Preparing you for Interview
There are really two key areas to focus on when preparing for your interview. They are Competency based questions and then using the STAR Technique to help you put structure to your answers.
We’ve laid it all out here for you to practice.
Telling the story during your competency based interview
I equate competency interviews with storytelling. During the interview you will be asked questions like “tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation?” Most of you will have heard of the STAR technique when answering competency questions. Basically this is describing how to answer questions with a start, middle and an end. As with telling a story the more description and energy you put into it the more impact the story will have. Try to align your experience directly with the needs of the role the company is hiring for.
Before we start we need to understand the competencies of the role you are interviewing for. Once you’ve identified these we can start preparing.
We’ve provided a list of questions relating to each competency to get you in the flow.
- Customer Focus
- Planning & Organising
- Using Initiative – Achieving Goals & Results Orientated
- Decision Making & Problem Solving
- Effective Communication
- Team & Collaborative Working
- Effective Relationships & Networking
- Innovation & Creative Thinking
- Adaptability & Flexibility (Openness to Change)
- Continuous Development (Self & Others)
- Thinking & Acting Strategically
- Resilience & Stress Tolerance
- Commercial Awareness
- Trust Worthiness & Ethics
- Energy & Enthusiasm
COMPETENCY-BASED INTERVIEWS -THE “STAR” APPROACH
The acronym STAR stands for
- S/T – Situation or Task – This sets the scene. You will describe the situation or task and be creative with your description. If possible, try to use examples that are relevant to the employer.
- A – Action – This is outlining what you did or the action you took. Most interviewees fall down here by using the word “we” instead of the word “I”. Try not make this mistake.
- R – Result – This is where you tell about the results or outcomes. Quantify these results by using metrics or data for more impact.
It is a universally recognised communication technique designed to enable you to provide a meaningful and complete answer to questions asking for examples.
Step 1 – Situation or Task
Describe the situation that you were confronted with or the task that needed to be accomplished.
With the STAR approach you need to set the context. Make it concise and informative, concentrating solely on what is useful to the story. For example, if the question is asking you to describe a situation where you had to deal with a difficult person, explain how you came to meet that person and why they were being difficult. If the question is asking for an example of teamwork, explain the task that you had to undertake as a team.
Step 2 – Action
This is the most important section of the STAR approach as it is where you will need to demonstrate and highlight the skills and personal attributes that the question is testing. Now that you have set the context of your story, you need to explain what you did. In doing so, you will need to remember the following:
- Be personal, i.e. talk about you, not the rest of the team.
- Go into some detail. Do not assume that they will guess what you mean.
- Steer clear of technical information, unless it is crucial to your story.
- Explain what you did, how you did it, and why you did it.
What you did and how you did it
The interviewers will want to know how you reacted to the situation. This is where you can start selling some important skills. For example, you may want to describe how you worked with a team to achieve a particular objective and how you used your communication skills to keep everyone updated on progress etc.
Why you did it
For example; when discussing a situation where you had to deal with conflict, many candidates would simply say: “I told my colleague to calm down and explained to him what the problem was”.
However, it would not provide a good idea of what drove you to act in this manner.
How did you ask him to calm down? How did you explain the nature of the problem? By highlighting the reasons behind your action, you would make a greater impact. For example: “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.”
This revised answer helps the interviewers understand what drove your actions and reinforces the feeling that you are calculating the consequences of your actions, thus retaining full control of the situation. It provides much more information about you as an individual and is another reason why the STAR approach is so useful.
Step 3 – Result
Explain what happened eventually – how it all ended. Also, use the opportunity to describe what you accomplished and what you learnt in that situation. This helps you make the answer personal and enables you to highlight further skills.
This is probably the most crucial part of your answer. Interviewers want to know that you are using a variety of generic skills in order to achieve your objectives. Therefore, you must be able to demonstrate in your answer that you are taking specific actions because you are trying to achieve a specific objective and not simply by chance.
Quick Tips on Behavioural Interviewing
- Prepare in advance.
- Tailor your examples to the role that you are interviewing for.
