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Competency Interviews

The majority of interviews are competency based. This means that they wish to test whether you can demonstrate certain competencies that the firm values. The most common competencies are

  1. Team Work/collaboration
  2. Communication/interpersonal skills
  3. Drive/enthusiasm/achievement of goals
  4. Leadership
  5. Initiative
  6. Problem solving/analytical
  7. Creativity/innovation
  8. Adaptability/flexibility
  9. Organisation/planning
  10. Commercial Awareness

Watch this short video for top tips on how to succeed in an interview

It’s important to prepare and practice answers to each of these questions

Most interviews (or questions on an application form) will ask you to describe a time when you demonstrated a particular competency. However they will not always be so obvious. Here are some examples:

  • Can you give me an example of when you’ve had to change someone’s opinion on an issue?

Underlying meaning = persuasive communication

In your answer you could give an example of a time when you demonstrated the ability to influence and persuade. You could also mention things like effective communication, the ability to adapt your communication style to your audience for best effect, or being considerate of other viewpoints yet confident in your own.

  • Can you give me an example of when you persisted with something even though you were beginning to lose hope of success?
  • What do you think will be the most important issue/s facing this sector in the next five years?
  • Tell me about a time when you completed a task without all the resources that you would have ideally needed.
  • Can you give me an example of a situation in which you have had to analyse complex information in order to make a decision? How did you approach it?
  • How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time? Give some examples.


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