From competency based to behavioural questions, discover some of the most popular job interview questions & how to answer them.
You’ve perfected your CV, applied for the job and now you’ve been invited for an interview. Whether it’s virtual or in-person, the prospect of a job interview can be daunting and it’s completely normal to feel nervous. Planning how you’ll answer some of the questions likely to come up will give you a head start and build your confidence
ahead of the interview.
While the exact format of the interview will vary according to the role and industry, you can expect to be asked some behavioural questions as well as job-specific, skills-based ones. We’ve put together some top tips on how to respond to the most common interview questions. Discover how you can use your answers to let your personality and experience shine through, so that your future employer knows you are the right person for the job.
Competency Based Questions
Competency based interview questions are used to assess how you have used specific skills in your career so far. They help interviewers understand how you approach tasks and challenges, how well you work with other people, if you can think on your feet, and how you cope with stressful situations. How you answer these questions can highlight how well you match the desired qualities mentioned in the job profile, what you have
learnt from your past professional experiences, and how well your personality fits with the traits the company is looking for.
Key competencies which employers often look for include:
Expect questions starting with 'Give an example of…', 'Tell us about a time when you…', or 'Describe how you…'.
How to answer competency based questions
Ahead of your interview, re-read the job description carefully. For example, if it says that they are looking for someone with good verbal and written communication skills, the chances are that you will be asked to speak about a time when you have used those skills to your advantage. Questions might be about your failures too - it is okay to admit your failures, but it is also important to highlight what you learnt from them and how you plan to handle similar situations in the future.
To prepare for competency based questions:
The STAR model
The STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) approach is a good way to structure your responses to competency based interview questions. Provide the context of the situation or background to your example, keeping it concise. Next, explain the task or activity, then outline describe the action you took to resolve the situation. Finish off by summarising the result you achieved or what you learnt. When asking competency based questions, the interviewer will want to understand what you learnt from your experience, and how you might have done things differently, so preparing a few examples in advance using the STAR model can be a good way to build your confidence ahead of the interview.
Interviewers ask behavioural questions to gain an insight into a candidate’s personality and abilities. While competency based questions are more about assessing the skills and experience you would bring to the role, behavioural questions help interviewers to understand whether you fit the culture of the organisation and the mould of the type of person they think can do the job. Behavioural questions are often used to assess how
you’ve handled past situations in the workplace, to reveal the way you approach problems to achieve a successful outcome. Interviewers are usually looking for descriptive answers to behavioural questions rather than a simple yes/no.
Using the STAR technique to answer these questions can help you give context to your responses.
Example behavioural questions:
Remember, an interview is also your golden opportunity to get to know your potential employers better, work out if the company would be a good fit for you and ask any questions you may have.
For more career advice, check out our other candidate blogs here. If you need help updating your CV or to find out about our latest roles, contact your local Adecco branch and connect with a recruiter today!
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