- Choose situations that are relevant and recent.
Remember that many skills are transferable; if you can’t recall a work-related situation, discuss a relevant educational/social/sporting/hobby situation.
Prepare examples of successes as well as failures as the interviewer will question both.
Be conscious of how you reply i.e. in the second person (“we did. . .”). Ensure you clarify your action/involvement by stating what your role in the project was.
Have 3 to 4 examples prepared for each competency to demonstrate your strength in each one.
Understands who the customer is and is willing and able to deliver high quality services; meets the needs and aims to exceed the expectations of all customers. Constantly strives to find new ways to increase customer satisfaction. Clarify the context of the ‘customer’ as it may refer to both internal and external customers.
- Give me an example of an effective client relationship you have developed and maintained. What was the situation? What did you do? What happened?
- Tell me about a time where you intervened to ensure that standards were maintained for your client. How was this need identified? What did you do? How did the people respond?
- Describe the most rewarding experience you have had dealing with customers.
- Tell me the most significant improvements that you introduced into your organisation that had an impact on the customer.
- In what ways do you interact differently with customers at hectic times? Can you give an example of when you have done this?
- Tell me about a time when you had to handle an unreasonable request from a customer. What did you do?
- What are you doing to ensure you/your team are meeting all your clients’ needs and that your relationship will be maintained?
- What experiences have you had in dealing with difficult customers? Can you give an example and explain how you reacted?
- What are some of your strategies for dealing with difficult people? Can you describe a situation where you were tested?
- Describe the normal kinds of customer dissatisfaction associated with your last job. Can you give me an example? How did you respond/feel/cope?
- In some cases, we may do everything possible to satisfy a customer yet they still complain about how they were treated. Tell me about the last customer who complained about the service you provided.
- In your previous position, how did you know if your internal/external customers were satisfied?
- Have you ever identified a customer need that was not being satisfied? What did you do about it?
- Give me an example of an occasion where you had to deliver customer results within a given short timescale.
- Tell me about one of the most significant improvements that you have made to your service to customers.
- Tell me about a time when you pulled out all the stops to meet a customer’s needs. What did you do? What was the result?
- Give me an example of when you have had to establish a business relationship with someone at work. How did you handle this situation?
- How do you set customer expectations?
- Who do you perceive your customers to be in your current position?
- Can you give me an example where your customer feedback has been negative? What steps did you take to improve?
- Can you give an example where your customers were extremely satisfied? How did you build on this success?
- Can you give an example where you have delivered a piece of work and the client customer has turned round and said it wasn’t what they wanted? What was the situation? How did you deal with it? What was the result?
- How would you deal with a situation where the client has more knowledge than you?
- Can you give an example where you have diffused a potentially explosive situation with a customer? What was the situation? What action did you take? What was the result?
- Describe a situation when you acted as an advocate for your customers’ needs where there was some organisational resistance to overcome.
PLANNING & ORGANISING
Organises own time effectively, creates own work schedules, prioritises workload, prepares in advance and sets realistic timescales. Monitors progress towards operational or strategic objectives. Makes sure all activity and resources are used efficiently and effectively.
- Describe a time when you had to deal with a complex task or project. How did you approach the planning and implementation of it?
- Tell us about a time you set specific work-related goals and how you achieved them.
- Tell us about a time when it all went wrong. Where unexpected events may have required you to changed your plan. What potential roadblocks or challenges did you identify?
- Tell me how you determined your priorities in your last job.
- In your current position how do you schedule your time on an unusually hectic day?
- How do you determine priorities when scheduling your time? Can you give a recent example?
- Describe a situation in which you took a creative approach to resource planning to achieve a goal.
- Tell me about the factors you would consider to resource a project or goal.
- We all have periods that are extremely busy as well as times that are less so. In your current role what do you do to smooth the peaks and troughs in your workload?
- Describe a time when you had several deadlines falling at the same time. How did you organise your time to get them all done?
- Tell me about a time when a project you were coordinating stalled. What happened? How did you get things back on track?
