Preparing for your future, Recruiters, What's On

Tips for Competency and Strengths based Interviews

Amelia Dyer, Student Intern tells us more about EY’s talk on ‘Practice for Competency and Strengths Based Interviews’ …

This was the last session of the Internship Bootcamp for this year and the attendance was excellent! It has been great seeing how many people care about improving their chances of obtaining internships and graduate roles!


This session by EY focused on Assessment Centers and the interviews you may have within the application process. Laura and Natasha, both EY representatives, focused upon the differences between strength based interviews and competency based interviews in a very interactive session.


For each style of interview we were paired up and given 5/10 minutes to quickly answer one question from a list provided on the board. Our answer should follow the STAR technique, which encourages you to provide a






For the strengths-based interview the employer is looking at how you respond to certain situations and where you believe you individual strengths lie. Below are the practice questions we were presented with. Why not try answering these on the spot with a friend and then reflecting on how well you think you both did! There is no better preparation than practice for these sorts of questions!!


  1. Can you tell me about some everyday things you enjoy doing?
  2. Do you like to be stretched beyond your comfort zone?
  3. Do obstacles distract you when working towards a goal?
  4. Would you describe yourself as a detailed person or a big picture person?
  5. How do you judge whether you have had a good day or not?
  6. How do you feel when you are presented with a problem?
  7. Does it affect you when you see other people experiencing something positive?


For the competency based interviews you are trying to convince the employer to hire you. They usually take place at the end of the application process and therefore you have already excelled enough for them to take an interest in you! Make sure you use previous example from both outside the application process, as well as other situations you may have been in before. This is also your final opportunity to find out more about the company, so don’t be scared to ask questions back! Again, why not try and practice the questions below to prepare yourself for future interviews!


  1. Tell me about a time you led a team – how did you do it?
  2. What has been you biggest challenge to date and why?
  3. Tell me about your last piece of work experience – what did you learn?
  4. Tell me about a time when you had to interact with people who were different to yourself.
  5. Tell me about a difficult situation you had overcome.
  6. Explain a situation where you had to be organized – what did you do?
  7. Tell me about a difficult problem you had to solve – how did you do it?
  8. What are you biggest weaknesses?


I hope with these practice questions you can improve your chances when next in an interview!


Make sure you keep an eye out for any other sessions held by Careers and Employability – they are invaluable and will really help boost your confidence when it comes to applying for jobs!!


Find out more about Careers & Employability and employer events on Twitter and Facebook or call into The Student Support Centre, 50 Park Place, Student High Street.


Best wishes
Amelia Dyer
Marketing and Events Insight Student, Careers & Employability




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