10 Examples of Competency-Based vs. Traditional Interview Questions

Candidates Hiring Managers Recruitment Agencies Video Interviewing
10 Examples of Competency-Based vs. Traditional Interview Questions

When preparing for an interview, candidates and hiring managers often encounter two distinct types of questions: competency-based and traditional interview questions. Understanding the difference between these two approaches is crucial for both parties to ensure an effective and insightful interview process.

Competency-based interview questions are designed to assess a candidate’s ability to handle specific situations based on their past experiences. These questions are structured to draw out examples of how the candidate has demonstrated particular skills or competencies that are essential for the role.

On the other hand, traditional interview questions, often referred to a traditional interview approach, tend to be more open-ended and general. These questions are designed to understand the candidate’s background, motivations, and overall fit for the company.

By using a combination of both types of questions, interviewers can gain a comprehensive view of a candidate’s qualifications and suitability for the role.

What are Competency-Based Interview Questions?

Competency-based interview questions focus on a candidate’s past behaviours and experiences to predict future performance in a given role. These questions are designed to uncover specific skills and competencies that are crucial for success in the job. By asking candidates to provide examples of how they have demonstrated certain skills, interviewers can assess their ability to perform similar tasks in the future. The candidate’s response will provide insight into their leadership skills, problem-solving abilities, and how they handle pressure.

Competency-based questions often follow the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result), which helps candidates structure their answers in a clear and concise manner. This technique not only aids the interviewee in presenting their experiences effectively but also helps the interviewer evaluate their responses more systematically.



Understanding Traditional Interview Questions

Traditional interview questions are more general and open-ended. They aim to get a sense of the candidate’s overall background, personality, and fit for the company culture. These questions often serve as ice-breakers and can help establish a rapport between the interviewer and the candidate.

While these questions are valuable for understanding a candidate’s motivations and general suitability, they may not provide specific insights into how a candidate will perform in the role. They rely more on the candidate’s ability to articulate their thoughts and experiences in a narrative form, which can sometimes lead to subjective interpretations.

Competency-Based vs Traditional Interview Questions

The primary difference between competency-based and traditional interview questions lies in their focus and structure. Competency-based questions are targeted and specific, aiming to uncover how a candidate has demonstrated particular skills in the past. They are structured and often require detailed responses that follow the STAR technique.

Traditional interview questions, in contrast, are broader and more open-ended. They seek to understand the candidate’s overall background, motivations, and personality traits. These questions can help build a holistic picture of the candidate but may not delve deeply into specific competencies or skills.

10 Examples of Competency-Based and Traditional Interview Questions

To help you understand these concepts better, here are ten examples of each type of question:

Competency-Based Interview Questions:

  1. “Describe a time when you had to solve a problem with limited information.”
  2. “Can you give an example of how you handled a difficult client?”
  3. “Tell me about a time you had to work under pressure and how you managed it.”
  4. “Describe a situation where you led a team to achieve a challenging goal.”
  5. “Can you give an example of a project you managed from start to finish?”
  6. “Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a significant change at work.”
  7. “Describe a situation where you used your creativity to solve a problem.”
  8. “Can you give an example of how you managed conflicting priorities?”
  9. “Tell me about a time when you had to persuade others to your point of view.”
  10. “Describe a situation where you went above and beyond to achieve a goal.”

Traditional Interview Questions:

  1. “Tell me about yourself.”
  2. “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
  3. “Why do you want to work for our company?”
  4. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
  5. “What motivates you to perform well at work?”
  6. “Can you describe your ideal work environment?”
  7. “Why did you leave your last job?”
  8. “What do you know about our company?”
  9. “How do you handle stress and pressure?”
  10. “What are your salary expectations?”


Shine Interview’s Video Interviewing Solution Enhances the Hiring Process

Incorporating both competency-based and traditional interview questions into the hiring process can be challenging, especially when trying to maintain consistency and efficiency. This is where Shine Interview’s innovative video interviewing solution comes into play.

Shine Interview offers both one-way and live video interviewing options, providing flexibility and efficiency for hiring managers. With one-way video interviews, candidates can record their responses to pre-set competency-based and traditional questions at their convenience. This allows hiring managers to review and evaluate responses at their own pace, ensuring a thorough assessment of each candidate.

Live video interviews, on the other hand, enable real-time interactions between interviewers and candidates, replicating the dynamics of in-person interviews. This hybrid approach ensures that hiring managers can comprehensively assess candidates’ skills, experiences, and cultural fit, leading to better hiring decisions.

By leveraging Shine’s video interviewing solution, companies can streamline their recruitment process, reduce time-to-hire, and ultimately, make more informed hiring decisions. Whether you’re looking to assess specific competencies or gain a broader understanding of a candidate’s background, Shine Interview provides the tools to get the right hire, faster.

Thought leadership in your inbox

Subscribe to receive the latest recruitment and talent acquisition insights via monthly email.
* = required field