- We have all had to reschedule our projects or plans because of unforeseen circumstances. Tell me about a time this happened to you.
- Explain what you did to prepare for this interview.
USING INITIATIVE – ACHIEVING GOALS
Ability to focus efforts and energy on successfully achieving standards of excellence in delivery of goals and objectives. Thinks ahead, identifies opportunities and independently takes action to influence events where appropriate. Is accountable for meeting objectives to the required standard.
- Describe the culture of the organisation and give an example of how you work within this culture to achieve a goal.
- Describe something you have done which improved the performance of your work unit.
- Tell me about a time you identified a new, unusual or different approach to addressing a problem or task.
- Share a recent decision you made or a problem you solved that required a high level of skill in this area. How did you determine what information you needed?
- Describe what you consider in assessing the viability of a new idea or initiative.
- Describe a situation that demonstrates your ability to apply new learned concepts to a new situation you faced.
- What techniques did you learn to make your last job easier, or to make yourself more effective?
- Describe some projects or ideas (not necessarily your own) that were introduced or implemented because of your efforts.
- Tell me about a time you identified a problem and took corrective action to fix it.
- Tell me about a time when you used your organisational knowledge to achieve a goal.
- Tell me about a time when you improved the way things were typically done on the job.
- Tell me about a problem you solved where conventional/normal solutions would not work.
- Can you describe a time when you identified a problem but realised that it was not worth the effort involved to fix it?
- In what ways did you perform differently from your peers in your last job?
- If there was one thing you could change about your last job, what would it be? Why?
- Which of your previous jobs have you found most interesting? Why?
- If you could create the perfect job for yourself, what would it be?
- Give me an example of when it has been difficult to balance personal commitments against work/study demands. What action did you take?
- Give me an example of when something has impacted on your plan and tell me how you dealt with it. What was the outcome?
- Give me an example of when your productivity has been affected by an unplanned situation. How did you deal with it and restore your productivity? What happened as a result?
- Tell me about a situation where time has been imperative? What was the situation? What action did you take?
- Give me an example of methods/tools do you use for managing your time?
- Give me an example of how you have prioritised your workload – how did you set people’s expectations?
- What have you done in the past to improve/promote knowledge sharing in a team environment? What was the situation? What was the outcome?
- Describe an example of when you have had to plan something for yourself. How did you schedule your time? How did you set priorities? What happened?
- Have you been involved in co-ordinating several activities/tasks at once? What did you do? How did it go? What were the problems? What did you do to overcome them? What happened? Do you have experience of managing multiple tasks currently?
- Can you give me an example where you have been set an unrealistic timeline to complete a piece of work? What was the situation? What action did you take?
DECISION MAKING & PROBLEM SOLVING
Ability to analyse situations, diagnose problems, identify the key issues, establish and evaluate alternative courses of action and produce a logical, practical and acceptable solutions.
Remember some cases a creative decision that breaks from the norm could prove to be innovative and more effective than a traditional approach.
- Describe a situation where you had to make a difficult decision and explain it to other people.
- Tell me about a time you took a risk.
- Give me an example of a time when you needed to quickly make a decision.
- Describe a recent unpopular decision you made. What was the result?
- Describe a time when you were faced with a decision that had many options from which to choose. How did you determine which one to take?
- Describe a time when you really had to think about a problem before generating a solution.
- In the past have you preferred to be closely supervised and given good direction, or work out the solutions for yourself?
- Thinking about your last role, discuss the types of problems you were required to solve on a day-to-day basis.
- Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a problem or make a decision which required careful consideration. How did you go about it?
- Have you ever experienced a situation in which all the evidence suggested that you should pursue one course of action, but your intuition or ‘gut-feeling’ suggested another? If yes, how did you deal with it?
- Describe how you build a troubleshooting process?
- Tell me about a time when you applied a creative solution to a problem.
- Have you ever supported someone else’s idea that had a low probability of success? Why did you do so? What happened?
- Give me an example of a difficult problem you have dealt with. What were you trying to achieve? What did you do? Were your actions successful?
