Common Competency Questions

Competency based questions in interviews are one of the most powerful tools an employer has at making the correct choice when hiring. Here are some examples of commonly asked competency questions;

  1. Tell us about a time when you were able to change someone’s viewpoint significantly.
  2. Explain an example of when you had to work to an important deadline.
  3. Within your present job, what have been the most significant changes in, say, the last year? How have you dealt with these?
  4. Why have you changed jobs frequently?
  5. Describe a time when you failed at a work task.
  6. Tell us about an unpopular decision you have made as a manager?
  7. Explain a situation where you successfully overcame a setback in order to achieve an objective or meet a deadline?
  8. Explain a situation where you demonstrated confidence in your viewpoint despite opposition.
  9. Tell us about the best job you’ve ever had.
  10. What are your three major accomplishments?
  11. What have you done that shows initiative and willingness to work?
  12. Tell us something about yourself.
  13. What's your greatest weakness?
  14. Tell us about a difficult customer or a customer complaint that you have dealt with.
  15. Describe something creative that you’ve done.
  16. What are the most important things you are seeking in a career?
  17. When have you taken a stand against a group on what you felt to be a matter of principle?
  18. What kind of office equipment/technical equipment have you used?
  19. What salary are you expecting?
  20. Tell us about a current event you have been following in the press.
  21. Why do you want to work for us?
  22. Tell us about a major problem you have encountered and how you dealt with it?
  23. Have you ever been sacked (fired)?
  24. Describe a time when you had to win over someone who was reluctant or confrontational? How did you achieve this?
  25. What do you expect to be earning in 5 years?
  26. you do to overcome any perceived barriers to communication?
  27. Tell us about a time when you had to make a quick decision. What were the circumstances and what did you do?
  28. On which decision did you deliberate longest? Tell me about it?
  29. Tell me about a time when you demonstrated good leadership skills within a group during a work setting?
  30. What hours would you like to work?
  31. Do you know the location of our head office?
  32. How do you react to criticism?
  33. What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?
  34. Explain s situation where you have submitted a good idea to your superior and he or she did not take action on it? What did you do.
  35. How would you respond if a project you had been working on was re-assigned to someone else that you didn't know?
  36. What conflicts of interest have you experienced or could you experience in your present role? How have you/would you resolve these?
  37. How do you ensure compliance with company policy within your own area of responsibility?
  38. Tell me about a time when you failed to complete a task or project on time, despite having the full intentions to do so?
  39. What did you enjoy most or least about your last job?
  40. Which is more important to you, the money or the type of job?
  41. What kinds of people frustrate you?
  42. What are the two most significant accomplishments in your career so far?
  43. Explain a time when you had to work under a high degree of pressure?
  44. Tell us about the last time you had a disagreement with someone.
  45. Tell us about a person or event that has been
  46. What are your short and long-term goals?
  47. What are you passionate about?
  48. influential in your personal development.
  49. Tell us about a time when you worked with people from a culture unlike your own. What did
  50. Tell us about a time when you had conflicting priorities and what you did to resolve them.
  51. Have you ever anticipated a difficult situation before it arose? Describe the situation, the action you took and the outcome.
  52. What do you feel qualifies you for this position?
  53. Are you seeking employment in a company of a certain size? Why?
  54. expect to achieve in the first year?
  55. What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
  56. Why have you decided to change careers?
  57. When might you use a different or modified approach?
  58. What if I told you that you'd work very hard, but recognition of your contributions would be nil?
  59. Tell us about a time when you felt frustrated by your work.
  60. What would you like to know about this organization?
  61. What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  62. Do you have a geographical preference? Why?
  63. If you had a project to manage how would you decide how to approach it?
  64. How do you resolve conflict in the groups or teams that you have membership of?
  65. What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now?
  66. Explain a time when you had to trust your own judgment to make a difficult decision?
  67. What experience have you had working on a team?
  68. How do your skills relate to our needs?
  69. How do you cope with routine work?
  70. What extra-curricular activities are you involved in?
  71. What does "success" mean to you?
  72. Give an example of when you last made a quick and definitive decision?
  73. Have you ever been the leader of a team? What did you like and dislike about the role?
  74. What do you know about our organization?
  75. What interests you about our product/services? How would you improve them?
  76. Describe a time when you led or motivated others.
  77. How would you motivate an employee who was performing poorly?
  78. Tell us about a situation where you achieved a satisfactory outcome to a problem that others thought couldn’t be solved. What did you do and what was the outcome?
  79. What do you do for enjoyment in your leisure time?
  80. contributed to the teams you have been part of?
