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Many questions can be anticipated in advance and it is wise to have some well-constructed answers that you can tailor more closely on the day. It is advisable to at least have a number of key phrases available to use.

Some interviewers use very broad questioning techniques such as “Tell me about yourself?” This can present the most difficult challenge of the interview. You need to perceive whether the interviewer wants an exhaustive resume of your career to date or just a brief overview. You may need to confirm which it is with a question back before you make an assumption. If you feel you need to go into more depth, don’t hesitate to stop and ask if the interviewer would like you to expand on the point.
When being asked questions, the candidate is tasked with two things – giving a strong example of demonstrable behaviour but also, a structured response that clearly shows an individual’s approach to a situation and how they have modified their behaviour as a result of what they have learned.


When presented with a competency-based question, we suggest the answer you provide should always be delivered in the following format:

  • Situation (or task)
  • Options
  • Action
  • Result (or response)
  • Learning



1. Situation

  • Describe the situation (or task) confronted with or that needed to be accomplished.
  • Set context, it needs to be concise and informative – concentrate only on what is relevant to the ‘story’.


2. Options

  • Able to demonstrate a clearer understanding of a situation by describing the range of options available to them. 
  • Shows a thinking process that is logical, creative and intelligent.


3. Action

  • Able to explain the chosen course of action of what, how and why you did that. 
  • Explains their own actions, what was their own personal contribution. 
  • Gives detail and sensible/rational reasons behind their actions. 
  • Can demonstrate that they are calculating their actions and the potential results in order to remain in control of the situation.


4. Result

  • Explains what happened eventually and how it all ended. 
  • What was accomplished is described here – can the candidate demonstrate that they saw it through ‘to the end’?


5. Learning

  • Perhaps the most crucial part of the answer – what did they learn during this event? 
  • What will they use/do differently as a result of their experience (for the better) in future? 
  • Can they evidence their behaviour has changed at all?