How should I answer competency-based questions on topics such as team work?

Most firms have a number of core competencies that they are looking for on application forms and during interviews. All firms have different competencies but most will be seeking evidence that you have an aptitude for team-working, commercial awareness, analytical skills and decision-making. The open questions at most interviews have been designed to probe specific competencies and you should think carefully in order to understand what competency you are being asked to demonstrate. When answering a question, a simple tip is to limit what you have done to 25 per cent of the response and devote the rest of your answer to how you have dealt with a specific situation. For example, with a team-working question we really want to hear about how you worked. Did you delegate, did you understand other peoples roles within the team, did you give and receive feedback, did you have common goals. A common mistake is for applicants to talk far too much about what they did without giving a description of how they used specific skills.