Competency-based Interview Questions

Recruiters and Hiring Managers can use the below-given competency-based interview questions to assess candidates’ skills better. Competency interview questions assist to reach a more objective hiring decision.



Why you need to include competency-based interview questions?

Competency-based interview questions allow candidates to use real-life examples to explain how they use their competencies on the job. This assists interviewers in evaluating candidates’ skills more effectively.

With competency-based interview questions you can access candidates for specific skills like:

  • Risk taking
  • Adaptability
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership

With competency-based interview questions you can take the interview beyond candidate qualifications. Hiring managers and recruiters get to know about a candidate’s way of thinking and their approach to solve day-to-day problems they might face at work. For junior profiles, these questions can assist find candidates with a desire to learn, even if they don’t have the experience.

Competency-based interview techniques assist set hiring criteria to avoid partiality. Recruiters can find strengths and weakness of each candidate, prioritize the most important criteria and reach to a decision.

Competency-based interview questions

  • Share about a time when you went the extra mile for your job.
  • Tell me about the last training you attended? How did you use your learning in the practical world?
  • Tell me about the most challenging project you worked on. What type of challenges did you face from start to finish?
  • How did you increase revenue at companies you worked for?
  • Tell me about a time when your Team Lead approached you with an issue they couldn’t solve. How did you help?

How to use competency interview questions?

  • Interviewers should be prepared. Start by writing down core competencies that align with your organization, as well as skills related to the vacant position. This will help you in ensuring that you ask the right questions to recruit the best candidates for your company.
  • For technical interview questions consult a recruitment manager. They can suggest you questions like “Describe a challenging project you managed from start to finish.” Or you can also ask more generic questions like, “Share about a time you went against a company policy.”
  • You can ask competency-based interview questions in more than one round of the recruitment process. Determine skills required for the open position and use the apt questions to screen candidates from the first round.  You could also include competency-based questions in your written assignment.
  • If you will be including competency-based questions in your interview, make sure you update the candidates about the same. Tell them how the interview process will look like and what type of questions can be asked. This will give them a chance to prepare their answers.
  • Ask follow up questions to ensure you get genuine answers from your candidates. For example, when they tell about the most challenging project they completed successfully, ask them to share more details like their approach or the challenges they faced.

Red Flags

  • Quick, generic answers: Competency-based interview questions allow you to know about real-life examples that exhibit the candidate’s skills. If a candidate fails to describe specific situations or gives generic answers, like “I am cooperative,” they are probably avoiding the question
  • Contrary answers: A candidate may claim they have strong collaborative skills. But if they describe a few situations where they were having difficulty working in a team or seniors, they may be lying. Look for candidates who demonstrate a steady behavior, someone who enjoys working in a team or someone who is great at building bonds and performs well in a team.
  • Self-centered answers: Candidates generally promote their strengths during the interview. But, if they don’t give credit to team members or manager’s approach for their success, they may have problems working with others.