10 Examples of Competency Based Interview Questions

By now you know that the recruiting and hiring process is a key element to your company’s success. It’s no secret that every company approaches hiring differently, but at the end of the day, the goal remains the same: finding the best candidate to fill the job.

There are several ways to go about understanding whether that potential candidate is your next employee. In our most recent post we scratched the surface of one of the most popular interviewing methods, competency based interviewing. In our recruiter’s guide to competency based interview questions, we provided a 101 course on competency based interviews, to help you and your company improve your hiring process by properly evaluating candidate competencies.

In this post, we’re going to expand on that guide in more detail. Our goal is to help your hiring teams start asking the right questions so you can properly asses the candidate and prevent any potentially costly mishires. Once you develop an understanding of the importance of the competency based interview method, it’s time to start creating questions. The first step is to list out core competencies that align with your company, as well as the qualities of prospects applying for the open role within your organization. By listing out some of these competencies, you can help ensure you’re asking the right questions to staff your company with the best employees.

Here are some top competency based interview questions:

#1: Organization

  • Describe a past project or task where you needed to involve members from others teams throughout your company. How did you come to realize that you needed that extra assistance and how did you organize a team to help get buy-in from a company, manager or executive team?
  • Provide an example of a time where you had various projects on your plate and you had to prioritize one over the other. How did you come to that conclusion? Was it the right decision and what was the outcome or prioritizing that task or project?

#2: Communication

  • Describe a time when your communication skills made a difference in a situation. What was it about your communication skills and how you approached the problem or task that helped?
  • Describe a situation where you failed to communicate properly and what you believe you did wrong in this situation. Looking back at it, what would you have changed and how may have that affected the outcome?

#3: Creativity & Innovation

  • Explain an exciting new strategy that you’ve tested. Describe how you pitched it and what the results were, good or bad.
  • Describe a time when you had to convince a manager or senior team member that a change in process or approach was necessary for success. What made you think that your new approach would benefit the company and what was the outcome?

#4: Leadership

  • Explain a time when you had to compile a team to help improve an aspect of your company. How did you go about finding the right members to involve? What were the existing problems within the company and how did you lead a team to address them?
  • Describe a situation where you were tasked with inspiring a team member or several members of your company. How did you get your colleagues excited about the project or task at hand?

#5: Risk Taking

  • Explain the biggest risk you may have taken in your professional career or personal life. How have these risks made you who you are today and how did you go about making your decision?
  • Describe a situation in your last job where taking a risk resulted in success? Now describe the opposite, where your decision to take a risk landed in you unsafe waters. How did you navigate back to share and bounce back appropriately?

Regardless of the core competencies that fuel your company’s day-to-day workings, this approach to interviewing can help you clearly understand if the candidate fits the job role appropriately and what you can expect from that candidate from their first day and beyond.

Every company is different, so why not share and empower each other with knowledge and unique insights on your recruiting best practices?

Does your recruiting team have any unique competency based interview questions that you love to ask potential employees? If so, we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Interview Planning