Here at Consumer Protection BC, we use competency-based questions in our interviews with job candidates. 

What is a competency-based question?

They are interview questions that require you to give real-life examples as the basis for your answers.

For example, let’s say that project management is a competency for a specific position. An interview question may be: “In this job, you will be required to work on several initiatives at the same time, as well as dealing with daily situations as they occur. Using a business example, please tell us about a time when your schedule or project plan was upset by unforeseen circumstances. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?”

What are we looking for with our competency-based interview questions?

We want you to explain why you made certain decisions, exactly what you did, how you implemented these decisions, and tell us specifically about the outcomes. We may also want to know what you learned from your experience, particularly how you might have done things differently, so be prepared to reflect on your performance.

How to structure your answers:

A good way to structure your answer is to use the STAR model:

  • S: give a brief summary or overview of the situation 
  • T: explain the task or activity
  • A: share who was involved and outline the action you took (a common mistake is to talk about the team but we want to hear what you did so focus on your actions specifically)
  • R: summarize the result

How to prepare for a competency-based interview:

Preparing is straight-forward:

  • look at the job description and pull out the competencies 
  • go through your resume and think back on your work experience and pull out an example that fits that competency
  • for each example, write a bullet point for each of the STAR elements mentioned above
  • practice your answers with a friend who will give you honest feedback

We let you bring notes into our job interviews so if you think you will need some extra help to remember the details, jot those down. Try not to rely too heavily on your notes though. We want to get a sense of your personality too.

We hope this has been helpful!

Want more tips?

Read through all of our posts in our HR & culture blog, The Right Fit, We have lots more information to help you understand and be successful in our recruitment process and in our job interviews, including:

Think you might want to join our team?

Visit the careers page of our website. Any new job postings can be found on the Join our talented team menu of our careers page. To learn more about the work we do as a provincial regulator, visit the About us section of You can also follow us on LinkedIn for content about our job postings, our people, and our resources.