‘Competency based interview’ is a widely used term to describe a style of interview.

It actually relates to the manner in which you respond to questions. Also known as behavioural interviewing, the technique requires you to draw on past experience and describe specific examples of incidents that demonstrate your competence in a particular area.

The most effective way of answering these questions is to use the ‘STAR’ technique:
SITUATION briefly describe the background to the situation
TASK specifically describe your responsibility
ACTION describe what you did
RESULT describe the outcome of your actions.

Below are some excellent example answers to a competency-based questions that test teamwork as a competence:

“Team work is very important in our organisation. What evidence do you have to prove that you are a good team player?”

“I have a number of examples I could share with you. On one occasion I was working as a receptionist at a motor dealership. We had a very large event taking place and several very important customers were due imminently and it was my responsibility to meet and greet. The dealership had hired an events company to assist but the team had been caught up in an incident on the motorway and had phoned to say that they were going to be late. I offered to drive into town to pick up food and drink for the event then helped the marketing manager set up the venue. I then welcomed the guests and performed waitressing duties before returning to my desk at reception. The event was very well received resulting in a series of sales and I was personally thanked for my efforts by the MD of the dealership and awarded an extra days holiday as a reward”.


” If someone on your team didn’t do his/her job, how would you resolve this problem?”

“I’ll begin by describing the situation as I saw it and the resulting impact on me. I used to work with someone who lacked focus and was always distracted in his work. He spent more time talking at the water cooler than working. My productivity depended on him getting his work done, so by him not doing his job, he made me appear tardy. On one occasion our whole team was at risk to missing an important deadline if he did not deliver.

I scheduled some time to speak with him in an attempt to find out what was slowing him down. When I asked the right questions in the right way it became obvious he was confused and not entirely clear of what was expected of him. He was struggling to identify how to improve or who to turn to for help. Together we prioritised his activity so it made sense to him. Then, for a fortnight I made it a priority to stay in regular contact and offered regular assistance to him to make sure he remained on track.

Ultimately this took just 20 minutes a day away from me but benefited the whole team and we completed our project on-time. On this occasion I managed to avoid speaking to my supervising manager in order to achieve this but I think it’s likely that if I’d failed then that would have become necessary.”