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Competency-based test - PROJECTS/ PROGRAMMES

1. When managing a project, which of the following factors are the principal constraints that should be
taken into account during implementation?
a) Duration, cost and competence of staf
b) Hierarchy of objectives and competence of staf
c) Cost, objectives and duration
d) All the above factors

2. You receive a letter from a grant beneficiary in your capacity as project officer for the Commission. What
is your reply deadline?
a) 30 working days from receipt of the letter
b) 15 working days from receipt of the letter
c) 45 working days from receipt of the letter
d) You reply when you have the letter

3. Ex post evaluation of a project is defined as


a) the evaluation of applications submitted in response to a call for proposals with a view to selection of the
grant beneficiaries
b) the evaluation of the results of a project at the end of the implementation phase
c) the evaluation of a project’s feasibility
d) the evaluation of a project’s appropriateness

4. For the same project the same beneficiary may receive


a) several grants from the European Union
b) two grants from the European Union at most
c) one grant only from the European Union
d) two grants from the European Union provided the aggregate total does not exceed 50% of the project
costs

5. With regard to grants and public procurement, losses as a result of exchange-rate fluctuations
a) constitute eligible expenses
b) constitute eligible expenses if they exceed at least 3% of the initial amount
c) constitute eligible expenses if they exceed at least 10% of the initial amount
d) do not constitute eligible expenses

The Head for 'Budget' communicates to the Head of 'Communication' the resources
available for running a social media campaign in the following month. This is called:

A. Upward communication

B. horizontal communication

C. downward communication

D. Gossiping
These are some of the key competencies which interviewers often focus on, each followed
by a corresponding example question:

•Communication. For example: Tell us about a time you had to adjust your
communication approach to suit a particular audience.

•Decision making. For example: Give an example of a time when you had to make
a difficult decision.

•Leadership. For example: Describe a situation when you assumed the role of
leader. Were there any challenges, and how did you address them?

•Results orientation. For example: Give me an example of a time when you were
particularly successful.

•Teamwork. For example: Describe a situation in which you were working as part of
a team. How did you make a contribution?

•Trustworthiness. For example: Give me an example of a time you were


deceptive.

A classic question is:

Tell me about a time when you failed to complete a task or project on time, despite
intending to do so.

In your response your interviewer will want to find out how you manage your time during
difficult tasks and the reason why you failed to meet your deadline on this occasion.

An effective answer would develop a positive justification for a past failure, as with the
following example:

During my final year at university, I failed to deliver my dissertation by the due date. This
was because I was heavily involved in cutting-edge research right up until the end of my
course and was waiting for imminent results from surveys being undertaken by
researchers at other academic institutions.

Considering this was my final piece of academic work, I wanted to ensure it was based on
the most accurate and up-to-date sources of information available, even if this meant a
delay in production. To ensure no marks were deducted from my dissertation, I contacted
my course director and personal tutor two weeks before my dissertation due date to
discuss my particular situation. I argued my case, and was consequently allowed an extra
two weeks to produce my work.

Although my work was delayed, I feel that this delay was justified in that the work was of
the highest quality it could be. Furthermore, I sufficiently organised myself in relation to
my department and tutors, so that all relevant people were aware of a possible delay in
the production of my dissertation.

Weaker answers rely on negative justifications:

During my final year at university, I failed to deliver my dissertation on the due date. This
was because I was ill for a couple of weeks during my final term.
In order to give clear, effective and varied answers, consider the following pointers:

•When answering competency questions you can give examples from work, study or
personal life, but make sure you give a wide variety of examples and a different
example to answer each question.

•Don't go into too much background detail when answering competency questions.
Your interviewer only wants to know about your past behaviours. Further detail is
redundant.

•Make sure your answers and examples you use are the most relevant to the
questions asked, rather than the most impressive or elaborate.

•Don't make your answers up! Your interviewer will find this very easy to spot.