- Give me an example of a problem you were unable to solve. What was the situation? What were you trying to achieve? What did you do? What was the result? What did you learn?
- Give me an example of the most frustrating situation you have faced when trying to meet a deadline/complete a task.
- Give me an example of when you have had to seek advice in solving a problem. Who did you consult? Why was there a need to? Did you do what they suggested?
- Have you ever been confronted with a problem which turned out to be very different or more complicated than had first judged? What did you do?
- Describe the last time that you disagreed with the strategy of the company. What did you do about it?
Ability to effectively communicate, both verbally and in writing, with individuals and groups. Ensures there is an effective flow of information in terms of awareness and understanding. Is flexible and able to use varying styles and methods of communication.
- Have you ever had to convince/influence your co-workers to accept an idea? How did you do it? What was the result?
- Tell me about a time when you had to pay close attention to what someone was saying, actively seeking to understand their message.
- Describe a situation in which you needed to use different communication styles to influence stakeholders with differing perspectives.
- Tell me about a time your communication skills were put to the test.
- Tell me about a difficult or sensitive situation that you had to deal with which required careful and extensive communication.
- We have all experienced situations where we knew we had to speak up about an important issue. Can you give me an example of a time when you needed to be assertive to get your point across?
- Tell me about a significant written document which you had to complete. Can you tell me about a recent document you wrote?
- Have you ever written a memo/report recommending a specific course of action only to find out that the reader didn’t adopt your recommendations?
- Give me an example of a time when you have had to explain a new idea of yours to a group of people? How was your idea received? Did you feel that was the best way of communicating your idea? What would you do differently?
- When have you communicated your ideas/your solution to a problem, which may have worsened without your input?
- Tell me about the different channels have you used to inform others of your opinions/thoughts?
- What topics have you given presentations on in the past and what tools did you use to make them and how did you plan and deliver it?
- Give me an example of a time recently when you have needed to influence someone. What were you trying to achieve? What did you do? What was the result?
- Describe a difficult one-to-one discussion you have had with a client / colleague / employer / team member. Why was it difficult? How did you resolve the situation?
- Give me an example of a situation where you have had to adapt your communication style to get your message across.
- Think of situations where you have demonstrated sensitivity to cultural issues when communicating. What were the circumstances? What were you trying to achieve? What did you do?
- Give examples of situations when you have stood your ground in discussions and influenced others to your way of thinking.
- Think of situations where you have used your communication skills to help groups reach a consensus. Describe what the situation was and what you did.
- In a discussion, most people are usually convinced that their ideas are right. How have you been successful in getting others to see your point of view?
- Give me an example of a time when you have had to deal with an upset member of staff or customer. How did you overcome it?
- Give me an example of a sensitive problem you have had to deal with. How did you go about it? What was the result?
- Describe a situation you were involved in that required a multi-dimensional communication strategy.
- What do you think is the most effective way to “sell” an unpopular idea? Give me an example of how you have used your communication skills to do so.
TEAM & COLLABORATIVE WORKING
Ability to work co-operatively within a group and across the business to achieve goals in a respectful manner. Fosters a collegiate environment. Understands and is tolerant of differing needs and viewpoints.
- Tell me about a time when you have had to join a new team. What did you do to make sure you were accepted by the group? Do you think that was the best approach? What happened?
- Tell me about a time when you worked successfully as a member of a team.
- Describe the team of people you work with and how where you fitted into the team.
- What do you believe obstructs the progress of the team you work in?
- Describe a time when there was a difficulty or disagreement in your team. How did you resolve it?
- How do you deal with conflicts, disagreements or misunderstandings within your team?
- Describe your approach or steps in maintain good co-worker relationships?
- Describe a situation in which you were successful in getting people to work together effectively.
- How do you maintain relations with a person in cases where you cannot agree upon certain issues?
- Tell me about a time when you disagreed with the way your team was working. What did you do?
- Describe a situation in which you were a member of a team (not a leader) and a conflict arose within the team. What did you do?
- Describe a situation when you supported others to achieve a goal?
