Mock Interview Competency Based Questions

Problem Solving / Analysis

  • CAR - Have you ever solved a problem when others around you could not?  Tell me about it.
  • CAR - What was one of the toughest problems you have ever solved?  What process did you go through to solve it?
  • Do people ever come to you for help in solving problems?   Describe what kinds of problems and why? 
  • How do you begin to solve a problem that initially seems insurmountable?
  • CAR - What do you do when you are faced with an obstacle to an important project?  Give me an example.
  • How do you analyze different options to determine which is the best alternative?
  • CAR - Describe a time when you were working to accomplish an important goal but had limited resource available to you.  How were you able to leverage the available resource and still complete a quality project?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time when you were accountable for the results of a project.  How did you ensure the results were achieved?
  • What do you love to do?

Communication Skills

  • CAR - Give an example of how you carefully consider your audience prior to communicating with them?  What factors influence your communication?
  • When do you think it is best to communicate in writing? And when do you think it should be handled face-to-face?
  • CAR - Describe a time you used your communication skills to negotiate with an angry person.
  • CAR - Tell me about a time when effective listening skills helped you in a problematic situation.
  • What do you do when you think someone is not listening to you?
  • Have you ever given a presentation to a group?  How did you prepare for it?  What would you do differently?
  • CAR - Describe a time when you were able to overcome a communication barrier(s).
  • CAR - Tell me about a time when you had to reply on written communication to get your ideas across to your team.
  • CAR - Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.

Teamwork Questions

  • CAR - Please tell us about a time when you helped a friend or stranger in need.
  • CAR - Give a specific example of how you have worked in a collaborative team/environment and how your talent uniquely affected the outcome in a positive way.
  • CAR - Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
  • CAR - When groups work together, conflict often erupts.  Tell me about a time that conflict occurred in one of your work groups. What you did about it?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who was not very responsive.  What did you do?
  • Tell me what role you play within work groups and why.
  • How would people you work with describe you?
  • CAR - Tell me about the most effective contribution you have made as part of a task group or special project team.
  • CAR - Tell me about a time you pitched in to help someone finish a project even though it “wasn’t your job.”  What was the result?
  • CAR - Have you ever been in a position where you had to lead a group of peers?  How did you handle it?  Tell me about problems you had and how you handled them.
  • What is essential for a team to be successful?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time you worked in a cross functional team? Were there different challenges compared to a departmental task team?
  • Have you ever worked in a virtual team? 
  • CAR - If so, tell me about this experience. What were the team dynamics? Was the team successful? What would you do differently? What systems did you use?
  • If not, what do you perceive to be the advantages and disadvantages of this type of team? How would you suggest creating team cohesiveness in a virtual setting?
  • Tell me about a situation where political power plays affected team dynamics. How did you and/or the team overcome or avoided this situation?

Time Management Skills

  • CAR - Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities.
  • CAR - Describe a long-term project that you managed.  How did you keep everything moving along in a timely manner?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself.  How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  • Give me an example of a time you managed numerous responsibilities.  How did you handle that?
  • What is important to you?

Learning Questions

  • What do you know about us (company)?
  • CAR - Describe a time when you took a new job that required a much different set of skills.
  • Have you had an occasion when a prior strength actually turned out to be a weakness in another setting?  How did you cope?
  • Please tell us how you stay current with the news of the world. (Please list your daily sources of stimulation, news, entertainment and the stuff that satisfies your curiosity - the serious and not so serious.  Remember, be authentic.)
  • Please tell us about a recent book or article that you read that proves to us that you love this type of work.
  • What are your “go-to” professional reading sources?
  • What sorts of things have you done to become better qualified for your career?
  • Careers grow and develop just like people do.  Where do you see your career now? Why?  What are you doing to sustain it?
  • What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned in the past year?  Why?
  • Do you feel you are knowledgeable about current industry related legislation or trends? Why or why not?  What sources do you use for this information?
  • What was the last work-related educational seminar or class you attended? Why did you attend this course? How have you transferred the knowledge gained in the course to your work?
  • Through your career have you learned more about your profession through coursework or through on the job experience? Explain. What is more important to your profession, experience or continued education?
  • What area of your last job was most challenging for you? Why was this specific part of the position difficult? Is this still challenging? Why or why not? 
  • Tell me about the one person who has influenced you the most within your career? Were they a manager, mentor or professor? What did you learn from them? Why do you think you learned so much from them?

