Competence-Based Interviews – What You Need to Know

What is a competence-based interview?

Competence-based interviews are designed to evaluate your skills and experience in relation to the role you are being interviewed for. The interview is typically structured around a specific set of questions used to gauge your responses against a predefined set of defined criteria. The purpose of this is to assess your skills and performance in the context of your past experiences.

Questions are generally open questions, such as “describe a time when…” or “Give us an example of when…”. The objective is to see how your past experiences would translate to the role you are being interviewed for.

The STAR method

The STAR method is a format you can practice and use to answer questions during a competence-based interview. STAR stands for:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result


First, you need to set the context for the interviewer. Provide a brief background that summarises the situation that you were in.


Once the context is set, explain to the interviewer the task you were set, your role and responsibilities, and any dependencies and constraints or challenges around the task.


Clearly explain the actions you took to successfully complete the task, paying particular attention to the key skills you used applicable to the role you are being interviewed for.


Describe the end result – the benefits and the lessons learnt.

Preparing for a competence-based interview

Make sure you have thoroughly researched the company and have a firm understanding of the role you are interviewing for. If there is anything that you are unsure about, be proactive and reach out to your contact to ask or clarify any information you need to know.

When you are comfortable you have a good understanding of the role and its responsibilities, think about the skills that you would need to demonstrate and create a shortlist of tasks you have previously completed that match these criteria.

Once your shortlist is created, write down descriptions using the STAR method – make sure that your story for each scenario has a beginning, middle and end.

Make sure that your list contains situations and tasks that account for different types of skills, such as how you handled a difficult situation at work, a time when you disagreed with your boss, or how you achieved a specific goal.

In the days leading up to your interview, make sure you practice, practice, practice! This will not only make you feel ready and confident for your interview but will ensure that your answers are clear and concise.

If you need any help or support looking for a change of direction or to prepare for an up and coming interview, please do not hesitate to contact the team at CareerJuice.







Financial Services Recruitment