Competency Based Questions

Information on completing the Competency Based Questions

For Question Areas 1-4, you are given a description of a skill or quality. You are then asked to describe a situation, from your own experience, which you think is the best example of what YOU have done which demonstrates this skill or quality. It is essential that you describe how you demonstrated the skill or quality in question.

The information you present here may form part of a shortlisting process, where necessary, and may also be used to help structure your interview, if you are invited to one. Therefore, compose your replies carefully and try to structure what you write so that you give specific information about what you have done - for example, do not simply say that “X was successful”, describe exactly what you did and how you demonstrated the skill or quality in question.

You are required to complete each example in no less than 300 words. One of the key skills required of the Student PHN/PHN is the ability to write clearly and concisely and your written communication skills will be assessed against what you write on your application form.

For each of the examples please include the following:

(a) the nature of the task, problem or objective;
(b) what you actually did and how you demonstrated the skill or quality (and, where appropriate, the date you demonstrated it);
(c) the outcome or result of the situation and your estimate of the proportion of credit you can claim for the outcome.

Please do not use the same example to illustrate your answer to more than two skill areas.

Please note that, should you be called to interview, the board may look for additional examples of where you demonstrated the skills required for this post so you should think of a number of examples of where you demonstrated each of the skills.



The Supplementary Questions is designed to help you to present relevant evidence in order that decision makers can evaluate how well you ‘fit’ the requirements of a particular role. Relevant evidence is usually drawn from your work experience and the way in which you have accomplished a range of activities. Those involved in screening the applications will be evaluating the information you give against specific skills required for effective performance in the role. To do this they need you to give enough detail so that they can tell what you actually did and how you did it.

The people doing the screening will not assume that you demonstrate a skill at the right level just because of your current role, length of experience or educational qualifications. These do not give enough evidence about how you accomplished relevant tasks.

So, if a question is about your approach to decision making, you need to do more than describe your current role and list important decisions you have made. You will need to describe how you reached relevant decisions.

Some guidelines for presenting yourself well are given below:-

Skill Area: Communication Skills: able to adapt your communication style to particular situations and audiences….. able to produce clear and concise written information….

Example 1: I was responsible for producing important management reports and supporting presentations for a range of important and high profile clients. Through my understanding of the clients’ needs and my effective communication skills, I have ensured that the reports that go to the clients are relevant and focused, and are continually improved. The reports I have produced and the presentations I have made were well received by all my clients. As a result of the combination of my analytical thinking and interpersonal and communication skills, my brief has been extended to lead the development of the strategic plan for the organisation.
Example 2:
The unit I was attached to was responsible for producing a management report and supporting oral presentation for several large clients, some with significant problems and issues to report. In some cases the management report was publicly available and was subject to a great deal of scrutiny. A new style/format of management letter needed to be developed for my clients, as many of the clients were complaining that the letters were too large/long and difficult to read.
(b)I was tasked with developing a new style of management letter for the clients. I had to meet stringent quality requirements/criteria whilst addressing the need to reduce its size. Following consultation, mainly over the phone and face-to-face, with the majority of our clients, I realised that a summarised report format with a better visual and more interactive presentation was the answer. I developed a format for a summarised report, reducing the average length from 40 pages to just 10. I achieved this through careful editing of information and increased use of graphs etc. I then developed a more focused presentation to clients and included more graphical displays and incorporated short presentations by colleagues directly involved in producing the work. During the presentations I encouraged clients to ask questions and develop their understanding of the issues at hand.
(c )The summarised management report and improved presentations were seen as a success by the clients, who with exception, in responding to an evaluation survey, found the new format/style better than the previous, and all requested that the revised system should be continued. 80% credit

Example 1 (above):
This is not a good example because it:

Example 2 (above):
This is a better example because it:

Please note that all 3 areas must be completed at the time of application.

In the spaces provided on the application form, briefly describe what you consider to be a good example of demonstrating your ability in each of the skill/ quality areas. A summary definition of the skill area is provided for your information. This is a summary of what we mean by each skill heading. Please provide the information in the format requested at (a), (b), and (c) on the “Information on completing the Competency Based Questions” Section. Remember anything you say will be evaluated for the purposes of shortlisting or may discussed in more depth at interview if you are called to one.