- What is the importance of building relationships with colleagues to your professional life?
- Provide an example of a time you showed strong teamwork skills.
- Tell me about a time when a team work project failed. What was the outcome?
- Tell us your understanding of what makes a team function successfully?
- Describe the strategies you use to motivate your team?
- Do you prefer to work independently or are you happier on a team? Why?
- Tell us about your experience working with virtual/remote teams?
- Describe what it means to you to be a team player.
- Describe a disappointing team experience. What could you have done to prevent it?
EFFECTIVE RELATIONSHIPS & NETWORKING
Ability to build and maintain effective relationships and networks. This may be in relation to contacts, both inside and outside the company who can provide information, assistance and support.
- Describe your key internal work relationships. How do you interact with these people/teams?
- Describe your key external work relationships. How do you interact with these people/teams?
- What are the conditions required for effective partnership working? How do you create these conditions?
- Tell me about a time when you learned to get along with someone you found to be a very difficult person. What changed? What do you now know about this person that you perhaps did not know at the outset of your relationship?
- How do you address misunderstandings in relationships? Provide an example.
- Give an example of when you thought through an issue with others, utilising their skills and making them feel valued.
- Describe your understanding of the employer-employee relationship.
- Describe a situation that demonstrates your skill in building and using effective relationships and networks, both inside and outside of an organisation.
- Describe how you network? What is the importance of networking?
- Describe a situation in which you developed an effective win / win relationship with a customer or stakeholder. How did you go about building the relationship?
- Tell me about a time when you relied on a contact in your network to help you with a work-related task or resolve a problem.
- Give me an example of a time when you actively built a rapport or relationship with a colleague or customer.
INNOVATION & CREATIVE THINKING – complete – potentially could add 4 more questions
Ability to develop new insights into situations and apply innovative solutions to make improvements. Creates a work environment that encourages creative thinking and innovation in the design of programmes and processes.
- Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
- Tell us about your creative activities outside of work, what creative activities do you get involved in?
- Describe a time when you exhibited a pattern of generating new and unique ideas. Describe situations, ideas you generated, and what happened as a result.
- Tell us about a time when you created a new product or service?
- Tell us about a time you were faced with a problem or challenge that required “outside the box” thinking to come up with a solution. What was the situation?
- Describe a time when you demonstrated the ability to see the broadest possible view of an issue or challenge or to project scenarios into the future.
- Tell me about a time when you created a unique idea or solution, and it was rejected by your colleagues.
- Describe a situation that demonstrates your ability to anticipate future trends accurately.
- Tell us about a time when you were brainstorming with others—a time when you were particularly creative and contributed value to a brainstorming session.
- Tell us about the most creativeor innovative project you have worked on?
- Tell us about a time when you took an existing process and used your own creativityto make it better.
- Give an example of an effective/innovative solution you created to solve a problem.
- Describe an occasion when you have had to schedule activities to a timetable. What was the reason you were scheduling/organising activities? What problems did you face? What did you do? What was the outcome?
ADAPABILITY & FLEXIBILITY (Openness to Change)
Flexible and comfortable adapting current work practices and procedures to respond to changing/different situations. To embrace change, take intelligent/measured risks, and support others to engage in the change process.
- Can you describe a time when you had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had little control? How did the changes impact on you?
- Can you think of a time when you changed your plans as a result of new information or changing priorities?
- In what ways has your current job changed since you started? How have you dealt with these changes?
- Tell me about an experience you have had dealing with major change. How did you maintain your effectiveness?
- Sometimes policies exist that we don’t always agree with. Tell me about the last time you disagreed with a new policy or procedure.
- Working with people from diverse backgrounds or cultures can be challenging. Tell me about a time when you were presented with a challenge adapting to a person from a different background or culture.
- Describe a time when you had to change your priorities to meet another person’s expectations?
- Tell me about two previous supervisors with different management styles. In what ways did you modify your behaviour to respond to their style?
- Describe how you keep up to date with new innovations and concepts.
- Think of examples of situations when you have challenged others ideas. What did you do? What was the result?
