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A competency based job application form does not focus solely on academic or skill qualifications. Instead what it does is to place emphasis on past experiences by posing questions that require the applicant to demonstrate how they have previously dealt with given situations or how they would deal with a given situation.

This is definitely an occasion when you should make sure that you use “I” freely.  Competency based job application forms are designed to find out what you can do and how you would deal with – not the actions of others around you.

How to complete a competency based job application form

When completing application forms, you should always think very carefully before you decide which examples you use! Even more so when it is a competency based application form.  Find a sample of a job application and see what looks good and what doesn’t.  Make sure you choose an incident that will demonstrate that you acted appropriately and you were responsible for a positive outcome.


Sample competency based application questions and answers

On a competency based job application form you might be asked questions such as:

As our business is affected by seasonal trends, we put great emphasis on teamwork. Please describe a situation in which you were part of a team.

Being a forward thinking company we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of innovation and development. Can you give an example of a time when you had to manage change?

The position you are applying for requires a great deal of tact as you are required to collect Parking fines. When was the last time you were in a confrontational situation and what was the outcome?

The answers/examples that you use for these competency based questions do not have to be work based. You could frame your answer around your hobby, a leisure activity or a community duty you regularly perform. Whatever example you decide upon the important thing is to address these three points for each example situation:

1. Describe the situation.
2. Explain clearly what you did.
3. Show that the outcome was positive.

Here are some sample answers to competency based questions you could use to tackle the three examples we gave you.

Teamwork; any job or leisure activity in which more than one person takes part, involves teamwork. This should give you a wide range of things from which to choose.

Managing Change could be about; getting married, moving house or perhaps looking after an infirmed relative. Or how about the way you reorganised your life after leaving a job?

Confrontation; make sure you use an example that leaves no doubt you were not the instigator, that you diffused the situation and got the other person to see your way.

Use your competency based job application form for interview practice

As a competency based job application form is in essence a paper interview so a good idea is to prepare as you would for a competency based interview.  Look at our interview skills and techniques section and get some practical help before completing your form.

Team building or teamwork is an important issue for any business, gaining a good knowledge of the subject will help you provide great examples you can use on a competency based job application form.

We welcome any articles that will help others with their job search. Why not submit your article for inclusion on The Personal Development Cafe. Once your article has been reviewed, we will post it giving full author credits.

Do you have any comments or helpful job application form tips you would like to share or application form questions that you would like answered?  Then use the comments form below.

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