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Job Interview


Competency Based Interviews Tips & Tricks

Competency Based Interviews – How to be a STAR at interview stage.

Competency based questions are the norm at interview stage these days so how should you approach the dreaded Competency Based Questions??


These interview questions are asked so that the employer can see whether your skills, motivations and personality match up to what they are looking for when it comes to fulfilling the job spec.

Many people dread these types of questions but the truth is, once you have an answer prepared all you need to do is tweak it depending on the job you are applying for. Here at FS Recruitment we want to help eliminate the stress and worry that surrounds ‘interviews’, so we have broken it down into 2 easy steps for you, our valued candidates.

How will I know it’s a competency based interview question?

This is simple, when you hear questions starting with:

  • How would you…

  • What would you do if…

  • Can you explain how you would…

Then you know it is a competency based question.

What are they looking for?

When answering this type of interview question you will need to:

Explain how you would handle the situation normally giving them a step by step answer using the STAR approach (situation, task, action, result) or my own personal "SME method" (start middle and end) = Overview of the situation, What YOU did (not WE), How YOU did it and the outcome/result. )


Give an answer based on a past work experience situation, where you mention the company you worked for, how you managed the situation, what you done and the eventual outcome, given the interviewer a rough timeline of when it happened.

- Stick to the point; describe how you actually handled the situation step by step. (DON’T waffle & ALWAYS say “I did” NOT “We did”)

You should always give an example, whether the interviewer asked for one or not. When in doubt give an example. The reason for this being, the employer wants to see how you have previously handled such a situation, so now is your time to shine, show them what you’ve got.

What can they ask me?

What they can ask is different based on the industry you want to work in. But not to worry, I have created a list of possible competency based interview questions for the sectors that we have jobs in below:

  • Give an example of a difficult or sensitive situation with a fellow colleague?

  • Describe something you have done to improve the performance of team?

  • Describe a situation where you were successful in getting people to work together effectively?

  • Tell me about a time when you had to lead a group to achieve an objective?

  • Describe a time when you were in a high pressure situation?

  • Describe a time when you encountered a difficult customer, the situation, and what you did?

Competency based interview questions are not to be feared, like everything do your homework, put in the work and you will get the results.

For further career advise please contact 

Interview Preparation: Job Seekers
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