- Describe situations where you have spotted new opportunities and followed them through. What happened?
- Can you give me an example of a situation when you had to be flexible? What was the situation? What was the result?
- Tell me about a time when you had to change your point of view or your plans to take into account new information or changing priorities.
- Describe a time when you altered your own behaviour to fit the situation.
Ability to lead, encouraging, inspiring and supporting others to deliver. Has the ability to understand how individuals, at all levels, operate and how best to use that understanding to achieve objectives in the most efficient and effective way. Capable of taking unpopular stands were necessary and can encourages direct and tough debate but isn’t afraid to end it and move on. A person who is looked to for direction in a crisis and can face adversity.
- Have you ever needed to change the goals of your team to align them with the overall goals of the organisation? How did you go about it?
- Can you describe a situation when you had to get your staff to implement a policy or decision they did not agree with?
- What is the most important skill of a good leader? Describe a time when you effectively used this leadership skill on the job.
- Tell about a time when a group you led failed or did not meet expectations. What happened? What did you do?
- Tell me about a time you had difficulty getting others to accept an idea? What was your approach? Did it work?
- What is the toughest group that you have had to gain cooperation from? What did you do?
- Could you describe a decision you made recently that was initially unpopular with your staff? How did you handle it?
- Tell me about a time when you encountered resistance to changes you needed to make.
- Every organisation has some impediments to efficiency. Tell me about one that exists in your organisation.
- Tell me about a time when you had to lead a group to achieve a specific outcome.
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to ensure that your “actions spoke louder than your words” to a team?
- Tell me about a time when you demonstrated your leadership qualities.
- Describe a time where you inspired others to achieve a common goal.
- Have you ever had to dismiss someone? Why? How did you go about it? Under what circumstances do you think it is appropriate to dismiss someone?
- Describe a time when you had to convince management that you made the right decision?
- Tell me about a time when it was difficult to convince your manager about a change you wanted to make.
- Give an example of a time when you fostered motivation in your employees.
- Tell me about two of your direct reports/team members who are most different from one another. How do you change your leadership to suit?
- Tell me about a time your coaching or mentoring helped a staff member improve their performance.
- Have you ever led a group in which some of the members did not work well together? What did you do?
- Give me an example of a time when you have had to set up a new process for people to follow. Why was this process needed? How did you implement it? How was the process received by its users? What happened?
- What experience have you had of managing people? Talk me through a specific example of when you have helped a member of your team improve their skills/performance. What techniques did you use to manage them? Which techniques did you find most effective and why?
- Give me an example of when you had to organise a team and rely on them to perform a complex task. How many people were involved? Was there any external pressure? Did you have any problems?
- How have you dealt with a client or colleague who felt you were discourteous to them in the past? How have you addressed their concerns?
- How do you feel that you work within a group? How have you handled differences of opinion between yourself and the rest of the group/members within the group?
- What methods have you used to reach team decisions? What have you done when you disagreed with a team majority decision?
- Give me one example of a change that you have introduced that has had a positive effect on the business.
- When you joined your last company, what actions did you take to evaluate your team?
- Describe the most important action that you took to establish yourself as the manager of your current team.
- What is the most important measure that you have taken in the past 3 months to enable your team to perform?
- Tell me about an action you have taken that has contributed to developing the right working atmosphere.
- Talk me through an example of when you have motivated your team. What did you do?
- Have you ever had to arbitrate between two staff members who were unable to work together? How did you get them to cooperate?
CONTINUOUS DEVELOPMENT (SELF & OTHERS)
Recognises that continuous development is essential for success in any role, and takes steps to develop self, and helps others to excel at what they do. Provides challenging and stretching tasks and assignments. Aware of each person’s career goals and constructs compelling development plans and executes them. Establishes ability to develop people.
- Give me an example of how you have identified the career goals of a direct report and proactively supported that person’s development. How did you approach this? What were the results?
- Explain how you have used a formal development-planning process to help one or more direct reports attain their career goals. What specific role did you play in creating the development plan? In what ways did you follow up?
