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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

What decisions did you routinely make in your last position?

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Competency Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    What decisions did you routinely make in your last position?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know more about the types of decisions you are accustomed to making in the workplace. The way you answer this question will give them a good idea of your level of experience, seniority, and ability to handle the decision-making requirements in this possible position.

      If the job you are interviewing for requires you to be decisive and quick on your feet, you will need to be able to provide examples of how you have done these things in the past. If you worked in tech support, you faced with problems that you needed to find solutions for regularly. If you worked as a sales rep, you might have required knowing how to negotiate and make decisions on prices and benefits you can give your customers.

      You may have faced decisions that became so routine you didn't think twice! Refer to these decisions and be sure to highlight how they have prepared you for a role like this one.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In my previous position I was quite often required to make decisions on staff scheduling as well as hiring and terminating. I feel that role prepared me quite well for a position like this one. I have well-honed decision-making skills and my intuition, when it comes to hiring, has been elevated."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "In my previous role, as an executive assistant, I routinely made decisions on vendors, locations, caterers, and airlines. I thoroughly enjoy making those types of decisions as I am decisive and a great researcher."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "I routinely make decisions around hiring, career advancement, associate development, and talent management. I am very comfortable in these areas."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "I was responsible for planning the content calendar which included emails, blog post topics, and timing, social media posts, in addition to actually executing the plans. That means everything from creating a copy, to choosing images, and the like. Also, I collaborated with management to decide what promotions and sales we will be running and when."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "I regularly made decisions regarding pricing and discounts for customers. I had a standard set of criteria that I created, and I tried to let that guide me for consistency."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "On a day-to-day level, I chose the city of focus, prioritization of prospects, and delegation of tasks. The higher-level decisions I made were regarding hiring and assignment of new hires. I also had a large influence on the employee terminations. I feel that these two sets of responsibilities have positioned me well for this role and I look forward to continuing to leveraging my experience while learning from the more seasoned members of the staff."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "I write my lesson plans, execute them, and tweak them as I go through the day from class to class. Classroom management is obviously a big part of my job. Since I like to have fun with my students' learning methods, it's especially important to make sure that we're being energetic but staying on task and learning."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Heavy Equipment Operator Interview

      "In my previous position I was quite often required to make decisions on staff scheduling as well as hiring and terminating. I feel that role prepared me quite well for a position like this one. I have well-honed decision making skills and my intuition, when it comes to hiring, has been elevated."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Study Abroad Advisor Interview

      "I usually find it easy to recommend students schools based on their preferences, grades, and interests after I've sat down to meet with them extensively. What's difficult is when I have to decide that their dream school is too much of a reach school for them to apply to given the limited number of applications available. Students and parents can be really insistent sometimes and they do get upset if they have their eyes set on a school that I need to tell the may not be the most realistic option."

      Darby's Answer for a Veterinarian Interview

      "I think getting to the root of why someone has made a choice to euthanize a pet before considering other options is the best place to start with a situation like this. If a client asked me to euthanize a healthy pet, I would first ask if she has considered other alternatives, such as rehoming the pet or finding a rescue. Although it is not illegal to euthanize a healthy animal, it is my preference to try and offer other alternatives before a measure that drastic is taken."

      Krista's Answer for a Toxicologist Interview

      "Really, I enjoy both. I have worked independently for most of my career, so that is what I am most familiar with. However, I recently worked with a research team and enjoyed collaborating with like-minded individuals to complete the assignment we were given."

      Clara's Answer for an Airline Steward Interview

      "I anticipate planning certain things in advance to be more difficult as an airline steward given the nature of scheduling and occasional 'on-call' duties. That said, I thoroughly enjoy a dynamic and changing schedule, so I am ready for whatever side effects that might bring."

      Heather's Answer for an Alcohol and Drug Counselor Interview

      "I feel confident in my work when it comes to building therapy programs for my clients. The decisions that are easiest to make are the ones that benefit my patients."

      2 Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "Flight booking for examiners going to examine in our international countries was a part of my coordinator role. To do this effectively I'd get as much information from all of the people involved to ensure a smooth trip - I would first check flights to see which ones were most cost-effective, I'd check when the examiner gave availability for, I would then confirm dates with the examiner, giving them two options; and then subsequently check with the International Rep that they would be able to accommodate the examiner as they would normally organize a pick-up from the airport and hotel availability. I had to ensure that the communication with each person was swift but relaxed, and once I had all the relevant information I would book the flight for the examiner and organize the rest of their examining tour."

      Stephanie's Answer

      This is an excellent example (and you sound highly organized!) but I would suggest developing your response a bit more to specifically state how this task reflected your decision-making skills.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "• As a tutor, the best way to measure performance was through exam practice. I also constantly got my students to explain concepts back to me, especially as if they were explaining it to someone who had no knowledge of the field."

      Cindy's Answer

      Good. So you decided how best to teach? Did you make the right choices? How do you know?

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