Have you found yourself in the midst of an interview, feeling confident and prepared? Until the recruiter throws a curveball with a question like “Can you provide an example of a time when you solved a problem in a creative way?”. Suddenly your mind draws a blank, you’re left wondering how to respond to such a non-technical, seemingly unrelated query.

Securing your ideal job goes beyond having a well-crafted resume. It’s about mastering competency-based interviews, where questions like the one above can play a pivotal role. At Capella Professional, a Nottingham-based recruitment agency specialising in executive and commercial positions, we’re here to help you navigate these interviews and secure your next dream role.


Demystifying Competency-Based Interviews

Competency-based interviews are all about digging deep. Whether into your personal characteristics, experiences, or skills. Expect questions like “Tell me about a time when” or “Give an example of when you…”. These questions will always call for a real-life example of when you overcame a situation to demonstrate your suitability for the role.


What Are Interviewers Really Looking For?

In the past, competency-based interviews focused on attributes like communication, teamwork, and leadership. But today’s questions are more comprehensive, examining your skills, knowledge, experience, and behaviours relevant to the role you’re applying for.


How Can You Prepare For Competency-Based Interviews?

Preparation is crucial for excelling in competency-based interviews. Start by dissecting the job listing. Pay extra attention to the job description and candidate requirements. Interviewers will often ask open-ended questions so be ready to share recent career examples to address these.

If you don’t have specific prior experience in the job role, don’t worry. Think about how you would appropriately handle that situation or talk about a transferable skill or trait relevant to the role.


Mastering the STAR Technique

When responding to competency-based questions, consider using the STAR technique:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

This approach helps you provide a structured answer that clearly demonstrates your expertise.

Begin your answer by describing the situation, then diving into the task you tried to accomplish. Next, illustrate the actions you took to achieve this objective and wrap it up with the outcome this caused.

We recommend highlighting positive outcomes but don’t be shy about sharing how you have learned from mistakes, especially if the second time round resulted in a success.


So, What Happens Now?

In some recruitment processes, interviews will score your answers based on a few key factors:

  • Demonstrating experiences with required skills
  • The relevance of the examples provided
  • Your ability to articulate your role, actions, and contributions to outcomes.

While being mindful of time constraints, don’t hesitate to check in with the interviewer. Ask if they’re satisfied with your response or if they’d like you to go into more detail. This proactive approach shows your commitment to proving you’re the perfect fit for the role.


At Capella Professional, we’re dedicated to helping you secure your ideal executive position. Contact us today for expert guidance on executive recruitment and interview strategies. Let us empower you to shine when faced with competency-based interview questions and take the next step toward your dream career. Your success is our priority.