HR interviews typically include a set of competency based questions. These are designed
to find out the ‘who, what, why, where, how and when’ of your achievements as opposed to just the
Listed below are example questions set against specific competencies. Think through how you would approach these or similar questions in an interview. If you struggle to answer any of them, further preparation is essential.
One of the major reasons candidates fail to secure employment is poor performance during competency based interviewing. Interviewers want to hear what you actually delivered / sold / designed / managed, and NOT what other team members did. In other words, it’s time to blow your own trumpet – don’t be shy about discussing your achievements.
If you struggle to quickly think of relevant and full responses to any of the questions below, you need to seriously consider investing more time in preparation.
Describe a time when you altered your own behaviour to fit the situation.
Give an example of how you provided service to a client beyond their expectations. How did you identify the need? How did you respond?
Tell me about a time when you really had to pay attention to what someone else was saying, actively seeking to understand their message.
Describe the culture of your organisation and give an example of how you work within this culture to achieve a goal.
Planning and Prioritising
Provide me with an example of a time when you made a significant impact on the direction of the organisation / led on the development of a strategy.
Problem Solving and Judgment
Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a problem or make a decision that required careful thought. What did you do?
Tell me about a time when you improved the results by altering daily activities /standard procedures.
Describe a situation where you were successful in getting people to work together effectively.
Describe a time when you provided feedback to someone about their performance.
Impact and Influence
Describe a recent situation in which you convinced an individual or a group to do something.
Tell me about a time when you identified a new, unusual or different approach for addressing a problem or task.
Tell me about a time when you had to lead a group to achieve an objective.
Give me an example of a time when you deliberately attempted to build rapport with a co-worker or customer.
Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a particular resource management issue regarding people, materials or assets.
Describe the level of stress in your job and what you do to manage it.
Strategic Thinking / Strategy
Describe a time when you used your business knowledge to understand a specific business situation.