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Competency-Based Interview Questions

A popular style of interview question is the competency-based interview question. This type of interview question will ask you to share how you have responded to situations in the past. The theory that past behaviour will dictate future behaviour seems to be an effective way to choose job applicants. A competency-based interview question will often ask you to explain a time when you have dealt with a certain situation. The interviewer will use your answer to determine if you have the right skills and mindset for the job. 

In this article, we will be looking at some popular competency-based interview questions, how to identify them and how to structure your answers. We’ve also included some sample questions at the end of this article which are specific to jobs in events. 

How do I identify a competency-based interview question?

You will recognise a competency-based interview question as it will be asking you to share information about a situation from your past work experience. It might start with “can you tell me about a time when…” or it might include the phrase “can you give me an example of a situation when…”.

Some interviewers will guide you through the structure by asking follow up questions, others will expect you to structure the answer on your own. This is why it is so important that you prepare for all types of job interview questions to avoid being caught off-guard.

How can I prepare for this type of interview?

The competency-based interview question requires you to have thought of a few examples that you can speak about with confidence. This can be very daunting as you will already have so much to think about in your interview. You won’t know the exact questions you are going to be asked, but you can make an educated guess.

The best way to prepare for this type of interview question is to make a list of the skills and experience required for the job. Start by reading the job description and make a list of the skills they are asking for. Some will be more general “soft skills” but some will be more specific to event management.

Next, think about one or two examples for each item on your list which you can talk about confidently. They don’t always have to be situations with a positive outcome. In some cases, things go wrong that are out of your control. If you are able to show what you learned from the experience, this can help to paint you in a positive light.

What is the best way to answer this type of interview question?

As we mentioned above, the interviewer might guide your answer by asking follow up questions. However, you should be prepared to give a concise and complete answer without any guidance. 

The best way to answer competency-based interview questions is with the STAR method. This stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. In addition to this, you should observe the following advice.

Stick to one example: It can be tempting to demonstrate your experience by sharing a few different examples, but this can make your answer fragmented and difficult to follow. Focus on one strong example, and then ask the interviewer if they would like you to elaborate or share further examples.

Be concise: The interviewer needs to know details, but don’t go overboard. Make sure you have a specific situation in mind before you start your answer. This will prevent you from meandering through your answer in an unfocused way.

questions for events roles

A few examples of competency interview questions for events roles


Tell us about a situation where your organisational skills were tested.

Can you describe a typical day in your current role?


Have you ever been in a situation where you had to change your plans at an inconvenient time? How did you cope?


Describe a situation where you had to take an unconventional approach to your job.


Can you tell me about a time when you had to make an unpopular decision? How did you manage this with your team?

Describe a situation where you have taken control of a situation to ensure the success of an event.


Tell me how you motivate a team of volunteers?

How have you handled conflict between co-workers in the past?


In what situation would you go above and beyond the call of duty?

Can you tell me about a time you have received negative feedback from a client? What did you do to remedy the situation?


What do you bring to a team?

Can you describe a time when you had to assemble a team? How did you go about doing this?


Can you tell me about a time when you had to convince a client to try something new?

We know that interviews can be difficult. That’s why we help each and every one of our candidates to prepare to give them the best chance of success. If you’re ready to kick start your career in events, get in touch with the specialist event recruitment team at Live Recruitment. We’re currently looking for candidates in the Manchester and Leeds area, in addition to nationwide roles.  

Never point the finger: When you are describing a situation that went poorly, it can be tempting to call out your old boss or colleagues. This will not make you look good in the eyes of the interviewer. And besides, the interview is about you and your experience, so make sure you remain the focus of attention.