In the rapidly evolving job market, recruiters often opt for competency based interviews to assess a candidate’s suitability for a job role. A successful candidate must demonstrate both their hard and soft skills to meet the employment expectations. Here’s a comprehensive guide to nailing competency-based interviews in 2024.

What is a Competency Based Interview?

A competency-based interview, also known as a situational or behavioral interview, evaluates a candidate’s capabilities and behavioral characteristics in relation to the specific demands of the job. The questions are designed to create an in-depth understanding of a candidate’s past experiences and how they might handle various situations in the prospective role.

Understanding Key Competencies

Employers look for certain key competencies during interviews, such as:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Communication

Understanding these competencies is fundamental to acing an interview.

Preparation Tips for Competency Based Interviews


Prior research about the organization and the job role is vital. Check the company website, social media pages, recent news articles, and the job description to understand the organization’s culture and the skills they value most.

Know Your Role

Understanding job-specific competencies can give you an advantage. Let’s say you apply for a project-management role. In addition to general competencies, you might be asked about your ability to handle deadlines, manage conflict among team members, or oversee project budgets.

Identify Your Own Competencies

Utilize the job description as a guide and list down similar competencies you’ve displayed in the past. Think of experiences where you showcased leadership, solved complex problems, or demonstrated exemplary teamwork.

Use the STAR Technique

The STAR technique stands for:

  • Situation: Describe the context within which you performed a specific task.
  • Task: Explain your responsibility in that situation.
  • Action: Detail what steps you took to address the task.
  • Result: Share the outcomes of your actions.

Demonstrate Your Competencies

Show, Don’t Tell

Merely stating that you have specific skills won’t suffice. Provide concrete examples to back up your assertions.

Quantify Your Successes When Possible

If you’ve achieved significant results or milestones, feel free to highlight them. Instead of saying you “increased sales,” you might say, “Increased sales by 20% quarterly.”

How to Respond When You Lack a Specific Competency

If you find yourself in a situation where you lack the exact experience the interviewer is asking for, don’t panic! You can elaborate on similar situations or share how you’re actively developing that competency.

Tips to Handle Post-Interview Situations

Ask Pertinent Questions

This is your opportunity to show your interviewer that you’re enthusiastic and curious about the role and company. You could ask about the team you’d be working with or the scope for personal growth and advancement.


A polite, brief email thanking the interviewer for their time can illustrate your professionalism and reinforce your interest in the role.

Navigating competency-based interviews may at first seem daunting, but with proper preparation, self-awareness, and the right approach, you can make a significant impact. Remember, interviewers don’t just assess your past performances; they also focus on your potential. So, demonstrate your learning ability and show that you’re adaptable and ready to grow along with the company.

With these strategies in mind, you’ll be poised to nail a competency-based interview in 2024!