Competency based interviews are being used more and more in fashion recruitment for a range of roles. If you’re not quite sure what they are, they’re the questions where you are asked to describe specific examples of times when they have demonstrated particular skills or attitudes. Normally, these questions will require you to describe a particular situation or problem that you were faced with, the actions that you took as well as explaining what the outcome was. The popularity of these questions amongst employers is that they enable them to quickly evaluate a candidate’s mindset and gauge how they may handle certain situations that may occur if they were to be offered the job.


Examples of competency based interview questions include:


  • Give an example of a time you handled conflict in the workplace (competency: conflict management/resolution)
  • Tell me about a time your communication skills improved a situation (competency: communication)
  • Describe a time when you have used your own initiative in the workplace (competency: creative thinking)
  • Give an example of change in the workplace and how you handled this (competency: flexibility/ability to handle change)
  • Give an example of a time you identified a new approach to a workplace problem (competency: creative thinking)
  • Describe a time you have had to work to an extremely tight deadline (competency: time management)


These are some of the most common types of competency based interview questions that you’ll come across in interviews in the fashion industry, but the fact is that they could ask you about any sort of skill, ability or quality. Therefore, it’s not possible to prepare answers for all of these. The good news however is that there is a fantastic method of answering these questions that will enable you to deal with these questions calmly, logically and professionally.


The STAR technique

The STAR technique is the perfect way to answer any competency based interview question. Whichever area of the fashion industry you are interviewing for, it’s a technique that you should learn. The format is simple:


Situation: Describe the situation and the background to your answer. It’s essential that the interviewer fully understands the context of your story.


Task: This is where you explain what was required of you. What was the task or problem to be overcome? Why did they ask you? Why was the task important?


Activity: Explain the action that you took and just as importantly, why. What did you do? Why did you do it? Remember to highlight the skills and personal attributes you used.


Result: Explain how the whole situation turned out, and how your personal actions helped to overcome the problem or achieve the particular objective. Make the interviewer understand how you achieved the specific outcome by taking specific actions and utilising specific skills and qualities. Remember to discuss what you learnt from the task and anything that you might have done differently.


Even if you come up against a really difficult competency based interview question, use the STAR technique and you’ll be able to answer it easily and effectively, giving you the best chance of securing the role in question.

We’re able to give interview advice to all of our candidates. If you’re looking for your next fashion role, why not get in touch today by calling us on Tel: 0203 761 6361 or by emailing