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to ask for help with this competency interview?

(22 Posts)
StillFrankie Wed 15-Jul-15 19:27:53

Apologies, not sure if there is a dedicated interview topic somewhere plus this has more traffic.

So I've been invited to an interview for a job I really really want. My dream job. I wasn't expecting to get an interview as I'm not sure I meet all the requirements but anyway, in addition to a presentation, I have been informed the questions will cover the following competencies. Can anyone suggest possible questions around these competencies?

Innovation/Creativity
Working with Partners
Customer Service / Customer focus
Personal Management / Drive for results

I'm confused by the last one especially? The partnership working one worries me as most of my experience is voluntary (and with one organisation) and I worry they'd prefer more actual WORK experience and with more partners.

Any help would be much appreciated

MyLovelyHorse123 Wed 15-Jul-15 20:05:37

STAR

Situation
Task
Action
Result

That's a good way to structure your answers. Lots of emphasis on what you did; less "We did...." more "I did....".

Can't give you much advice without knowing more, maybe tell us the sector or industry if you'd prefer not to name the job itself?

MrsTrelis Wed 15-Jul-15 20:09:12

Was just coming on to say STAR!

Think of a few Situations that you could apply your topic areas to and you can use them to answer probably any competency question.

TiredButFine Wed 15-Jul-15 20:10:57

Link the competencies with the sort of tasks the job will involve.
So if the job description for a homeless outreach worker says "building and maintaining relationships with partner agencies" then describe a time when you made a contact in the job centre and identified them as a link partner for identifying/signposting homeless claims to you or vice versa, which benefited them as the clients were less likely to become difficult and agitated, and benefitted you as you could arrange an appointment with that advisor, and the clients got a more tailored service.

StillFrankie Wed 15-Jul-15 20:22:49

I know all about STAR I just can't think of possible questions or scenarios around these competencies, my mind has gone blank!

I don't want to say the exact job but its public sector.

CuttingOutTheCrap Wed 15-Jul-15 20:30:27

Innovation/Creativity:
Tell me about a time when you used your creativity to meet a customers needs/raise standards/ effect a change

Working with Partners :
tell me about a time when you worked with others (external/internal/stakeholders) to....

Customer Service / Customer focus :
tell me about a time you met a customers needs/ dealt with customer complaints/ improved a service for customers

Personal Management / Drive for results:
tell me about a time you had to work with competing priorities/ tight deadlines
tell me about a time you worked to improve your effectiveness

Fatmomma99 Wed 15-Jul-15 21:00:33

I was going to do what cuttingout just did.

Are you ok with this OP, or do you want more suggestions?

Good luck for your interview flowers

Littleorangecat Wed 15-Jul-15 21:30:13

Working with partners could be anytime you worked with a colleague to acheive a goal which benefitted the business , try to give benefits in figures ie: increased profits by % or decreased time spent by %, emphasise your own part in the 'partnership'.
The drive for results could be a particular challenge to meet your objectives (which are very challenging!!) you made a plan, overcame obstacles, set milestones to acheive results. Again these results should quote a tangible benefit.
Good luck!!!

Littlef00t Wed 15-Jul-15 21:37:07

I had a local council competency based interview and was pleasantly surprised. It was all what would you do in this situation rather than give an example of when you've... lot of the questions could be extrapolated from the job description.

For the application form it asked about examples of overcoming initial differences of opinion and working with partners to overcome these, communicating with different audiences, dealing with pressures at work (I wrote about putting processes in place in advance to minimise, and being organised etc).

StillFrankie Wed 15-Jul-15 21:56:08

Thank you all so much, more examples are always appreciated.

The 'partners' would be external employers, the job is kind of a recruitment role, trying to get young people into jobs, I'm trying to be vague, sorry, as some current colleagues are on MN!!

Fatmomma99 Wed 15-Jul-15 23:46:42

Ok then, Frankie. In spite of what Littlef00T said, I do always think it's good in interviews to give real examples. So think about all of these and if you have any parallels or experiences, be prepared to trot them out. And they don't have to be million dollar things: "personal management" can be getting your DC to tidy up before bedtime, if you have a good story about making them do it.

I'm not sure I can better Cutting's post, but I'm copying and pasting it, and I'll add to it if I can...

Innovation/Creativity:
Tell me about a time when you used your creativity to meet a customers needs/raise standards/ effect a change

ok: I would read this as "tell me about a time when you "thought outside the box" and it worked". It doesn't necessarily mean inventing a new coffee machine or coming up with a killer costume for the nativity (although, if you have...). I think this is about you thinking creatively to solve a problem. So: there is a problem. Everyone thinks you have to do X to solve it, because that is what they've always done, and you've said, 'hang on, let's try Y and see how it goes' (helps the story if it worked!)

Working with Partners :
tell me about a time when you worked with others (external/internal/stakeholders) to....

This is about getting on with people to achieve results, including people you would find it hard to get on with. Tell some stories which involve delivering something as part of a team. Esp is there are tricky people within the team (different departments wanting different outcomes, other companies working together, a stroppy woman on the PTA. It's all the same thing)

This is the time to point out that there's no "i" in "team" and declaring at this point in the interview that you're a lone worker who can't work with others will do you no favours!

Customer Service / Customer focus :
tell me about a time you met a customers needs/ dealt with customer complaints/ improved a service for customers

This is about making sure you know who you're delivering your service to in the end. In local government you'll have loads of pressure from all sides - the public hate you, the politicians hate you, the media hate you, but at the end of the day, you still have to work through benefit claims/empty the bins/pass planning applications/mend potholes/make sure people have ballot papers, etc, etc, etc.
And you can't ever be rude to them, even if they're c*nts!

Personal Management / Drive for results:
tell me about a time you had to work with competing priorities/ tight deadlines
tell me about a time you worked to improve your effectiveness

To me this is: Do you manage your time effectively. If you have differing demands on your time, can you prioritise/pass upstream/ask for help adn the last one is do you deliver? Give examples!

Hope this helps, and no disrespect to Cutting, who I thought was brilliant.

Good luck with the interview. Please let us know how you got on!

p.s. I am 15 years local government.

trufflehunterthebadger Thu 16-Jul-15 00:39:37

I have done loads of competency interviews, i work in the emergency services. Just did the latest on tuesday. My advice:
1) Use the STAR model
2) if it's public sector you will be measured on diversity - make sure you highlight ackowledging peoples' differences and adapting your own actions accordingly somewhere
3) prepare 2 examples for each competency area that you can use
4) you can use the same example in two different competency areas. For example i always use a challenging court case i dealt with a couple of years ago because it can evidence almost every competency area.
5) you MUST use examples, not what you think you might do. They are looking for what you have done and how you responded to something. Do NOT do "i would do this" unless absolutely desperate. Avoid "we", they are looking to see what you have done
6) if you struggle to think of an example then ask to revisit the question later to buy some time
7) you don't have to use work examples, you can evidence from voluntary work or even private life

StillFrankie Thu 16-Jul-15 06:57:26

Thank you all so much, scribbling down notes here!

daisychain01 Thu 16-Jul-15 14:07:50

Really appreciate this thread StillFrankie - I have a competency based interview on Monday - such helpful advice on here, which I have found very constructive thanks.

- YY to the comments that your responses must related to what you have delivered and achieved;

- YY to the tip to only focus on what you have contributed, but maybe demonstrate how you "led the team" of other contributors (so recognise the Team-contribution), to get to the successful end-point. Any opportunity to show how you overcame 'politics' using your diplomacy skills and working to find common ground, getting everyone working effectively together, goes down well IME.

- If your interview is like mine will be, they may want recent examples, things you have done in the past 1-2 years. So be prepared to say you did xyz 18 months ago (even if 3 years ago), let's face it the achievement is still valid, but they want to 'tick the box'!

All the best, you can do it!!

StillFrankie Thu 16-Jul-15 17:58:21

Good luck with your interview, I hope we are both successful!

I really really want this job, mainly because its my dream job but also because my current colleagues treat me like I'm not good enough - so I have this desire to 'prove' myself. I kind of feel if I don't get it, then they are right sad

StillFrankie Thu 16-Jul-15 23:34:29

I have another question, sorry.

Most of my relevant experience is voluntary but I have examples from work that answer the possible questions but as my current job is different, could I still use them?

I work for the company I am applying to, but the two jobs are different. I have gotten voluntary work outside of paid employment to enable me to eventually do the job to which I am applying.

I just feel my work examples answer the questions better but may not be what they want to hear.

what do I do?

daisychain01 Thu 16-Jul-15 23:41:59

hi frankie if I were you I would use any example whether it is voluntary or paid employment. If your example illustrates you have done something good, achieved a goal or a challenge, coped under pressure etc, it doesn't matter what the context is. Let's face it no two jobs are the same anyway.

Very best of luck, keep calm and lots of deep breathing as they say!

I am like you, I want to prove I can do it!!

DisappointedOne Thu 16-Jul-15 23:59:14

I had a local council competency based interview and was pleasantly surprised. It was all what would you do in this situation rather than give an example of when you've... lot of the questions could be extrapolated from the job description.

It wasn't a competency based interview then. wink

DisappointedOne Fri 17-Jul-15 00:02:56

Agree with everything else that's been said. Some very constructive advice there.

One other thing: if they ask you what your worst trait is, whatever you do don't say that you're "a perfectionist".

(Ex-public sector with 10 years in senior HR)

daisychain01 Fri 17-Jul-15 05:37:29

I think in fairness disappointed the "tell me your worst trait" question may have been done to death nowadays. Everyone comes out with the stock answer "I tend to take on too much" ie never admit to anything bad, but make something positive look like it could be bad.

Apparently the latest trend is to ask "tell me something about yourself that isn't on your CV" so it's good to go along prepared with an interesting answer.

Binkybix Fri 17-Jul-15 06:57:16

One other thing: if they ask you what your worst trait is, whatever you do don't say that you're "a perfectionist"

I have still had this question relatively recently but phrased differently ('what areas would you need to work on to be effective at this job') I always say something that's not too bad anyway, and then say how I've taken steps to address it already. So you have an answer, without them thinking you can't do something.

StillFrankie Fri 17-Jul-15 07:29:08

I've to deliver a presentation after the interview on the challenges and opportunities in the role, and what I would do in the first 3 months. Followed by some questions on my presentation - what kind of questions could they ask on my presentation?

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