Ability to Adapt Questions

  • CAR - Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure.  What was going on, and how did you get through it?
  • CAR - Tell me about the first job you have ever had.  What did you do to learn your job functions?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time when you recognized that a change in direction or strategy would greatly benefit a plan or project.  How did you determine that change was needed?
  • CAR - Give an example of when you had to make a last-minute change to a plan or project.  How did you make the change, and what was the outcome?

Motivation and Values Questions

  • What should we know about your inner drive that will make a difference in this selection process? - Help us understand why we should pick you.
  • CAR - Tell me about your proudest accomplishment/moment.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked under close supervision or extremely loose supervision.  How did you handle that?
  • Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
  • CAR - Tell me about the biggest mistake you have made in your life and what you learned from the experience.

Diversity Questions

  • What do you see as the most challenging aspect of a diverse working environment? What steps have you taken to meet this challenge?
  • Provide the mission statement with value on diversity. How has your experience and background prepared you to be effective in this environment with a given diversity value/initiative?
  • What do you see as the most challenging aspect of a diverse working environment? What steps have you taken to meet this challenge
  • What kinds of experiences have you had working with others with different backgrounds than your own? 
  • CAR - Tell me about a time you had to alter your work style to meet a diversity need or challenge?
  • How have you handled a situation when a colleague was not accepting of others’ diversity?
  • What does it mean to have a commitment to diversity? And how would you develop and apply your commitment at this company?
  • What was/is the diversity value at your current/former employer? What impact did you make on this value?
  • What efforts have you made, or been involved with, to foster diversity competence and understanding? 
  • What have you done to further your knowledge about diversity? Have you included diversity in your professional development? How have you demonstrated what you have learned?
  • What kind of leadership efforts would you make to ensure a commitment to the diversity initiative or value?
  • What strategies have you used to address diversity challenges? What were the positives and negatives?
  • CAR - Give an example of when you reached out and consulted with others from different backgrounds, perspectives, or experience on a project.  What led you to seek out the people you did?
  • CAR - Tell me about a time when you were able to develop and maintain productive relations with others even though they may have had differing points of view.

Interpersonal Skills

  • If I were to call your last employer, what would they say they did not like about you, and what would they say they loved about you as an employee?
  • Describe how you like to be managed, and the best relationship you’ve had with a previous boss.
  • If I asked your previous/current co-workers about you what would they say?  
  • Describe what you see as your strengths related to this job/position. Describe what you see as your weaknesses related to this job/position. 
  • Explain the phrase “work ethic”.  And tell me about yours.
  • What kind of people do you find the most difficult to work with? For example, assume you are in a situation where you have to deal with a person very different from yourself and you are finding it difficult. What would you do? 
  • What methods do you use to make decisions? When do you find it most difficult to make a decision?
  • CAR - Describe a difficult time you have had dealing with an employee, customer, or co-worker. Why was it difficult? How did you handle it? What was the outcome? 
  • How would your co-workers describe your work style/habits? 
  • What do you do when others resist or reject your ideas or actions? 
  • What do you think are the best and worst parts of working in a team environment? How do you handle it?
  • Under what kinds of conditions do you learn best?
  • How would your past employers describe your response to hectic or stressful situations?
  • How would your co-workers describe your work style or work habits?
  • If I asked several of your co-workers about your greatest strength as a team member, what would they tell me?
  • To you, which is more desirable: A business that is run in an efficient business-like manner OR a business that is run in a personal and friendly way?
  • Please share with me two positive traits that you do not currently have that you wish you had.