Maxwell Stephens

Competency based questions explained


Competence is the set of demonstrable characteristics and skills that a person has and they can enable and improve the efficiency or performance of a job. In the business world, competencies are used to define the abilities, skills, and knowledge that are needed by individuals to successfully perform job functions.


Businesses first need to know the competencies they want to see in their employees, as this will differ for individual business needs. Each business should have a list of core competencies that are organisation wide but they may also have competencies that are based on a specific role.


Competencies businesses look for include:


– Organisation skills

– Communication skills

– Customer orientated

– Listening

– Adaptability

– Critical thinking

– Creative thinking

– Ability to learn

– Leadership skills

– Ability to work in a team


This list is not exhaustive but demonstrates some of the competencies businesses may look for in potential candidates.


Examples of Competency Based Questions:


– If a business is looking for someone who is organised in an interview you may ask them to describe a time where they had multiple projects going on at one time. How did they prioritise tasks? And how did they have complete all the tasks?


– Or if a business is looking for someone who has excellent communication skills you may ask them to describe a time where they failed to communicate effectively. How did this effect the situation? And how would they communicate differently if they were in that situation again?


– If a business wanted someone who was able to work well in a team again you could ask about a time where they worked effectively in a team and to explain what role they took in this team.


The role of competencies based questions is to assess someone’s own competencies, whether they be a skill, ability or, knowledge, and how well they fit with your businesses core competencies.


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