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Top 10 Competency Interview Questions

How do you deal in uncomfortable situations?
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Question 2 of 24
Name a few things you were asked to do in your most recent position that you weren't necessarily trained to do. How did you cope?
Professional Answers Preview
"When I first started my current role, I was asked to present to my team about an idea I wanted to implement that would save the company money and time. I had never done this before and the idea of presenting made me a bit nervous. I spent a good deal of time researching viable business solutions. I played around with PowerPoint and watched some YouTube videos on how to put together an engaging slide show. It turned out great and I learned a lot from the experience."
"I worked for a lean organization that had a lot of cross over between HR, Marketing and IT. Often times, I would be asked to do functions of a department I did not work under. We are all on the same team so I would figure out what to do and get it done, then later recommend a process to better handle the type of situation in the future."
"I was regularly asked to participate in internal ISO audits, which I had never done before, so I had to learn the standards and how to appropriately run an audit. I was also promoted to a team lead and had a direct report to monitor. This was my first supervisory role, so I had never approved time sheets or handled employment related concerns. I asked for advice when possible, and did research on my own time whenever necessary."
The interviewer wants to know how you approach a situation when you do not necessarily possess the knowledge to complete a task. Most of us ask others for help, or conduct research to find the answer. Highlight to the interviewer that you are competent when it comes to leading yourself to the right answer. Show that you do not get frustrated; rather, you take it as an opportunity to grow.
Specific Career Examples
Sales Example
"Having worked in a startup, I am no stranger to "figure it out on the fly" type of mentality, almost to the point where I was figuring things out as I went more than I was implementing the training I had received. One example that comes to mind was dealing with a seemingly very excited prospect who went dark. I decided to hop in the car on the fly and show up at their door and have the conversation face-to-face. This was unheard of in my company, but my gut said I had to do it. It turned out very well and we were able to overcome a ton of objections or concerns that would have taken dozens of phone calls and false interest could have veiled."
Teacher Example
"I'd say the best example of tackling something not explicitly in training would be working with students with exceptionalities. Sure, we're trained in theory, but every single child is different as it is, so when there is an additional layer like a diagnosis or challenge to overcome, the learning in the college classroom is quite different than application in the daily class. I've found it's best to read their file, talk to their previous teachers and family as necessary, and then take it as it comes, just like any other kiddo."
Marketing Example
"I was not trained specifically on most of my job, so it's all self-taught or intuitive. I have taught myself PhotoShop and that's been really helpful in both social media and email campaigns, as well as the website that I now manage."
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Question 3 of 24
Give me an example of a challenge you overcame in your last position.
Professional Answers Preview
"The biggest challenge that I overcame in my last position was that I was brand new to the industry. I had sales experience; however, I knew very little about the oil and energy industry. I took my evenings and weekends to study hard on industry background, verbiage, and trends. It didn't take me long to feel comfortable and confident when speaking with potential clients. All it took was some time and dedication!"
"When starting my last role, there were 35 critical leadership openings in the business. It was causing a huge challenge for the businesses to function and meet their key initiatives. I worked closely partnering with Talent Acquisition to accomplish the successful hiring and training of all roles."
"My last challenge was to complete product testing within a deadline that was very tight. I was able to keep the test cells running 24 hours a day by monitoring their status from my laptop at home and by asking team members on later shifts to stop by and make sure they could hear it running."
Demonstrate your positive approach to problem solving. Show that you are proactive and competent when it comes to challenging workplace situations. Perhaps you went over and above to meet a tight deadline while taking over the responsibilities of a coworker who was out sick. Another example could be that you trained yourself on a new software that was difficult to understand. In your answer, focus on the steps you took to overcome the challenge, rather than the challenge itself. The interviewer wants to hear that you are determined and able to problem solve.
Specific Career Examples
Sales Example
"I would say the biggest challenge I overcame in my previous position was my lack of outside sales experience. I had inside sales and account management, but had never done a cold pitch. At first, it was uncomfortable but as I became more confident in the company and my knowledge of the industry, I learned what an asset I could be in outside sales. By meeting prospects face-to-face I could assess not only their sincerity and level of interest, but also connect on a personal level. What's ironic is the thing that gave me the greatest pause about taking the position and anxiety as I began became my favorite part of my job. It's something I look forward to continuing to do daily with your organization, should I be offered the position."
Teacher Example
"The district was running a referendum to pass what would get cut from the budget and had a list of proposed cuts, elementary Spanish was at the top of the list. Being told that, purely for budgetary reasons, my job and department would be gone was quite a challenge. We saved the program, in a large part due to the support of my current and former students and their families."
