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Tips and Tricks - 14-03-2024 - - 0 comments
Competency-based Interview Questions: Our Top Tips

Congratulations on getting an interview! You’ve researched the most common interview questions, but are you prepared for some of the more specific competency-based interview questions you might receive?

Many interviewers ask competency-based questions to find out whether you have the right skills for the job. Many questions will ask how you’ve acted in the past, or ask you how you’d deal with a situation in the future.

For example, your interviewer might ask something like “how have you dealt with safeguarding concerns in the past”? Instead of drawing a blank when you’re being asked questions that require evidence of your experience and skills, there are tried and tested formulas for answering these.

Take a look at our top tips to tackle these interview questions and get you prepared for the big day.

What are competency-based interview questions?

Competency-based interview questions probe further into the skills and experience a potential employee needs in order to carry out the job they’re interviewing for.

These kinds of questions will often ask you about specific instances you’ve demonstrated skills listed in the job description. This is so the interviewer has evidence that you’re able to complete the job and can rise to the challenge.

If you don’t have experience in the area, the interviewer might ask you what you would do if you were faced with a particular situation. This can demonstrate your understanding of the role and the skills you’ll need to develop within it.

Examples of competency-based interview questions

·        “Tell me about a time when you have changed a way of doing things in your previous role/s? How did you go about implementing this?”

·        “Tell me how you dealt with a safeguarding issue in school.”

·        “Tell us about a behaviour management strategy you have used to help engage an individual learner or group.”

·        “How have you managed a situation of conflict within a team?”

·        “What would you do if a child disclosed a personal issue?”

How to answer competency-based interview questions

First, pick out some of the key competencies stated in the job description and think of some examples for each one. For example, if they’re looking for someone with excellent leadership skills, think of a scenario where you’ve demonstrated this.

Your examples can be from a previous job, your education or even an extra-curricular pastime, such as sports teams.

Most importantly, don’t be tempted to lie. They will ask you questions about the subject, and any embellishments you’ve made will be quickly found out!

A great tip for answering these questions is by using the STAR method.

What is the STAR method?

STAR stands for ‘Situation’, ‘Task’, ‘Action’ and ‘Result’. This method is a useful way of communicating key points clearly and concisely in an interview.

·        Situation: Briefly explain the situation, or set the scene.

·        Task: What did you need to do, or accomplish?

·        Action: Explain the action you took in order to accomplish the task.

·        Result: What happened as a result? Why was this positive?

Once you’ve identified these four points, pull them all together into a brief, but good-quality answer.


For more interview tips and information about securing your next teaching or other school role, chat to us. We’re looking for teachers to work at schools across the Midlands, North West and South Yorkshire, and can support you every step of the way.


Browse our current teaching jobs or call our team of recruitment consultants on 0121 392 6570 to learn more.

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