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Competency Interview Questions

25 Questions and Answers by

Rachelle Enns is an interview coach and job search expert. She works with candidates to perform their best in employment, medical, and post-secondary admission interviews.

Competency was updated on May 4th, 2019. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 25

Tell me about an achievement you are proud of. What skills did you use to achieve this goal?

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Competency Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    Tell me about an achievement you are proud of. What skills did you use to achieve this goal?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know that you are capable of setting goals and reaching them. The person who aims to achieve more and more every day is the exact person that every manager wants to hire! Discuss an example of when you overcame obstacles to reach a career related goal that seemed impossible. Or, share a time when you received an award, and talk about the most challenging parts of achieving that award. Highlight your determination and focus.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My company has a President's Club for all top sales reps. When you reach PC level, you earn a trip to Mexico! Last year I told myself that I was going to reach the President's Club level, no matter what it took. I worked an average of 50 hours per week, I doubled my cold calling numbers, and utilized areas of our Salesforce program that most people in our company don't even know. Mixing my strong determination with sound technical skills, and willingness to push through, I made it! I was proud of this achievement."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "I recently earned my Degree in Business Administration while working full time. This goal I set for myself so that I could readily earn an Executive Assistant position like this one."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "After recently hiring an entirely new team of people to roll out a critical project, I realized they needed to learn to work together. I created a leadership training program and cross-functional work group sessions to bring this team closer at an accelerated pace. It was a challenge to schedule and break the ice early, but we did it well."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "I am proud of the fact that I started this marketing career from scratch. My background is in service and sales, but I knew I needed something different and wanted to utilize my creative mind, so I leaped out on my own. The last two positions I landed because of creativity, perseverance, and hard work, which is the best way to get anything in life."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "I am proud to have won an award for highest sales in my district. My ability to analyze market trends and engage customers are the two skills I attribute this honor to the most."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "I'm proud of the fact that I was promoted the fastest in the organization's 5-year history, and followed that up by setting another record in fastest promotion to deal closed. When I took this position, I set the goal for promotion within twelve months. I was able to achieve that within six months. As you can see, I set lofty goals for myself and am sure to create milestones and check-ins with managers to ensure I'm hitting the targets along the way to achieve those goals."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "I am proud of having been chosen to be a mentor to new hires in the department. I think I've informally mentored and exhibited leadership since day one, and to be recognized for being a great teacher and being able to train and shape the new additions to the department is an awesome pat on the back."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Dishwasher Interview

      "My company has a President's Club for all top sales reps. When you reach PC level, you earn a trip to Mexico! Last year I told myself that I was going to reach the President's Club level, no matter what it took. I worked an average of 50 hours per week, I doubled my cold calling numbers, and utilized areas of our SalesForce program that most people in our company don't even know about. Mixing my strong determination with sound technical skills, and willingness to push through, I made it! I was really proud of this achievement."

      Ryan's Answer for a FBI Interview

      "Last year, I earned the Denver Police Medal of Honor for my actions while stopping a bank robbery. I was surprised by this honor and also humbled. I believe that my bravery was part of what earned me the reward, but also my ability to react quickly under pressure."

      Krista's Answer for an Occupational Health and Safety Technician Interview

      "I had a personal goal of achieving my associate's degree while still in high school. I wanted to graduate from high school and college simultaneously, so I could fast track my career. I was fortunate enough to be living with my parents, who supported me and allowed me to pursue my studies without having to work. With the heavy workload at school, I had to give up sports and most social events for those two years. But, I achieved my goal of graduating from high school and college a week apart. And, I was able to maintain a 3.9 GPA in high school and a 3.5 GPA in college."

      Sue's Answer for a Landscape Architect Interview

      "The accomplishment I am the proudest of is managing a very large park planning project on a very tight deadline (... detailed information pertaining to this project, such as the company name, and so on). As a result, I developed strong project and time management skills that will undoubtedly enable me to thrive in this role at your company."

      Heather's Answer for a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Interview

      "I completed my Master's degree while working full time and taking care of my kids."