Marketing Example
"In my last position, I was tasked with fixing a really broken website. So, I not only learned WordPress, but shopped other providers and learned that WooCommerce was not the best fit for our needs, and migrated the site over to Shopify. I had to teach myself some basic code, as I had very little resources or support within my organization. In any event, I got the site up and running and working better than ever!"
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Question 4 of 24
Do you consider yourself a patient person? How do you increase your patience level in challenging situations?
Professional Answers Preview
"I do consider myself a patient person. I would rate myself an 8 /10 for patience because I certainly have room to grow but I do have a very long fuse. If I need a boost of patience in a challenging situation I will take a step away, count to 10 and then return to the situation. I recently read a book, 'The Power of Patience' by M.J. Ryan which also gave me some great new methods for coping under stress."
"I was once working with a group that could not quite get along and it tested my patience a bit because it prevented us from staying on track and focusing on the goals. I went above and beyond in helping the group get along by scheduling lunches as a team and helping to mediate situations that needed it."
"I am fairly patient, with other people. I tend to be impatient with myself if I am not finishing a project as fast as I think I should be. But, I am learning to be patient with myself as well. I find that breathing exercises, and closing my eyes for a few seconds can help me regroup."
The interviewer would like to know if you consider yourself a patient individual. Impatience can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in coworkers so it is really important that you are able to showcase your ability to remain patient and professional in workplace situations. Patience is certainly a virtue, but can be difficult to maintain when it seems that situations continue to push your buttons. Show the interviewer that you posses the ability to keep your cool in challenging situations.
Specific Career Examples
Sales Example
"I certainly can be patient, but I would say it's more of a learned skill than something innate. That said, I have worked to become more patient and not demonstrate my frustration or impatience with others. I know when I am being pushed by others, it's counterproductive, so I remind myself of that when dealing with others. In addition, I know when I'm running out of patience and am proactive asking for some time to regroup as appropriate."
Teacher Example
"I am quite patient both as a teacher and a mom, so I'm used to getting my buttons pushed and having to roll with it. I take it in stride and always try to get the kiddo to explain what's going on and why they're having trouble, get them "using their words" and deescalate the situation. If I'm frustrated, I make sure not to show it and just take a deep breath."
Marketing Example
"I feel I'm pretty patient overall, but obviously have my limits. When I feel they may be being pushed, I try to take a step away when possible to regain composure to approach the situation with a level head. If that isn't an option, I literally will take a sip of water and a few deep yoga breaths and try to approach the situation from another angle."
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Question 5 of 24
Tell me about an achievement you are proud of. What skills did you use to achieve this goal?
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Question 6 of 24
How has your current job changed over the years?
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Question 7 of 24
What decisions did you routinely make in your last position?
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Question 8 of 24
How do you deal with stressful situations in the workplace?
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Question 9 of 24
In your opinion, why is it important to develop relationships with coworkers?
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Question 10 of 24
How do you deal with conflict on your team?
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Question 11 of 24
Have you requested extra responsibilities in any of your previous roles?
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Question 12 of 24
Tell me about a time when you took a creative approach to solving a problem.
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Question 13 of 24
When have you taken an unusual risk in the workplace? What was the outcome?
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Question 14 of 24
How do you handle a larger than average workload?
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Question 15 of 24
Do you have confidence in your communication skills? What is your communication style?
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Question 16 of 24
How did you maintain a good relationship with your most recent boss?
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Question 17 of 24
Are you capable of handling disputes in a professional manner? How do you respond to customer complaints?
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Question 18 of 24
Give an example of when you used your listening skills to complete a task properly, or solve a problem.
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Question 19 of 24
How do you explain complicated concepts to those who may not understand?
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Question 20 of 24
How did you go about suggesting changes in your most recent company?
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Question 21 of 24
What feedback did you receive from your most recent manager?
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Question 22 of 24
What skills did you learn in your most recent position that will help you in this new role?
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Question 23 of 24
Why are you the best candidate for this position?
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Question 24 of 24
Tell me the ways in which you brought value to your most recent position.
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User-Submitted Interview Answers

Question 1 of 24
How do you deal in uncomfortable situations?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Working in the barracks would often put me in the situation where female occupants would answer their doors in various stages of undress. I always had a command escort with me and would always inform my supervisor when these incidents would occur.
Question 2 of 24
Name a few things you were asked to do in your most recent position that you weren't necessarily trained to do. How did you cope?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
How do you handle stress?
2.
