to stop.


  • Add structure to your stories using the mnemonic STAR - situation, task, action, results.
  • Describe the situation, task or issue you had to deal with.  
  • Provide details about the action you took and the challenges you faced. Use the word “I” when describing actions.
  • State the results or outcome of the situation.
  • Explain what you learnt or developed as a result. 

Other Tips

For more helpful information to support your job search, see our Job Seeking Tips.