Civil service interview -any tips?(14 Posts)
I've got an interview coming up for the CS, which I wasn't expecting as I've heard it's really hard to get into. I've been told that it will be based upon:
Strength based questions
Managing a Quality Service
Delivering at Pace
Administration experience, customer service
Working to deadlines, prioritisation
I'm going to use my application examples for the competencies and technical questions but any advice on the behaviour questions? And what additional questions are they likely to ask on the competency ones? Will it be things like "what would you do differently" or "how did you measure the success"?
Any advice will be gratefully received!x
Practise your examples but try not to sound too scripted. Only talk about yourself. I was marked down for using 'we' even though the example was about teamwork.
You can use the same example more than once with a different slant.
Use words like 'stakeholder'
Use the star structure in your answers.
Yes the 'how would you have done things?k differently is a popular one. Also how have you taken control of your self development, I.e. taken the initiative on training read up on subjects etc
I’d prep a couple of examples for each competency. Be sure to talk about what you did and what the outcome was. You might want to think about some examples of where you failed to do something as well as where you succeeded. You might also get a question about diversity as well “what does diversity mean to you and how would it apply to this role” for example.
Which department is it? They can differ quite widely.
Particularly if is a managment level job I would ask how you deal with those who are reluctant to change.
Managing a quality service- I would expect to hear something about the impact on service users and how you got/would get feed back on your service. How you identify what is a quality service/or how you identified a shortcoming in service.
working together- identifying types of people in the team and playing to their strengths, team buy in to goals, communication is usually looked for.
I've never used delivering at pace as a compentency for interview- sorry.
Also be prepared for a fast ball question on equality and diversity.
Strength based questions are meant to capture your natural preferences and something it's harder to prepare for as you don't know what strengths they are going to ask about and if I remember correctly there are over 30!
They won't probe these so try not to give really short yes/no type answers and instead expand with an example of when you've done it, or why you think that etc. They can be phrased in a number of ways.
Yes, agree with Hobbes8 . An example of failure with a thought out reflection on how you could have done it better/how you would approach it next time demonstrates insight .
I had one recently where they asked closed questions which totally threw me, so be prepared for that!
You can look up (just google it if it wasn't with you application docs) what is covered by each competency, try and tick off most parts and try not to get too fixated on the name of the competency but rather the elements it talks about - you must have done a good job of this to get sifted.
Thanks so much for your advice! I’ve been looking at the behaviour attached for each competency so will try to think of situations for each of those. Glad to hear that I can use the same examples in different ways as I feel that my examples are quite strong (and given that I’ve got an interview based on those examples means I was going in the right direction)
The diversity advice is great. Didn’t think of that one. It’s a bit tricky though. Not sure how I’d tackle that -obviously I recognise that everyone is different and have worked with people of different needs but that sounds so flaky. Any specific advice on this?
I misunderstood the diversity one in my interview and rambled on about recognising that everyone is different but we all have things in common before I twigged that they wanted to know specifically about how I would approach working with people with disabilities I salvaged it though! They might give you a scenario - I spoke about making sure the building was accessible, using a room on the ground floor, making sure there were accessible toilets, making provision for them to bring a carer if necessary and that seemed to tick the right boxes. Good luck!
You can take notes so prepare your answers. If you have a dig online you can find the requirements for each competency dependent on pay grade for each. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of “we did” your competencies need to have a clear issue/situation and conclusion with clear actions. (Current civil servant & have interviewed for new staff so done both the interview and interviewer, reViewing & marking) pm me if you want any further help/anything looking over
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