Competency based questions are frequently used within financial services, they show the hirer how you tackle various challenges at work and can help to gauge whether you will be an appropriate fit for the role and the team.

They are usually structured based on the job specifications and requirements and can be a random selection of open-ended questions. Making a note of skills and attitudes from the job spec, you can practice structured questions that are likely to be asked and prepare and learn these before your interview.

One of the most recommended means of answering these questions is to use the STAR method, which is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This technique is helpful in breaking down the question, creating a coherent response and ensuring your reply is brief, concise and relative.  

Using specific examples of previous situations will help you recall the information and highlight your capabilities to the hirer. (See our Infographic below)

SITUATION – What was the event that happened?

TASK – Explain your role in the situation, was there a problem or challenge that you needed to solve?

ACTION – Explain what action you used to overcome the situation or challenge?

RESULTS – What were the results? Use this factor to show your reflection and development and how your actions helped the company and those involved.

In the interview:

Think before answering the question, take your time to be concise and consider your answer. Calming your nerves and clearly understanding what is being asked of you should hopefully ease any jitters and avoid unnecessary rambling that misses the point.

We’ve listed below common behavioural interview questions relative to financial services;

  • Tell us about a time when you had to work as part of a team?
  • Tell us about a time you had to lead a team/take on a leadership role?
  • Tell us about a situation when you had to deal with an uncooperative member of a team?
  • Tell us about a time when you led a team efficiently?
  • Tell us about a time when you used logic to solve a problem?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to work under pressure and how you managed it?
  • Describe a time when you had to convince other staff and senior members of a new idea?
  • Describe a time that you’ve gone above and beyond your duty and how you did so?
  • Describe a time that you had to change your work schedule and how you effectively prioritised tasks?
  • How do you handle disagreements with colleagues?
  • Tell us about a time you’ve handled a difficult situation with a supervisor or senior staff?
  • Have you ever had to handle a difficult or challenging situation with a client or stakeholder?
  • Have you ever had a disagreement with your boss? How did you handle it?

Finally, be positive, let the answer flow and aim to avoid a mechanic reply, show you’re engaged and not reciting word for word and Good Luck!

If you do require extra information or help, contacting your recruitment consultant can be helpful in providing you with specific information!