Competency Questions

Competency Based Interview Questions

Ok here we go. The start of what will one day be a comprehensive list of all the competency questions in the world. I’m sure I’ll also have a section of the stupidest questions too.

[I had a telephone interview with Npower and the interviewer asked me: ‘give me an example where you have had to analyse data or information from various resources that seem to contradict themselves’ – sorry come again? – ‘how did you reconcile them?’. Sure I’ve got the skills to do that, I’ve written essays with multiple viewpoints with various sources of criticism, but ask me to think of a neat example in 30 seconds – sorry luv, you’re havin’ a bubble.]

Anyway, I digress.

Below you shall find the main competency groups with the corresponding competency questions. This is a fluid list so don’t take as gospel and preach too heartily.

1.Teamwork (+ Collaboration)

  1. A time when you worked in a successful team
  2. An example where you have resolved a conflict within a team
  3. A time when you had to work with someone you did not get along with
  4. An example of when you helped a team mate overcome an obstacle (may come under leadership as well)
  5. A time when you shared specific knowledge or expertise to help the team
  6. An example where you worked in an unsuccessful team

Also, know what individual skills are most important for working in a team and what main characteristics make a strong team:

  1. People skills – communication, diplomacy, tact, empathy
  2. Flexibility and adaptability
  3. Sense of humour
  4. Unity, cohesion, team bond established through strong communications and
  5. Sense of purpose, clear direction and commitment to team goals
  6. Effective delegation of responsibilities

2.Adaptability (Flexibility)

  1. An example when you had to adapt to a change in environment
  2. A time when you had to react to a late change in a project plan
  3. An example where you have had to manage multiple deadlines

3.Communication (+Persuasion/ Influencing)

  1. A time when you have influenced/ persuaded/ used influencing skills to achieve something
  2. An example where you have built a relationship with someone/ a customer/client (may come under client focus also)
  3. A time when you have delivered bad news to someone (in a senior position)
  4. An example where you have delivered a presentation
  5. A time when you have had to communicate complex info or a complex idea to someone

4.Problem Solving (+Creative thinking)

  1. An example of when you have solved a problem or improved a process/ way of working
  2. A time when you have had to draw on multiple resources to overcome a problem
  3. An example where you have had to analyse information to produce a solution/ recommendation

5.Ambition (Drive to achieve)

  1. A time when you have had to learn a new skill to accomplish something
  2. An example of when you have gone above and beyond your remit to deliver results
  3. A time when you have had to be persistent to achieve something
  4. Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years time

Also, questions may arise around your best and proudest achievements

6.Leadership

  1. An example where you have led a team to achieve a goal
  2. A time when you have dealth with conflict in a team
  3. An example when you have helped a team mate overcome an obstacle
  4. A time when you have motivated a team/ someone to achieve something

Note, many traits are closely aligned to teamwork. To be a good leader is not necessarily to take the lead.

7.Client Focus

  1. An example of when you have had to develop a relationship
  2. How do you build relationships with people
  3. A time when you delivered exceptional customer service

8.Commercial Awareness (Business knowledge)

  1. What do you know about our services/ what do we do
  2. Why do you want to work for us/ in this service area
  3. Name a recent business news story you’ve been following
  4. Name a big company you’re impressed by/ that has grown rapidly/ is innovative
  5. What do you think some of the challenges are facing consulting firms

PwC have some great advice on how to deal with and develop this competency: http://www.pwc.com/uk/en/careers/student/commercial-awareness.jhtml

One response to “Competency Questions

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