- Provide an example of when you proactively motivated someone to accept developmental tasks or projects for the purpose of professional development. How did you do it?
- Describe your own strengths and areas for improvement.
- Tell me about how you identify your development needs and the development needs of your team. Give me an example.
- Tell me how you assess your own ability and knowledge relative to your role.
- Give an example of when you expanded your role with a new challenge?
- Describe a situation that showcases your ability to learn from successes and failures and help others do the same.
- Describe how have you supported and/or trained others.
- Describe a situation that demonstrates your willingness to challenge and stretch your current skills and abilities.
- Discuss your views on delegation.
- Describe an occasion when you have encouraged others to take initiative and ownership for their learning.
- Can you give me an example of when you have had to accept criticism? What was the nature of the criticism? How did you take it?
- Describe a time when you provided feedback to someone about their performance.
- Give me an example of a time when you recognised that a member of your team had a performance difficulty. What did you do?
- Provide an example that demonstrates your dedication to continuous learning and self-improvement.
THINKING & ACTING STRATEGICALLY
Understands the purpose, context, goals, and objectives of the organisation, their own area, and how they are strategically interlinked. Demonstrates an understanding of how current actions will impact on longer term business objectives.
- What is your strategy for brainstorming and sharing ideas to establish critical thinking?
- Give an example of a SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you have recently undergone.
- Describe the contribution your role makes to the success of the organisation.
- How do your personal goals and objectives link in to the Strategic Plan?
- Describe the contribution your specialist advice makes to colleagues, partners and other individuals.
- Give an example of a challenge or opportunity you identified based on your organisation or industry experience. How did you develop a strategy to respond to it?
- Describe a time when you created a strategy to achieve a long-term organisational objective.
- Describe a situation that demonstrates your ability to anticipate future trends accurately.
- Tell me about a time when you used your organisational knowledge to understand a specific situation or problem.
- Describe a time when you demonstrated the ability to see the broadest possible view of an issue or challenge or to project scenarios into the future.
- Tell me about a time when you took on the challenge of a new or unfamiliar task or responsibility.
- Describe a time when you were better able than others to quickly grasp the underlying essence or structure of complex things and figure out how to apply that information.
- Give an example of how your company’s vision for the future impacted one or more daily decisions you have made.
RESILIENCE & STRESS TOLERANCE
Assesses ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Capability in managing through tough times with maturity. Can be counted on to hold things together during difficult times.
- Give me an example of a situation where you had to present a hard truth to someone. How did you handle it?
- Give me an example of when you faced a challenge that tested your coping skills.
- Tell me about a time when you have had to deal with or work closely with a difficult or angry person. How did you handle it?
- Tell me about a time when you have had difficulty dealing with a change in policy or procedure at work.
- Describe a time when you failed to accomplish a goal. How did you handle it?
- Tell me about a time when you did not handle a situation well or a time you felt overwhelmed.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to adjust quickly to changes around you over which you had no control.
- Describe a time when the situation became very heated. How did you respond?
- Explain how you deal with stress.
- Describe a time when you had to help resolve a tense situation in the workplace.
- What has been your biggest frustration at work and how did you overcome it?
- Tell me about a time when you received negative feedback from your manager. How did you handle this?
- Tell me about a time you had to quickly adjust your work priorities to meet changing demands.
- Give me an example of a time when you felt under pressure. What was the situation? What were you trying to achieve? What did you do? What was the result?
- Can you give me an example of an instance when you missed a deadline?
- Specify the most stressful aspect of your current job. Give an example of how it affects your performance?
- How do you ensure your team don’t get overwhelmed?
- Tell me about a time you were frustrated or lost your temper at work.
Knowledgeable in current and possible future policies, practices, trends, technology, and information affecting his/her business and organization. Knows the competition, is aware of how strategies and tactics work in the marketplace.
- Describe a time when you had to make a decisions or take action without having all the information or the total picture.
- Describe a time when you effectively integrated financial, enterprise, and industry data and indicators into a strategic plan or initiative.