I was asked to help lay concrete. I had not poured concrete before but the journeyman I was with was a great instructor. I would not say I am proficient but I have poured concrete a few more times since the first time.
Question 3 of 24
Give me an example of a challenge you overcame in your last position.
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Rude customers, coworkers not pulling their weight.
2.
Every day is a challenge in Penneys, it is one of the busiest retails shops in Ireland at the moment. Unfortunately, its hard to please every single customer, it's difficult to give them all the attention they need, but I always manage to give them my full attention if they require my help.
3.
We were often challenged of ensuring no other utilities were affected while digging in to the ground to locate and then repair a water break. We were also challenged on some tasks that needed to be scheduled around the operating hours of the various commands around the base.
Question 4 of 24
Do you consider yourself a patient person? How do you increase your patience level in challenging situations?
Question 5 of 24
Tell me about an achievement you are proud of. What skills did you use to achieve this goal?
Question 6 of 24
How has your current job changed over the years?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
The biggest change is personnel. There has been small changes in policy and procedure but we have had employees retire and then replaced by new recruits.
Question 7 of 24
What decisions did you routinely make in your last position?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Concerning our fraud cases, I had to decide if the information that the person sent in was sufficient enough and/or valid. Concerning our check customers, if they were eligible for additional services.
2.
I was allowed to work independently, which meant I was trusted to make safe, competent, reliable, honest, proficient, and quality decisions concerning the tasks I was assigned on a daily basis, regardless of how large or small the assigned task was.
Question 8 of 24
How do you deal with stressful situations in the workplace?
Question 9 of 24
In your opinion, why is it important to develop relationships with coworkers?
Question 10 of 24
How do you deal with conflict on your team?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Submit Daily reports.
2.
Organisation of the registers, sorting out the roster, checking for sick calls, making sure those places are filled by other staff memebers so no tills are seen to be empty. Communicating with management to ensure that everyone is clear on who is doing what and where.
3.
1: Ensure I was fully prepared for the tasks scheduled for that day 2: Ensure my vehicle functioned properly and was adequately fueled 3: Ensure my PDA and dog sheet were legibly completed before the end of the work day.
Question 11 of 24
Have you requested extra responsibilities in any of your previous roles?
Question 12 of 24
Tell me about a time when you took a creative approach to solving a problem.
Question 13 of 24
When have you taken an unusual risk in the workplace? What was the outcome?
Question 14 of 24
How do you handle a larger than average workload?
Question 15 of 24
Do you have confidence in your communication skills? What is your communication style?
Question 16 of 24
How did you maintain a good relationship with your most recent boss?
Question 17 of 24
Are you capable of handling disputes in a professional manner? How do you respond to customer complaints?
Question 18 of 24
Give an example of when you used your listening skills to complete a task properly, or solve a problem.
Question 19 of 24
How do you explain complicated concepts to those who may not understand?
Question 20 of 24
How did you go about suggesting changes in your most recent company?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Three monthly review.
2.
Communication with staff.
Question 21 of 24
What feedback did you receive from your most recent manager?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
I met ad exceeded my metrics the entire time I was employed.I was told that I am kind and respectful, good listener, and the desire to solve problems.
2.
Not much, positive or negative. It would have been nice to have a more in depth form of communication with my supervisor pertaining to my performance.
Question 22 of 24
What skills did you learn in your most recent position that will help you in this new role?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
To deal with employees requests for travel, accommodation, hire cars and goods.
2.
Speak with and help customers understand why their check transactions did not go through, deal with fraud cases and help clear them.
3.
To help customers know and understand why their personal or business checks declined. Offer additional services that could potentially help the in the future.
4.
I was one of three journeymen utilities plumbers assigned to the UEM shop.
Question 23 of 24
Why are you the best candidate for this position?
User-Submitted Answers
1.
Prioritising, dealing with e-mails, phone call and personnel requests from employees, working as a team, working well as an individual, get.
2.
How to learn and use changing computer softwarehow to talk to customershow to handle escalated situationshow to work as a teamhow to meet goals and set new ones.
3.
1: Knowledge of the various assets needing maintenance or repair 2: Understanding of how the assets operate 3: Knowledge of where to locate needed material that is not on hand 4: Became a certified backflow tester 5: Obtained training in various mechanical equipment such as forklift and the bobcat.
Question 24 of 24
Tell me the ways in which you brought value to your most recent position.
User-Submitted Answers
1.
I am a utilities plumber, which included the maintenance of utility assets, repair to damaged or malfunctioning assets, the reading of utility meters as well as other tasks needing completion in a timely manner.

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