      Ronda's Answer for a Board Chairman Interview

      "One of the biggest personal goals I achieved was earning my Master's degree. I wanted to dive deeper into my area of expertise and set a goal of earning my graduate degree to gain specialized knowledge and advance in my career field. I attended classes while working a full-time job which made earning my degree feel even more special considering the hard work and sacrifices it took."

      Clara's Answer for a Translator Interview

      "There are so many iterations to a language depending on location, generation, socio-economic and socio-political position, and more. It is critical for translators to be mindful of these nuances in each language in order to appropriately get meaning across. Any speaker of more than one language knows that there is often more than one way to translate a particular word or phrase or concept, and some words and phrases simply don't exist in other languages. So, we have to be as intentional about maintaining cultural fluency as we are about language fluency."

      Ryan's Answer for a Ramp Agent Interview

      "Last year, my supervisor asked me to represent our department and be a part of an organization-wide committee focused on quality improvement. He commended me for my error free work over my three years with the company and knew that I would best represent our department on the committee. I was very honored that my focus on the job was recognized, and I can't say enough how grateful I am for the new learning opportunities I've had as part of this committee. If hired as a Ramp Agent, I've learned many great quality-related items that I could bring to your team."

      Cassandra's Answer for a Youth Program Director Interview

      "I was working at an adventure education camp, when a co-worker created 'The Great Trash Hunt'. The center had a lot of trash around, so with gloves and trash bags each teams went around to clean up. The team that collected the most won a prize. I loved the educational part of the program and also how it helped the center, I implemented the program a center I worked at last year and it was a huge hit."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Fashion Designer Interview

      "The accomplishment I am the most proud of is managing a very large project on a very tight deadline (... detailed information pertaining to this project, such as the company name, and so on). As a result, I developed strong project and time management skills that will undoubtedly enable me to thrive in this role at your company."

      Christine's Answer for a Parole Officer Interview

      "I have had a lot of fun receiving honors in my life and professional career so far! While receiving my education, I developed a reputation in the debate club and received many honors. I have been awarded certificates of honors for investigative casework done in criminal court work and have been recognized by communities for positive transition rates of previous serving criminals into the community."

      Krista's Answer for a Vascular Technologist Interview

      "The accomplishment I am most proud of is graduating at the top of my class when receiving my bachelor's degree. It was difficult because I was working part-time and raising a three-year-old by myself, but I was determined to receive the summa cum laude honorary title, and I did."

      Heather's Answer for a Bacteriologist Interview

      "The accomplishment that I am most proud of was my ability to graduate the top student in my class. While attending school, I was also working and caring for my younger sister. I had a lot on my plate. Not only did I graduate top of my class but I am also the first female in my family to complete post-secondary education."

      Christina's Answer for a Writer Interview

      "I recently submitted a short story to the Imaginary Fiction Writers' Association and earned second place out of over 2,000 submissions. The story I submitted addressed essential issues related to gentrification but offered a comedic twist. I am very proud of this story and included it in my application to your agency."

      Audra's Answer for a Student Advisor Interview

      "I am most proud of graduation with my bachelor's degree with a 3.75 GPA. My journey through college was not a traditional one, and I faced many different roadblocks. I lost a close family member, I worked several part-time jobs, and I had to take a semester off at one point to help my family. I worked extremely hard to make my family proud and prove to myself that I could push through difficult seasons. I learned a lot about who I am throughout college and am so proud of my hard work, dedication, and tenacity."

      Sue's Answer for an Editor Interview

      "I've learned through my past experiences that a good editor should avoid changing an author's voice or writing style. The editor should ask questions of the author regarding unclear issues in the writing and offer suggestions on how to clarify for reader understanding. If an author does not like my suggested edits, I've found that it's best to open up the discussion, explain my point of view, and be respectful and straightforward. I'll offer suggestions and rewrite the sentence or paragraph so the author can see my points more clearly, but I typically let the author make the final call."

