Jobs & Careers

How to Answer Interview Questions

Lots of interviews and applications are Competency based. This is where they compare the skills your answers demonstrate against the vacancy’s specification. Use the CAR Method to answer competency-based questions in interviews and applications.

The CAR Method

Use one detailed example from your work and voluntary experience to answer each interview question.

1- Explain the context of your example. What was the aim of your task?
2 – What did you do? What skills did your actions demonstrate? Match these skills to the ones required for the vacancy you are applying for.
3 – What was the outcome? How were your actions successful?

When preparing for interviews it is useful to brainstorm your answers with the CAR Method.

– Identify your key transferable skills and qualities from your previous work experience.
– Transferable skills can include Communication, Interpersonal, Organisation, Teamwork, Problem Solving, and Leadership skills.
– Write down your key skills and think about a time when you demonstrated this skill in your work experience. Then apply the CAR Method to this example.


Examples of Competency Based Interview Questions

Planning and Organisation
– Describe a time when you were given a task to complete. How did you organise your work and manage competing priorities?
– When have you had to multi-task to ensure your work was complete on time?

– When have you used effective communication skills to resolve a problem?
– Provide an example of when you needed to communicate effectively to influence the outcome of a situation?

Problem Solving
– When have you innovated a creative solution to resolve an unexpected problem?
– Describe a time when you faced a problem at work, how did you deal with it and what was the outcome? Why does this experience make you a stronger applicant?
– Tell us about a time you overcame a challenging situation?

– When have you utilised your leadership skills and thought outside the box to set the direction of your team?
– How have you managed a team successfully?
– When have you led a team successful and how did you respond to the challenges?
– When have you influenced a group of people outside of your own peer group?

– Describe a time when you have ensured that all team members contributed? How does this experience make you a better applicant?
– When have you been part of a new team and had to encourage the group to work towards a shared goal?