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How to ace a competency-based interview!

How to ace a competency-based interview!

First things first…what exactly is a competency-based interview?


Competency-based interviews are conducted around behavioural and situational questions used to measure an applicant’s skills, experiences and overall abilities to perform in the position they are interviewing for.

Lex Consultancy’s Recruitment Consultants recommend using the S.T.A.R. (Situation Task Action Result) technique to answer competency-based questions.

Step 1 – Situation or Task

Set the scene. Describe a situation you were confronted with or a task that needed to be accomplished. Make your answer brief, but informative and focus only on the important points of your story, try not to trail off.

Step 2 – Action

This step allows you to show your strengths, skills and personal qualities. Demonstrate what you did and why you did it in the situation you’ve already described. Remember to begin sentences with “I” rather than “We” when describing any experiences within a team environment. Elaborate and be careful not to assume interviewers know what you’re talking about. Prove how you used your skills in the situation and how you took action whilst taking in to account the consequences that could arise from those actions. Show the interviewer how you kept control from start to finish, such as the example answer below:

“I could sense that my colleague was irritated and I asked him gently to tell me what he felt the problem was. By allowing him to vent his feelings and his anger, I gave him the opportunity to calm down. I then explained to him my own point of view on the matter, emphasising how important it was that we found a solution that suited us both.”          

Step 3 – Result

Bring your story to a close and explain what the outcome was. Describe what you took from the experience and use the opportunity to further highlight your skills. In this step, you must establish in your answer that you took specific actions in order to achieve specific objectives.


Competency Based Interview




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Lex Consultancy

Lex Consultancy is a boutique Irish owned agency, offering a full recruitment, advice and support service since 2007.  The agency is driven by founders Jo McAndrew and Michelle Nolan who combine their unparalleled experience to manage a team of dedicated and highly professional recruitment consultants. The ability to match people to jobs is an art that a computer cannot manage. That is why we rely on the people skills and experience of our consultants.