Example behavioural competency interview question


Results orientation (Level 2) from the Management services competency profile.

If you refer to Management Services competency profile you will see that Results orientation is "Focusing efforts on achieving quality results consistent with the NRC vision" while level 2 is "Seeks to improve personal performance". Make note of the bullets under level 2 as they provide an indication of the types of behaviour the interview board is looking for within your example.

Note: For a complete understanding of the competency you may also want to review the information about level 1 and level 3.

Example question

Tell us about an important problem you have encountered recently and how you handled it?

There are two key elements here: “the problem” and the fact that it is “important." Make sure your example responds to both because the interview board is evaluating both aspects.

Example answer:

  1. Situation

    Establish the context of your example (when did this occur, what role did you play, who else was involved, etc.)


    I was the project administrator for a very important project two years ago while I was at Company X. I led a team of 3 people and our task was to develop an orientation program for new employees. The company was growing by leaps and bounds and numerous new employees were joining us every week, yet they knew very little about the place.

  2. Tasks

    Describe your tasks. What were the roles of others?


    • I was selected as project administrator because I had experience in working in a lot of areas within the company
    • We had 1 month to complete the project
    • I developed a project charter and assigned roles to each of the team members (for example, X was in charge of the technology)

  3. Actions

    Describe your example in a logical sequence of events. Make sure to clearly spell out your actions and your thought process throughout.


    I ran into a difficulty early on because the budget allocated to the project was cut by 50%. This meant that it would be almost impossible to create an on-line orientation package. We had a large number of regional offices so the on-line aspect was critical. But now we had to figure out how to create a quality program but in the traditional format. I came up with the idea of holding an emergency “think-fest” and involve both new and long term employees – we batted around a number of ideas but with no success. I consulted colleagues from other departments and had quite a few lunches with some key contacts to try and come up with a solution. As I was walking home one night, I saw a billboard and the solution came to me – we would create an orientation handbook and create accompanying billboards which could be housed in each of the local offices – they could be rotated so that employees could benefit from seeing different things at different times.

  4. Results

    Describe the end result.


    The program was created by the deadline. It was launched by senior management and I received a lot of positive feedback about the work the team and I had done. New hires have commented on the usefulness of the handbook and the effectiveness of the billboards.

Date modified: