business man sitting on chair looking at laptop preparing for job interview

Competency-based Interviews

What to expect at a competency-based interview and how to prepare

Most organisations, particularly multinationals, will use competency-based interviews as part of the recruitment process. This type of interview requires you to provide specific examples in answer to questions that are designed to assess how you react or behave in certain situations. Your answers should be given in the STAR format.

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Sample Competency-based Questions
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Frequently Asked Interview Questions​
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Using the STAR Technique

Sample Competency-based Questions


Give an example of a time when you have been asked to work in a group to complete a project. How did the group organise priorities and the delegation of tasks? What was the overall outcome of the project?

Analytical Thinking

Describe a situation when a project or piece of work was going to miss a set deadline, how did you prioritise which parts of the work to complete first and how did you go about completing the existing work?

Problem Solving & Decision Making

Describe a significant problem that you have encountered recently. How did you approach this problem? Who was involved and how did you go about resolving it?


Give an example of a time when you have had to communicate with individuals and groups, both internally and externally. What methods of communication did you use and what problems did you face?

Influencing & Persuading Others

Give an example of a time when you were asked to do something that you disagreed with. How did you go about your task and what was the outcome?

Frequently Asked Interview Questions

What do you know about the company?
What do you think this job will entail?
Why do you think you should get this role?
What do you think you can bring to this role – i.e. what do you have to offer?
What was the best project you worked on and why?
What was the best team you worked with and why?
What are your three main strengths?
What are your main weaknesses?
Where would like to see yourself in 5 years time?
Have you any preference to the type of people you like working with?
Do work well as part of a team or do you prefer to work alone?
Have you ever been in a position where you have had people reporting to you? Discuss.
How do you work under pressure? How you deal with it? Can you give examples of situations?
Can you give the reasons for wanting to move jobs/companies?
What do you look for from a company?
Can you give example of your best attributes?
Are you a self-starter? Discuss.
What are your professional achievements?
What systems do you use to keep track of tasks that require your attention?
Have you encountered any big difficulties in the last year? If so how did you overcome them?
What would you describe as being the toughest decision you have ever had to make in past positions? How did you deal with it?
Can you give me an example of where you came across a conflict in the work place and if so how did you deal with it and what did you learn from it?

Answering the Difficult Questions

Tell me about yourself?

Try to be yourself. Prepare your response


Choose relevant examples.


Make sure they are relevant e.g. attention to detail or strong communication.


This is important for less experienced candidates. Be prepared to demonstrate the relevancy of your educational background to the role.


Be clear about your future career ambitions and aspirations.

What is your biggest weakness?

Don’t be afraid to mention your weakness. Discuss what you have done to overcome it. Turn your weakness into a strength. Weaknesses should be:

  • Real

  • Understandable

  • Relatively harmless

  • Work-related

Example: “Sometimes, I focus too much on the details of a project. So now, when I’m working on a project, I make sure at the end of the day to sit back and take a few minutes to think about the general scope of my work. This forces me to keep priorities straight and helps me keep the right mindset.”

Learn how to use the STAR Technique