7 Examples of Competency Based Questions

If you’ve ever been for a job interview, chances are you were asked a series of competency based questions, a method of interviewing common place in recruitment. Competency based questions are used by employers to test a potential candidate’s skills and abilities, increasing the likelihood that if selected, they’ll be able to perform the role to the required standard.


The questions are often phrased in ways such as “give an example of a time when…”, which is a prompt for the candidate to describe a situation from start to finish. Although daunting, you shouldn’t dread competency based questions. Good preparation and practice will ensure you’ll handle the questions effectively and confidently.


Competency based interview questions cover a range of aptitudes including adaptability, communication, creativity, decisiveness, flexibility, leadership and teamwork. This list is by no means conclusive but will give you an idea of what you can expect to be asked.


To help you prepare for that all important interview, we’ve outlined the 7 most common competency based questions covering each of the aptitudes mentioned above:



Describe the biggest change that you have had to deal with in the workplace? How did you cope with it?



Tell us about a situation where your communication skills made a difference to a situation.



Tell us about a time where you had to think ‘outside the box’



Describe a time when you had to make an important decision in the workplace?



Describe a situation where you had to fully change your approach to a task.



Tell us about a time where you faced a challenge leading your team. How did you address this?



Describe a time where you positively contributed to your team.


So now you know some of the most common competency based questions – but what’s the best way to respond? Look out for our blog later in the week where we’ll go through the most effective methods to answering these questions, giving you the best chance of success. 

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