      Heather's Answer for an Addiction Nurse Interview

      "It is unfortunate that situations like this ever occur. However, when they do, patient safety and concerns should always be acknowledged. If a patient presented a complaint to me, I would notify my immediate supervisor and give him whatever information I have so that he can investigate the validity of any allegations and act accordingly."

      Darby's Answer for an Urologists Interview

      "My colleagues will tell you that I am a team player and that I am
      someone they feel comfortable coming to when they need an extra hand or someone to talk to."

      William's Answer for an Application Analyst Interview

      "The professional accomplishment I am most proud of was when I was able to help an organization reduce its annual software budget by 25%. I did this by analyzing every application the organization was using, identifying opportunities for cost savings, reducing the number of licenses the company was paying for, and upgrading the applications which had become obsolete or ineffective. While performing the analysis, I developed a set of systems and tools that I've used for subsequent analyses. This has resulted in similar savings for other organizations I have worked for."

      Darby's Answer for a Surgical First Assistant Interview

      "I have never had a situation when I felt like I couldn't participate in a surgery. If a situation were to arise where I felt uncomfortable or unprepared, I would talk with a supervisor immediately, and explain my feelings and ask if it is possible to have someone else assigned as the first assistant."

      Rachelle's Answer for a TSA Screener Interview

      "I am most proud of graduating from college. I am the first person in my immediate family to graduate from a 4-year university, and it means a lot to me knowing that I stuck with it and achieved my degree. I finished my Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with a 3.8 GPA. This accomplishment was very significant for my family, as well."

      Christina's Answer for a Voice Writing Reporter Interview

      "I am most proud of my transcribing of the biggest court case of the year. My writing was pertinent for the entire country to know what happened in court and because of that, I am extremely confident in my skills to tackle any kind of transcription necessary."

      Clara's Answer for a Wedding Planner Interview

      "First and foremost, I would want to work with the couple to understand as fully as possible what cultures and components they want to be represented. I always want to ensure that each culture is appropriately represented in the wedding and to the degree that the couple chooses. I have had couples schedule two separate wedding ceremonies to perform each cultural ceremony independently, other couples have requested the ceremony to lean towards one culture and the reception to lean towards another, and I've had couples integrate both the ceremony and the reception. In these circumstances, I lean heavily on the couple to decide what they are most interested in, then lean on fellow industry professionals that have agreater knowledge of and experience in planning weddings of the represented cultures."

      Lindsay's Answer for a Chemical Technician Interview

      "In college, my goal was to get an 80% or higher in all of my classes. This was not an easy goal for me to reach because there was one class in particular that I struggled in. To achieve my goal, I sat closer to my professor during lectures, took on as much extra credit as I could, and partnered with another student in my class to study twice a week. By the time I took my final, I was able to get my grade high enough to reach my goal. I understand that if I want to reach my goals, I will need to make some necessary sacrifices along the way."

      Audra's Answer for a Video Producer Interview

      "One accomplishment I am the most proud of is managing a very large project on a very tight deadline (... detailed information pertaining to this project, such as the company name, and so on). As a result, I developed strong project and time management skills that will undoubtedly enable me to thrive in this role at your company."

      2 Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "Last November, I was being offered a position of the lead technician at work, which I am proud of. I use my problem-solving skills, determination, patience, and technical knowledge to achieve this goal."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Perfect! It's great that you readily offer up what you did to achieve this goal.

      "Last November, I was offered the position of lead technician at work, which I am proud of. I used my problem-solving skills, determination, patience, and technical knowledge to achieve this goal."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I decided that I needed to get an internal auditor certification to learn continuously and to make myself relevant. I used my organization and planning skills to organize efficient study hours, and I was disciplined to follow the timeline I set for myself. I always aim for a positive result, and I was successful in passing parts 1 and 2 of the exam in just six months. I am currently studying for the final part."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Good for you! You seem determined to work hard and get what you want. You mention passing parts 1 and 2 in just six months...to give the interviewer more context, what is the benchmark or the average?

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