If you have an interview coming up, you will have practiced how working for this particular company aligns with your own career objectives and why you are a good fit for the role. That’s a great start—but practicing a variety of competency/behavioural interview questions will help you to feel more comfortable answering these open-ended scenarios.
Competency interview questions generally require you to tell an anecdote as part of the answer, so it’s important to be able to tell a cohesive story at the same time as highlighting the skills and thought process you used. The STAR method is one tactic for answering this type of question – i.e. Situation, Task, Action and Result. Once you have a good understanding of the method, try answering a number of the below questions, which have been grouped into categories.
Adaptability and response to uncertainty
- Tell me about a time when you changed your priorities to meet others’ expectations.
- Tell me about a time when you had to change your point of view or your plans to take into account new information or changing priorities.
- When did you make a poor decision—but apply the learning from it to make a better decision in a future instance?
- Give an example of how you provided service to a client/stakeholder beyond their expectations. How did you identify the need? How did you respond?
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a client/stakeholder service issue.
- Describe a situation in which you acted as an advocate within your organization for your stakeholder’s needs, where there was some organizational resistance to be overcome.
- Give an example of a difficult or sensitive situation that required extensive communication.
- Tell me about a time when you really had to pay attention to what someone else was saying, actively seeking to understand their message.
- How do you drive colleagues to adopt your vision and/or ideas? Give an example of a time you successfully persuaded a person or team to follow your lead on an important project or decision.
Problem solving and judgment
- Tell me about a time when you had to identify the underlying causes to a problem.
- Describe a time when you had to analyse a problem and generate a solution.
- 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 set and achieved a goal.
- Tell me about a time when you improved the way things were typically done on the job.
- Describe something you have done to maximize or improve the use of resources beyond your own work unit to achieve improved results.
- Tell me about a time when you worked successfully as a member of a team.
- Describe a situation where you were successful in getting people to work together effectively.
- Describe a situation in which you were a member (not a leader) of a team, and a conflict arose within the team. What did you do?
- Tell me about a time you had to deliver a project under a tight deadline. What trade-offs did you have to consider in order to finish on time, and how did that impact the outcome? How did you decide what to prioritize?
- Give an example of a time you had to manage multiple projects. How did you prioritize and make sure everything was finished in a timely manner?
- How do you approach interruptions to a schedule—either your own or a project’s schedule?
Motivation and values
- Tell me about your greatest professional achievement.
- Give an example of a problem you identified and took the initiative to solve. How did you decide it was a worthy problem to focus on?
- When were you unhappy with the outcome of your work? Why?