How to prepare for interviews

Competency based interviews, is it possible to prepare?


More and more of our clients are involving competency based questions in their interviews. For many people, especially if you haven’t been to an interview for a long time, this maybe all new to you and possibly quite daunting.



The reason companies are asking competency based questions is so they aim to find out how you have used specific skills in your previous experiences/work and how you approach problems, tasks and challenges. Questions are often split into categories:

Personal – what sort of person are you.

Interpersonal – How do you work alongside others.

Motivational – How do you stay motivated at work/whilst under pressure etc.

Leadership – Do you possess business and leadership qualities.

Organisational – How do you manage your time/workload. Are you good at motivating/managing others.

The list of questions that can be asked are a bit endless, and so preparation is slightly harder than traditionally asked questions such as “tell us about the job you are currently in”. Below we have given some examples of competency questions that we have known our candidates to be asked and for anyone about to attend an interview it may be good to have a look over them to have a think about how you would answer them:

  • Tell me about a time when you felt accomplished and satisfied in your job.
  • What do you like about your current role.
  • What do you less enjoy about your current role.
  • Tell me a time when you had to make a quick decision and what was the outcome.
  • When did you last have to work to a tight deadline and how did you feel.
  • Describe a time when you felt angry/upset at work and how did you deal with it.
  • Tell me a time when you had an idea that you then mentioned to your line manager or colleague.
  • Describe a situation when there was a disagreement within your team and how did you deal with it.
  • How do you catch up on your workload after absence or holiday leave.

We, at Blake and Blake Recruitment, believe that you should answer the question in a specific, truthful way. They should be well explained but don’t talk for too long on each answer. If you get a bit stuck and your mind goes blank, why not say “I can’t think of a situation I have been in, but if I was faced with this I would deal with it by …”.

What ever the style of interview you are faced with, being yourself and staying calm is the best foundations to impressing the person/people interviewing you. You are the expert of your CV, you know your past working history better than anyone else.


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