Home: Competency Interviews: Competency Based Interview Questions

Example Competency Based Interview QuestionsTo Help You Get Ahead

On the page before this we introduced competency interviews and promised you some example competency based interview questions.

Here we look at how interviewers might assess your Communication Skills.

Effective communication is needed in almost all jobs, but if you don't think it's a requirement of the job you're applying for, go back to the list of competences and find ones relevant to your job. We have many.

Communication Competence -- What Do Interviewers Look For?

When interviewers ask you competency based interview questions on communication, they look for past evidence that you:

  • Communicate effectively -- deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time in the right way
  • Listen actively and sensitively
  • Adapt your communication style to suit the audience
  • Participate effectively in group meetings
  • Negotiate and influence where required

Example Competency Based Interview Questions for Communication

Here are some example competency based interview questions for assessing communication. Depending on the nature of the role you're applying for, there might be a focus on either verbal or written communication. In many cases, interviewers will want to assess both.

Competency Based Interview Questions - Verbal Communication

  • Give examples of where you've had to vary your communication according to the audience you're addressing

- How exactly did you vary your style?

- Why was this necessary?

- What did it achieve?

  • Tell me about a time when you had to encourage others to contribute ideas or opinions

- How did you get everyone to contribute?

- What was the end result?

  • Tell us about a situation where your verbal communication skills made a difference to a situation or outcome

- How did you feel?

- What did you learn?

  • Tell me about a situation when you had to persuade someone of your point of view when they thought you were wrong
    - How do you prepare?
    - What was your approach?
    - How did they react?
    - What was the outcome?
  • Give examples of a time when you had to explain something complex to a colleague or customer
    - How did you try to make your message really clear?
    - How could you tell that you had been understood?
  • Tell me about a time when you failed to communicate effectively
    - Why did you fail?
    - How did you feel?
    - What did you learn?
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with an angry customer
    - What did you do?
    - How did the customer respond?
    - What would you do differently next time?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone you didn't get on with
    - Why was this person hard to get on with?
    - What did you do to build a relationship?
    - What was the result?
    - How did you opinion of this person change?
  • Give us an example where your listening skills helped resolve a situation or issue
    - How did you show you were listening?
    - What effect did you have on the outcome?
  • Describe a time when you had to present an idea or findings to an audience
    - What tools did you use?
    - What was the audience response?
    - Did you enjoy it?
  • Tell me about a time when you took part in a lively group discussion
    - What was the discussion about?
    - What was your point of view?
    - How did you get your point of view across?
    - How did you style differ from 1:1 discussions?
  • Tell us about a time when you were asked to summarise complex points for a colleague or customer
    - What approach did you take?
    - How successful were you?
  • Give an example where you needed to show empathy/sympathy to a colleague or customer
    - How did you show empathy?
    - How did the colleague/customer react?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with objections from someone
    - What were you telling them?
    - Why did they object?
    - How did you handle this?
    - What was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to negotiate
    - What was your objective?
    - What was the other person or party's objective?
    - What was the outcome?
    - Why do you think it was successful?
    - What would you do differently next time?

Competency Based Interview Questions - Written Communication

  • What kind of written communication do you produce for your company?
    - Tell us about one in detail
    - Who was the information for?
    - What reaction do you get to the information?
  • How do you feel writing a report differs from preparing a presentation?
    - Which do you prefer and why?
  • Give an example where your written work was criticized
    - How did you feel?
    - How did you respond?
    - What did you learn?
  • Tell me about a time when your written work was praised or rewarded
    - What was the work?
    - How did you feel?
    - What impact did it have on your performance?

Other Competency Based Interview Questions

We have other example competency based interview questions covering such things as Customer Focus, Leadership, Decision-making and so on. Just go back to the list of competences and find ones relevant to the job you're applying for. We have lots.

You'll also find tips on how to answer competency based interview questions.

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