How to answer Competency based questions

Have you heard of competency based questions before? At Rentokil Initial we will almost always ask one or more competency based questions at face-to-face interview. We want to hear your real life career examples or learning experiences and competency questions are a great opportunity to show off and highlights in your career and strengths.

We understand that when you hear the words ‘competency based questions’, it can often fill you full of dread and panic, especially at interview! There is no need to worry anymore. All you need to do is remember this simple and straightforward technique and you will never worry about answering competency based questions again!

Use the STAR technique to shine at your interviews!

If you are faced with questions which require you to talk through an example, for example; “Tell me about a time when you have…” or “Describe a situation where you….” or “Explain to me how you would”, try following STAR to help streamline your answer whilst still giving the interviewer the information they need and give you confidence in your presentation.

  • Situation - You should always open any competency based question by briefly describing the situation.

    An example of this would be:  “When I was working in a newly formed team as Team Leader with…”. This helps set the scene for the interviewer.

  • Task/Target - Once the background is clear you should then begin to describe what it was you were tasked to do or what you were aiming to achieve.

    For example “I had to resolve a disagreement within the team”.

  • Action - You should then describe what you did, how you did it, why you did it.

    This is the most important part of your answer as it is your chance to show your actions and demonstrate your abilities. Remember to talk about what you did not the company or group as a whole.

    Use “I” not “we”, the interviewer will be interested in you!

  • Result - What happened? What was the outcome?

    A “result” can be any number of different outcomes from achieving a goal, or hitting a target to getting positive feedback or learning something new. It’s always a good idea to give an example with a positive result!