Don’t be daunted if you secure that all-important interview and then discover that it’s of the competency question variety. You may be used to more traditional interview techniques but by asking you to a competency question-based one, your potential employer is giving you the chance to showcase your best qualities. All you need to do is prepare, prepare, prepare.

Get to know the job!

First things first, take that job description and analyse it. From the summary you’ve been given, you should be able to list which competencies they’ll be looking for. Once you’ve identified exactly what they’re after, you can turn the focus back on yourself. After all, you’re the perfect candidate, and you’re preparing to wow them.

The big three

Remember that there are three types of competency question that could be asked in your interview. The first is analytical. These questions are designed to assess how you problem solve and use your analytical skills to tackle tasks. Secondly, there are the interpersonal questions. Most businesses are looking for people who can work as part of a strong team, contribute fully and be a positive force in their workplace. Finally, there are motivational competencies. These will tell the employer what makes you tick, how driven you are and what motivates you. If you can prove competency across all three areas, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

How do you fit in?

So you’ve discovered which competencies they’ll be testing you on, and now you need to prove you have them in your skill-set. Take a look back through your life and your employment history. How can you demonstrate a time in which you demonstrated each one? Once you’ve found examples to fit, you can start practicing your answers.

The right reply

It’s not all that tricky to craft the perfect response to a competency question. The easiest way is to use the STAR technique. Build your answer to explain the situation, time, action and result. You can tell your story your way. Even if the result wasn’t exactly what you expected, you can demonstrate in your answer what you learned from the experience and how it shaped they way you do things now.

Practice makes perfect

Having carved out the answers, now you need to learn how to deliver them properly. The best way is to get someone close to you to play interviewer. They might ask follow-up questions you hadn’t considered, and that will give you the chance to cover all bases. Being able to handle what’s thrown at you in the interview with a cool head will work in your favour. If you explore as many scenarios as possible, you’ll be well prepared. You can walk into your interview knowing you’re ready to show them what you are made of. Good luck!