- Tell me about what you believe are the biggest issues our industry faces today?
- What do you believe are the biggest issues our industry faces in the future?
- Tell us how you stay up to date with your industry trends and developments.
- Tell about a time when you went over budget? Why? How did you handle this?
- Give me an example of a time where your understanding of your organisation enabled you to get something you needed that, had you lacked the understanding, you probably would not have gotten.
- Describe a time when politics at work affected your job. How did you deal with it?
- Explain how you handle situations in which others who are involved lack the information you have but a decision must be made.
- Tell me about a time when you used industry data to support a successful project.
- Describe the most challenging negotiation you have conducted.
- Describe a period of time when you made an extra effort to build strong relationships with others inside or outside the organisation
- You’ve been approached with a new idea for your department. Describe how you go about determining the feasibility and possible success of that idea.
- Describe a situation that demonstrates your ability to comfortably present to those in authority regardless of your surroundings.
- Tell us about your thoughts on what role “corporate culture” plays in the success of a company?
- Tell me about your fiscal management experience: budgeting, reporting, cutting costs, and building and maintaining reserves.
TRUST WORTHINESS & ETHICS
This competency considers how a person maintains social, organisational and ethical norms. Respecting confidentiality, organisational regulations and personal commitments.
- Tell me about a time when you had to handle a tough problem that challenged ethical issues
- Describe a time when you acted with integrity
- Describe a situation in which your values were questioned. How did you handle that situation?
- Tell me about a time when you had to handle a tough problem that challenged fairness or ethical issues.
- What would you do if you noticed a colleague was lying?
- Tell me about a time when you took responsibility for a mistake before anyone else knew you made it.
- Has your manager/supervisor ever asked you to do something that you were uncomfortable with? How did you handle this?
- Tell me about a time you witnessed a fellow employee do something that you didn’t think was appropriate.
- Describe a time when you felt unqualified for a job assigned to you?
- Tell me about a time when a situation tested your integrity.
- What behaviours do you least like to see in people you work with?
- How do you balance your work/personal life?
- Tell about a time you made a mistake at work. How did you handle it, and what did you learn from it?
- What aspects of your last job were most frustrating? Why?
- Describe a situation that demonstrates your ability to gain the trust and confidence of people in authority.
- Tell me about the time when you spoke up within a situation that was unfavourable to you.
- Describe a time you had to earn the trust of your colleagues.
ENERGY & ENTHUSIASM
This questions explores a person’s level of energy and ability to maintain a high activity level and sustain productivity over long periods of time. It explores perseverance, need to finish, especially in the face of resistance. Pursues everything with energy, drive, and a need to finish, seldom gives up before finishing, especially in the face of resistance or setbacks.
- Tell me about a time you had to work at a fast pace for an extended period of time. How did you maintain your work pace?
- What job activities have required the most energy? How did you maintain your effectiveness while working on these activities?
- Describe a situation when you had to see a project/task through to completion even though you faced several setbacks.
- Would you consider returning to your former employer? Why/why not?
- Give an example of a policy you conformed to with which you did not agree.
- Share with me the most difficult and complex situation in which you set clear, lofty goals for yourself (and others, if applicable), and then pursued those goals with enthusiasm and energy.
- Think back to a complex and challenging time in which you anticipated obstacles and were prepared with a contingency plan so as not to impede the drive to the goal and, if applicable, kept others involved on track also.
- Describe two situations that demonstrate your reputation for success and quality performance in the eyes of your peers and superiors.
- Think back to a period of time in which your positive work ethic even inspired others. Share with the details.
- Share some instances that demonstrate your capability to regularly develop and implement plans for new projects and to redirect activity on plans that aren’t working.
- Think back to a recent period of time that reveals your skill to view challenges, and even mistakes, as an opportunity to grow.
- Describe the most complex, challenging situation in which you needed to be the one who set the pace for productivity by example, in a firm but unthreatening way.
- Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
- How do you balance your work/personal life?
- What kind of work environment do you excel in?
- Are you more energized by working alone or by collaborating with other individuals?
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