I suck at competency questions!!!!!

(22 Posts)
kittenpawss Thu 26-Apr-18 10:50:51

Hello everybody!
I would like some advise.
I got off the phone this morning to this gentlemen who has offered me an interview for Monday.
He made me aware that there will be competency styled questions....

I suck at these questions and really struggle to answer them, I'm yet to research the company.

Any tips, hints, and tricks would be great!

Thank you X

OP’s posts: |
ScattyCharly Thu 26-Apr-18 10:53:55

Competency questions suck. I think they just identify people who are good at bullshitting. Sorry to be of no help.

SlightAggrandising Thu 26-Apr-18 10:55:01

Do you know what competencies the job requires? Is there a person specification?

kittenpawss Thu 26-Apr-18 10:58:24

@ScattyCharly yes they do haha! @SlightAggrandising the role is for a private screening service in the health sector. I would be booking appointments, taking cancellations, and some sales in there to.

The job entales you to be bright, bubbly, helpful and chatty with the ability to use initiative.
He hasn't sent me a persons spec hmm

OP’s posts: |
cinderfrickingrella Thu 26-Apr-18 11:04:16

I've recently been going through these with a career coach..

I was told to use
the STAR technique.. so


We were also told to make sure you said 'I did this' rather than 'we' as they are only employing you.

Good luck!

SlightAggrandising Thu 26-Apr-18 11:17:29

I'm just off out but I'll come back on this weekend to put some ideas on if that would help?

kittenpawss Thu 26-Apr-18 11:24:13

@cinderfrickingrella yes that's a good one I used this technique in my previous employment  thank you I shall keep the thread updated!

@SlightAggrandising yes that would be helpful! Please X

OP’s posts: |
DearTeddyRobinson Thu 26-Apr-18 12:30:52

I have just done my first ever competency based interview this week. It consisted of questions like, tell me about a time you made a decision involving risk. Or, tell me about a situation where you influenced another person. The STAR approach is the standard for answering these questions. You should be able to google some similar questions but also I would ask for some colour in advance of the interview so you can come up with a few examples.
I agree with PP it is quite bullshitty but every candidate will be asked the same questions to ensure fairness.
Disclaimer: Can't say if I'm any good at them as I don't know if I've got the job yet grin

TravellingFleet Thu 26-Apr-18 12:35:35

I worry about competency questions so I spend a lot of time planning them out in advance using the STAR technique. In my most recent interview, they actually asked something I’d never thought of ( role specific version of ‘tell us about a time when you’ve screwed up’), but all my practice kicked in and I did actually give a solid STAR format answer. I got the job :-)

kittenpawss Thu 26-Apr-18 12:39:42

Yes I get stuck on the questions where they're like "tell me about a time where you implemented improvment and how the outcome was greater effected" and I sit there like umm......

I've received feedback in past which basically said I answered the question but i diverted it.... if that makes sense, and I lack confidence.

I feel interview are interrogation lol

OP’s posts: |
MagentaRocks Thu 26-Apr-18 12:44:40

The onion analogy is also good, so the further out on the rings you go the better. So if you get a question about how you implemented improvement you give your example and then expand on it so the greater the impact the better. So if you implemented a procedure that improved how efficiently you did your role you carry on to talk about the wider impact, so that helped you be more productive which has an impact on the customer, and also on the department as you could do more and it impacted on the organisation as it meant you were able to do such and such better which meant better profits.

Does that make sense?

halfwitpicker Thu 26-Apr-18 12:52:26

Google the job description, add in 'private sector' and check the job descriptions. Should give you an idea of what you'd be doing.

Check the company website - from what you've said the words discreet, confidential, exceptional service, client oriented and professional would be buzz words I'd use.

With regards to the competency questions, use the STAR technique as above. Think about previous roles where you've succeeded - for the role you require they only need to be simple.

Even when they ask you about a time you've cocked up, try and make it into a positive.

kittenpawss Thu 26-Apr-18 12:52:51

@MagentaRocks brilliant technique never thought of that. Yes make sense smile I'll just have to look at all the possible questions they may answer and create answers so I'm ready for interview....
always never racking

OP’s posts: |
halfwitpicker Thu 26-Apr-18 12:52:59

Love the onion example.

kittenpawss Thu 26-Apr-18 12:53:09


OP’s posts: |
MagentaRocks Thu 26-Apr-18 12:56:20

I am public sector and we like to know about behaviours and values so if the organisation has a mission or something try to get that in or get in about why you do something. Something I say to my staff when they go for jobs is if you give an example of where you have heard a colleague being rude to a customer and you report it you say what you did and why, so you talk about how that goes against the company values of treating each customer with respect and that actually it also goes against your own personal values and ethics as you believe that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. Again, the more you expand the better.

OliviaStabler Thu 26-Apr-18 13:04:13

I was coming onto the thread to say similar to the others about STAR. The interviewer wants to know you can actually carry out the tasks they are asking for in the role.

It is the difference between saying 'I can do A' to saying 'I can do A' and then giving an actual example of when you have done that successfully.

For each skill they are looking for, you need a strong example. So, if an interviewer asked: Give me an example of when you have successfully led a team?

Poor answer: I led a team in my last role. I was in charge of 20 staff and it was my job to lead them, undertake performance reviews, manage task delegation and monitor productivity.

There is no proof in the answer above that you can successfully led a team. You have said you can do it but equally you could say you were an astronaut. There is no proof.

Better answer: In my last role I led a team of 20 employees. As an example of my success, I was tasked with increasing the team's productivity by 10%. I called a team meeting and we collaborated together on ideas as to how we could achieve this. The top three suggestions from the group were implemented and we achieved an increase of 15% in the time frame given. I achieved this by not only using all the skills and experience within my team but also making each team member feel a part of the effort and the success afterwards.

So the answer above is nowhere near perfect but it gives you and idea (hopefully!) of how an interviewer wants you to demonstrate the skill they are asking about.

whiteradiator Thu 26-Apr-18 13:48:17

Yeah basically apply the STAR technique to each of the criteria and skills required for job. Prepare this beforehand and try to remember as much as possible

SlightAggrandising Thu 26-Apr-18 17:23:54

Have sent you a PM

Polarbearflavour Sat 28-Apr-18 18:20:27

I just make up scenarios and use the buzz words!

myidentitymycrisis Sun 29-Apr-18 10:07:03

Can i jump in and ask;
I'm currently filling out a Public sector person spec.
Is there a difference between STAR and CAR method?

ryanne Tue 01-May-18 21:30:44

myidentitycrisis no real difference, * C*ontext is the same as situation and task, make sure you say what you were trying to do (task).
Try not to include too much detail in the context, and avoid acronyms.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in