Department Resources: Conducting a Successful Employee Selection Process -
Basic Competencies

Definition: A basic competency is a knowledge, skill, or behavior essential for one to function as and effective member of the University of Michigan. Select the competency for which you'd like to see related interview questions, or scroll down to see the complete set of interview questions for basic competencies.

B1. Ethics and Integrity: Consistently demonstrates the organization's values through behaviors.

B2. Customer Service:
Consistently meets the organization's expectations for customer service, striving constantly to achieve them.

B3. Communication:
Effectively communicates, both verbally and in writing.

B4. Problem Solving:
Develops effective approaches, addresses needs and solves problems.

B5. Flexibility:
Demonstrates flexibility in one's job roles and manages change in ways that result in productive performance.

B6. Technology:
Uses available equipment and technology safely, efficiently and effectively.

B7. Safety:
Complies with safety instructions, observes safe work practices, and provides input on safety issues.

B8. Self-Management:
Maximizes own time and talents to achieve organizational goals.

B9. Seizes Opportunities:
Seeks opportunities to innovate and continually improve.

B10. Change Resilience:
Develops effective approaches for managing self through organizational change.

B11. Teamwork:
Works effectively with team/work group or those outside the formal line of authority to accomplish organizational goals.

B12. Cost effectiveness:
Prudently uses resources based on organizational priorities.

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Interview Questions for Basic Competencies

Critical Behaviors Follow-up Questions for More Detail Observations
B1. Describe a situation where you had to say "no" to a customer, co-worker, or supervisor because you didn't think saying "yes" would be right.

Describe how you handled the situation.

How/Why did you think you were "right"?

Would you handle the situation differently?

Describes specific examples without assigning criticism or blame.

Describes specific actions and/or verbal responses that were provided to make the customer feel listened to and heard.

Articulates a positive outcome.

B1. Describe what you would do if a co-worker asked you to lie for them.

How would you handle the request?

What would you say and do?

Response describes personal responsibility.

Response is consistent with UM values.

B1. Describe what you would do if a parent, spouse or friend asked you to look up confidential patient information.

What would you do?

How would you respond to the request?

Describes personal responsibility in response.

Response is consistent with UM values.

B1. If one of your co-workers were also a patient here and you saw or overheard information about them in the course of doing your job, what would you do?

Would you share that information with other co-workers?

Describes personal responsibility in response.

Response is consistent with UM values.

B1. How would you handle it if you couldn't keep a commitment you had made?

Describe the nature of the commitment.

How did you handle the situation?

What was the outcome?

Describes a specific example and describes personal responsibility in response.

Response is consistent with UM policies.

B2. You have probably heard the phrase the "customer is always right." Can you describe a time when you felt that the customer wasn't?

Describe how you responded.

What was the outcome?

What could you have done differently to increase the positive nature of this encounter?

Describes positive outcome and/or additional measures that could have been taken to improve the situation.

B2. Describe a time when you provided excellent customer service by going beyond your primary job responsibilities.

Describe the situation.

Describe your involvement.

What was the outcome?

Response is beyond typical job responsibilities.

Response describes specific behaviors.

 
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Critical Behaviors Follow-up Questions for More Detail Observations

B2. Describe an encounter with an irate customer or co-worker.

Describe how you handled the situation.

Describe your involvement, what you did.

What was the outcome?

If the encounter was to reoccur would you handle it differently? If yes, how and why?

Describes specific examples without assigning blame.

Describes positive outcome to encounter and/or additional measures that could have been taken to improve the situation.

B2. How do you feel about working with people who are sick?

If a patient is disfigured, would you treat them differently?

HIV positive?

Expresses expectation that people who are sick may require exceptional service.

B3. Describe the most significant written document, report, or presentation which you completed.

What was significant about this document/report/presentation?

How were others involved in assisting you with this project?

Describes significant written accomplishment in relation to job.

Acknowledges the contribution of others.

B3. Give an example when you were able to communicate with another person even when that individual may not have liked you.

Describe how you handled the situation.

What was the outcome?

Please provide another example related to:

  • someone from a different culture
  • someone who could not hear you
  • someone with a different knowledge level

Describes specific examples.

Describes specific behaviors and verbal responses.

Describes a capacity to understand and respect differences.

B4. Give an example of a time in which you had to solve a problem.

What strategies did you use?

What decision did you make?

What was the outcome?

What would you do differently?

Used reliable source of information.

Used logic to make decision.

Presents options for improvement.


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Critical Behaviors Follow-up Questions for More Detail Observations

B4. Describe the most creative work related project which you have carried out.

How did you inform others about the project?

How was this project beneficial to the organization?

How was it creative or innovative?

Describes a specific project that required innovation.

Articulates positive outcome.

Articulates connection to purpose or goals of the (former) organization.

B4. Describe a time when you were the receiver of a complaint from another department about services provided by your department.

