Top investment banks frequently rely on this style of questioning to assess an applicant’s suitability. Despite candidates having the relevant experience and skillset, people struggle to give succinct answers. Being aware of the purpose and direction of these questions can be advantageous to your success in the hiring process.


Competency questions are typically broad and open, for instance ‘How do you manage to prioritise your workload?’ Your cue to provide them with a specific, strong example of when you completed an assignment successfully – researching the company beforehand and linking their requirements to your previous experience will really help you tailor your answer. It’s likely they will probe to gain a greater understanding of the task, how you organised your approach, the time scale you were working to and how you planned for an accomplished completion of the project. The line of questioning usually narrows to assess the progression of the task, difficulties that arose and what the outcome was. It’s a brilliant opportunity to shape your first impression.

Competency based questioning needn’t be anxiety provoking. It’s important to remember that prospective employers are looking for candidates that bring resourcefulness and vibrancy to their teams – differentiate yourself with practical examples that correspond with the job specification to demonstrate your full capability. Exploring your key competencies ultimately will highlight where you can add value for a prospective employer.


Aldrich and Co’s top tips

  • Be succinct, resist rambling
  • Keep it positive, with emphasis on providing solutions
  • Research the company thoroughly, link their requirements to your relevant experience
  • Be confident, enthusiastic
  • Keep an open mind

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