Interview Questions You Should be Ready to Answer

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 and 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?

Client focus

  • 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.

Communication

  • 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 analyze 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?

Results orientation

  • 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.

Teamwork

  • 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?

Time management

  • 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?

 

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