What action did you take?

What was the outcome?

What would you do differently?

Describes specific examples without criticism or blame.

Describes specific behaviors and verbal responses used.

Articulates positive outcome to encounter OR reflective self evaluation, i.e., "extra" support that could have been provided.

B5. Describe a time in which you felt it was necessary to modify or change your actions in order to respond to the needs of another person.

What was your role in the situation?

What action did you take?

How did the other person respond to your actions?

Describes the need that was being responded to.

Describes specific nature of modification/change.

Modification/change was logical response to described need.

B5. Describe a time when you came to work expecting to do a specific thing and you were asked to do something else.

How did you handle this change?

How would you handle this situation if it were to reoccur?

Demonstrates ability to respond to new direction without blame or bitterness.

B5. Describe a time when you were asked to work overtime at the last minute.

How did you respond to this request?

How would you handle this situation if it were to reoccur?

Either worked the overtime without bitterness OR offered alternative solutions to get the work done in a cooperative manner.

B6. If you are asked to operate a new piece of equipment, what would you want to know first?

What questions would you ask?

Who would you want to talk with?

Describes questions re: safety of self and others.

Describes consequences of knowing what can occur if not operated proficiently.

 
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Critical Behaviors Follow-up Questions for More Detail Observations

B7. Have you ever been in a work situation where someone was violent or potentially violent?

If yes, what did you do?

Would you handle it differently, if it were to reoccur?

Follows plan if there is one.

Quickly assesses own safety and safety of others.

If immediate danger, puts safety first.

Removes person from area where there are other customers, if appropriate.

If not immediate danger, asks appropriate questions to allow person to express frustration, then moves into problem-solving.

Calls supervisor, if needed.

B7. What would you do if you found a sharp (needle or syringe) or body fluid spill?

 

Response shows familiarity with universal practices for handling possible infectious events.

Response reflects sense of responsibility.

B8. It is your first day on your new job and your supervisor is pulled away for 3-4 hours on an emergency. You have been left alone to acquaint yourself with your new job and department.

What actions do you take?

Describes examples of how to use time productively:

  • demonstrates initiative
  • articulates skills that can be utilized immediately
  • demonstrates self-directive behaviors

B8. Describe a time when you had to do several things at once.

How did you respond?

How did you organize the situation?

How did you decide which task had the highest priority?

How do you handle having "too much to do"?

Describes specific behaviors for managing multiple tasks:

  • seeks information from supervisor regarding priorities
  • recognition of how work completion impacts others

Describes outcome in a positive manner.

Articulates values that guide work productivity: affects patient care.

 
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Critical Behaviors Follow-up Questions for More Detail Observations

B9. Describe times when you have received positive and negative feedback.

How did you respond?

How did you use the feedback that you received?

Accepts positive feedback positively.

Considers negative feedback and decides whether to change in response to it.

B9. What is your most recent accomplishment that you thought was innovative?

How was this rewarding?

How was this accomplishment beneficial to your workplace?

Articulates positive outcome.

Articulates connection to purpose or goals of the (former) organization.

B9. Describe a time when you suggested a different way to do a task.

Please describe the situation.

What was the usual way of doing this?

What did you question or what alternative did you suggest?

How was your question or suggestion received?

Would you do it again?

Describes specific situation.

Gives clear explanation.

If question or suggestion did not result in change, demonstrates willingness to question or offer other suggestions without bitterness.

B10. Describe a change in your work environment.

Please describe the situation.

Please describe your involvement. How did the change affect you?

How did you respond to the change?

What was the outcome?

If that were to reoccur, would you handle it differently?

If yes, what would you do differently?

Describes specific nature of change.

Recognition of the changing nature of the work setting.

Articulates specific impact of change on self without criticizing or blaming others.

Recognizes the role of anger, fear, and anxiety in change process.

Personal disclosure that the individual has had to adjust to circumstances and has done so without bitterness.

Communicates specific behaviors and/or strategies for managing change.

Describes outcome in a positive manner.

 
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Critical Behaviors Follow-up Questions for More Detail Observations

B11. Describe an effective or ineffective teamwork experience.

What made if effective or ineffective?

How did you contribute?

If that were to recur, would you handle it differently?

If yes, what would you do differently?

Describes situation clearly.

Owns own responsibility.

Offers win-win solutions.

B11. Describe a time when you have been part of a team in which differences of opinions developed about how the work was assigned or completed.

What was your role?

What actions did you take?

What was the outcome?

Describes situation clearly.

Owns own responsibility.

B12. Give an example where you saved money or made work easier or safer.

Was that something that happened once, or was that an ongoing opportunity for savings?

Were you the only person who was reducing costs or waste that particular way?

Did you share the idea?

Describes situation clearly.

Owns own responsibility.

Recognizes contributions of others (if there were others).

Shares cost-saving opportunities with co-workers or supervisor.

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