Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist
3 flavors of transferable skills

Join Isaiah as he gives some examples of behavioral and competency based interview questions and helps you prepare to answer them

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah gives some examples of behavioral questions and discusses the best way to answer them
  • Next, Isaiah gives some examples of competency questions and discusses the best way to answer them
  • Finally, Isaiah discusses the last competency question you should explain at any interview round and how to answer it

From This Week’s Show… 

How To Prepare To Answer Behavioral Questions

Behavioral Questions are usually the toughest interview questions for PhDs to answer. Here, the interviewer is seeking to find out how you react to different kinds of situations, especially challenging situations.

Behavioral Questions are designed to induce stress and determine how you make decisions under pressure, as well as how you communicate.

Examples of Behavioral Questions include:

  • Can you tell me about a time when you had to deal with a stressful situation and how you coped with it?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you had to violate your own ethics to get your work done in a previous role?
  • How do you prioritize your work? Can you share an example of when you faced too many tasks and failed to prioritize them effectively?

How To Prepare To Answer Competency Questions

Competency Questions test whether you have the required skills and the desired skills to do the job. They are designed to test how you solve problems specifically within the context of the job you will be doing for the company.

Here, you are being tested on your problem-solving process and how well you communicate that process. Whether your answer is right or wrong is far less important than your process coming to that answer and whether you were able to communicate the process effectively in its entirety to your interviewers.

For example, you may be asked:

  • We have a client right now who is struggling to do XYZ. If you were given ABC and DEF, how would you help them solve their problem?
  • After an onboarding and training period, you may be asked to do XYZ. What are the first steps you would take to accomplish this task?
  • Your department has been working hard on a project in XYZ area, which is why we are hiring for this role. How would you help your new team complete the project?

The Last Competency Question You Should Always Prepare For

There is one final Competency Question that is always asked at the tail end of each interview: “Do you have any questions for us?”

You must be well prepared for this final question. This means having a list of ten questions to ask each interviewer and adding more questions as needed as the interview progresses.

Wrinkling your eyebrow and trying to sound intelligent and thoughtful while you pause strategically before saying, “No, I believe you answered all of them,” is not going to fool anyone.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

Book a Transition Call
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly