Interviews can be scary and there are particular questions that are more unnerving than others. The questions themselves are not that bad but ensure you get the right answer can be hard work especially if you are not good at self-evaluation. Competency based question are the becoming increasingly popular and they are the ones we will be addressing in this blog!

Competency based question show the employer how well you will perform and if you will be able main the role in its current format. Some questions will seem more obscure and they realistically do not have a right answer. For example ‘how many balloons can you fit in a room?’, there isn’t a right answer but the way you intend on solving the problem and your attitude towards it is important. The way you answer will tell them how creative you are or if you are more of a process driven person, it will determines how you will fit in with the current ways of working.

In these types of interview make sure you are know your strengths and be able to explain your answer based around them. Always keep in mind its ok to pause and think for a minute don’t feel under pressure to answer too quickly. Talk them through step by step if you need to as it will show your analytical skills (you may have these even if right now you don’t know what it means). Just like those pesky math questions at school the preparation and working out is often more important than the answer.

Here are some way you can go about dealing with these questions.

Practice makes perfect

Identify the types of questions you could be asked, it may help to research common interview questions. Then practice answering them. Write down your answers read them aloud and then think of applying that to multiple similar situations. That way it could be a transferable answer. In the interview you could use that moment of silence to pick the correct practiced scenario and apply it to their question.

Answers should be clear and highlight your abilities, make sure you structure them in a way that makes it easier to remember and talk about. For example if they ask what can you bring to the role? You could say I will bring efficiency; I work in a progressive way to ensure work is competed in a timely manner; I have demonstrated this in previous roles by … (What, why, how)

Strengths and weaknesses

It is often hard to answer this as some people do not want to big themselves up to much and others do not want to show weakness. Strengths show that you know yourself well enough to see how you work best. Speaking of your weaknesses enables you to understand areas you can improve upon and demonstrate to the employer that you are self-aware. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses and find a way to speak about them in a way that shows that they do not affect the way you work if it is a weakness, or ways you have combatted them in the past. For strengths pick the ones that you can more closely relate back to the Job description.

Down to the nitty gritty – ‘What makes you right for this role’ or ‘why should we hire you?

Take a breath and remember this interview is for you as well.

Before the interview you should research their main objectives and values, what they’ve been up to and their success. This will help you to see where the role you have applied for fit in and help you to identify the things you may be required to do. Explain what you can do for them and highlight three relevant skills that you feel match what they could be looking for. Make sure you give examples and try to smile and seem excited about the prospects of working for them.

Bonus points – If you know the interviewers on the panel, do a little bit of research through social media or company profiles. This may help you to find clue to their personality and likes. You can then give a few little points that compliment this in a discrete way.


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