You may find that the application form contains competency based questions. To answer these successfully you’ll need to identify the specific competency/competencies sought. Where this/these may not be obvious, you may find it helpful to refer back to the person specification and job description. Your next step is to pick a strong example from previous or current experience that will help you evidence not only the skill, but the level of your competence in using it. Read the question carefully, if you are being asked for ‘an example of a time when you …’ use one example only.
To help you with structuring your answer and writing succinctly, try using the STAR technique:
S – briefly describe the Situation
T – briefly describe the Task (often you can combine the S&T)
A – clearly explain the Action you took. This is the section in which you provide the detail of what YOU did. Here you must talk about ‘I’. The recruiter needs to know what you did to be able to identify your skills and personal attributes. This is the part of your answer you spend the most time on.
R – explain the Result/s of your action/s. Most people forget to include the outcome of their actions. Don’t skim over this!
Sometimes it may be appropriate to add a second ‘R’ = Review to explain what you’ve learnt or done differently since this experience to showcase your development.
Often competency questions are word limited – remain within the word count!