We often use a combination of both strengths based and competency based questions during the selection and assessment process for all customer facing roles. For all professional hires we use a blend of performance based and strengths based questions. We have provided some detail on these techniques below.

Competency based questions

With competency based interview questions, you will be asked to provide specific examples of your professional experience. Therefore it’s good to go through your CV beforehand, looking at your previous experience and thinking of at least one example in advance, for each competency  that’s relevant to the role you’re applying for.

It is important that you to go into depth with each example. Please do not assume that your interviewer will know what your previous role involved and avoid the use of jargon wherever possible.

Here are a couple of competency questions you can practice: 

  • Tell me an example of a time where you have exceeded a customer’s expectations
  • Tell me an example of a time where you have had to work under pressure
  • Tell me an example of a time where you have learnt something new at work

Performance based interviewing

Performance based interview questions are used to help us better discuss and understand your past accomplishments and learnings. These questions are created and used to help us gauge how successful potential colleagues will be in the future.

We use performance based interview questions to more accurately identify the skills and level of competency you may bring to the role. We can also get a better understanding of the way you use critical thinking and problem-solving skills, both in your personal and professional life.

Please be prepared for questions around the most important performance requirements of the role before your interview - more detail can be found in the advert, job description and during the telephone interview process. 

How to frame your responses

The following acronym (S.T.A.R.R.) is extremely useful for guidance on the level of detail required to provide a strong and well-structured responses to competency and performance based questions.

S - Situation – Describe the situation you found yourself in, explain your role and responsibility. 
T - Tasks – What tasks did you identify that needed to be done? 
A - Actions – What actions did you take? 
R - Results – What was the outcome as a result of your actions? 
R - Reflection – What did you learn from this, how did you know that you had done a good job? How did you feel after?

Strengths based questions

Strengths based interview questions are designed to help us understand what it is you really enjoy doing, what you have a natural aptitude for and thrive in doing. By asking strengths based questions, we can really get a feel for who you are and what motivates you. This allows us to have a more personal approach and enable you to show a more natural side of your personality.  Although strengths are individual to you, some will stand out more to us because of these values. Be sure to adapt your answers to reflect these. Here are a couple of strengths based questions you can practice: 

  • How would your family and friends describe you?
  • When was the last time you were totally absorbed in something?
  • What would you say is a successful day for you?

It’s also a good idea to go over the strengths and weaknesses you feel you have. Whilst discussing these, try to avoid clichés such as ‘I work too hard’ or ‘I take on too many responsibilities.’ Don’t play it safe – remember this is YOUR opportunity to show us why you would be a good fit for the role.

We wish you the best of luck with your interview!

Date updated: 26th June 2020