The most popular type of interview question is based on a competency. A competency is a skill or task which you are expected to demonstrate your capability. The most common phrase associated with the question is ‘give an example of when…’
To prepare your response consider the following thought process: STAR + R
S. The Situation you were in.
T. The Task you were asked to do / responsible for.
A. The Action you took.
R. The Result of your work
R. In Review, what did you learn.
Some example questions from our library
Can you tell me how you adapted with the change from School / college / university to full time employment?
Can you describe a work situation where your manager has required you to change immediately from one role to another? How did you react?
Can you give me an example where suggestions from your staff have caused you to change your mind?
What is the most significant problem you have had to confront in the last six months? How did you go about solving this problem?
What was the last problem to surprise you? Why was it a surprise? Could you have foreseen the problem by keeping in touch with relevant sources of information?
Describe a situation when you have been recruiting staff. What approach did you use for recruitment and selection?
Attention to Detail
How do you control for errors in the work you do? Provide me an example?
Can you give me an example of when things have gone wrong because you have missed the detail? What caused the error? What was the result?
Describe a key administrative process that you have had responsibility for. How did you operate this process (look for attention to detail, rather than details of the process it’s self)
What processes do you use for assessing the performance of your staff / projects / Work?
How do you ensure that the work in your department is proceeding according to plan?
Do you have staff meetings? What is the structure of these meetings? Is there a review mechanism? Are actions recorded and assigned?
Describe some of the more imaginative things that you have done in your current / last job?
Do people come to you with particular problems to solve? Give me some examples?
Is there anything in your department that colleagues would recognise as resulting from your innovation?
How have you taken the important decisions that have affected your career?
Give me an example of a decision when you have taken a long time to make up your mind? Why did you take a long time?
Describe a decision you have made without all the relevant information. Why did you make it? What was the result?
In your current job, what kind of decisions do you delegate to your staff? Why do you delegate these decisions? What have been the results of these delegations?
Can you describe a situation where you have delegated responsibility to a member of your staff and been disappointed by the outcome?
Describe a situation where you delegated responsibility and were particularly satisfied with the outcome? What did you do?
Development of subordinates
Think of people you have managed, who have become successful. What part did you play in their development?
Describe the ways in which you help your staff to improve their performance in their jobs?
How do you involve your staff in decisions you take?
Financial Analytical Ability
Have you ever prepared or contributed to the budget for your unit? What issues did you have to face in preparing the budget?
What kind of financial reports have you had to prepare in your previous jobs?
What are some of the more difficult problems of financial analysis you have had to cope with?