  81. What do you know of the area and community where our office is located?
  82. Tell us about a time when someone misunderstood what you were attempting to communicate to them.
  83. Explain a situation when you worked without any guidance in an unusual situation?
  84. What skills and personal qualities are essential for success in this role?
  85. how are you preparing yourself to achieve them?
  86. What qualities should a successful manager possess?
  87. What are the limits of your authority in your job? Have you ever gone over those limits?
  88. Which three of the competencies required for this position would you prioritize?
  89. How do you think a close friend who knows you well would describe you?
  90. Why should I hire you?
  91. Tell us about a time when you had more to do than you could complete in the time allocated: tell us what you did about it and what the outcome was.
  92. Tell us about a time when you acted over and above the expectations of your role.
  93. What makes you laugh?
  94. What problems do you feel you will have fitting into the job?
  95. Tell me about a time when you failed to communicate appropriately. What did you learn and what was the cost of this error?
  96. How do you think an enemy would describe you?
  97. What person do you admire most and why?
  98. In the past year, what have you been dissatisfied about in your performance?
  99. Tell us about a time when you used tact and diplomacy.
  100. What two or three things are most important to you in a job?
  101. Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and those reporting to him or her.
  102. Aren’t you overqualified for this role?
  103. How would you measure your success or failure in this job?
  104. Do you really feel that you have enough experience for this role?
  105. Tell us about a significant crisis you have faced.
  106. Tell us about a time when you bent the rules. When is it okay to do so?
  107. What has been your most satisfying/ disappointing experience?
  108. Tell us about a time when you felt under pressure.
  109. Tell me of a time in which you have faced a crisis and how you responded?
  110. Why do you want this position?
  111. How would you describe yourself?
  112. Tell us about a time when your work or an idea was criticized.
  113. Why are you interested in working for our organization?
  114. Tell us about a difficult decision that you have made.
  115. What kinds of people do you enjoy working with?
  116. Tell us about a time when you were asked to do something that you disagreed with.
  117. What causes you to lose your temper?
  118. Tell me about a time when you have consciously gone against company procedures. Why did you do that? What happened?
  119. What qualities do you admire most in others?
  120. Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?
  121. Why did you apply for this position?
  122. How do you work under pressure?
  123. Tell me about a time when you had to act quickly in order to take advantage of a limited opportunity, but were unable to consult with others.
  124. See this pen I’m holding…sell it to me.
  125. What was the last business decision you faced?
  126. What impact do you think … will have on our business?
  127. What do you believe you can contribute to this organisation?
  128. What significant problems have you faced in the last year?
  129. What criteria are you using to evaluate the company for which you hope to work?
  130. What salary are you looking for?
  131. Tell us about the most difficult person you have worked with.
  132. What have you disliked in your past jobs?
  133. which our company is located?
  134. What relevant work experiences have you had?
  135. In what kind of a work environment are you most comfortable?
  136. Tell me about some risks you have taken in your business or professional life. How did you go about this?
  137. How long did it take for you to make up your mind about what to do?
  138. What have you learned from your mistakes?
  139. Describe a time when you used your initiative to resolve a difficult problem with a project that you have worked on?
  140. What do you think are the three most important things about communication?
  141. What does "failure" mean to you?
  142. Provide an example of when you identified the key risks inherent within a situation.
  143. How do you plan to keep up with developments in your field?
  144. If you were offered this role, what would you
  145. What do you really want to do in life?
  146. What are your interests outside work?
  147. Give an example of a time when you had to make a decision without all of the relevant data. How did you make the decision and What was the outcome?
  148. Can you accept criticism for poor work?
  149. What are the two most different approaches you have used when “selling” ideas to clients/colleagues?
  150. Explain the last time you felt upset or angry at work?
  151. Tell us about a time when you were successful in getting crucial information from another
  152. How would you describe your management style?
  153. Explain an incident in which you took matters into your own hands although it should have been handled by your boss.
  154. Will you relocate? Does relocation bother you?
  155. What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
  156. Tell us about a time when you have been managed in a good or bad way.
  157. What would you do if your colleagues were complaining to you about the organization?
  158. Describe your ideal job. Are you willing to travel or relocated to work there?
  159. Provide an example when you had to adapt your approach due to shifting priorities?
  160. Explain a time when you were required to shift your stance on an issue in response to a changing situation?
  161. What do you know about our industry?
  162. How long would you expect to remain with this organization?
  163. What skills and personal qualities have you
  164. Can you work well to deadlines and under pressure?
  165. How would you resolve a dispute?
  166. Can you tell me about a time when you had to plan something in detail in order to make sure you met a deadline?