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Struggling with application form question, would anyone like to help me?

(19 Posts)
MadameGazelle Wed 21-Sep-11 22:04:00

Am applying for the post of Admin Manager within a Higher Education instution. I've completed most of the application form matching my skills to the job spec etc, but I'm really struggling with the additional question on the application form. If I was in an interview situation I could probably think on my feet and come up with a (made up) answer grin but I wondered if anyone could help me come up with a wow answer that will help secure me an interview smile

Outline a situation where you had to persuade and influence others in some way; what was the outcome and why?


casawasa Wed 21-Sep-11 22:06:20

Have you got children? Have you ever persuaded them to do something/influenced them?

iklboo Wed 21-Sep-11 22:08:36

Excellent tip casa! Most unreasonable sods on the planets, kids. If you can persuade them to do something they don't want to, you can do anything.

MadameGazelle Wed 21-Sep-11 22:10:00

Yes I have, on many occasions! Would employers welcome a child based example rather than something in the workplace do you think? I suppose it would be different to the bog standard answers

wompoopigeon Wed 21-Sep-11 22:11:09

Gawd, I see this question a lot recently.
They want you to show some or all of these things: that you can adjust your communications style to different situations, that you can see and balance different interests, that you can "take people with you" and not get up everyone's noses, that you can deal with people from Vice Chancellor to students.
So you're trying to think of a situation which was potentially quite tricky where everyone wanted different things and you managed to win them all round through your fantastic negotiation skills. Easy! Good luck smile

wompoopigeon Wed 21-Sep-11 22:13:54

I interview for similar jobs. If the best example you have is from your kids, you're doomed. There's no way on earth I would longlist you. You're applying to work with adults not in a nursery.

MadameGazelle Wed 21-Sep-11 22:14:37

Hi wompoopigeon, thanks for the advice, it's a nightmare; I know I can do this job but I hate answering questions like this where you're just feeding them the answer they want to hear! That's given me a bit of structure to my answer though so thanks smile

MadameGazelle Wed 21-Sep-11 22:17:13

Ooh if you've interviewed for similar jobs what would the best answer be to this question in your opinion (sorry for the shameless beg for information grin )

StealthPolarBear Wed 21-Sep-11 22:17:33

No, wouldnt be impressed with a kids answer, sorry.
What have you done, job wise, so far?
Dealt with members of the public?
Outcome doesn;t necessarily have to be good, as long as you can provide the insight into why

StealthPolarBear Wed 21-Sep-11 22:19:32

Best answer - talks about communication styles and method of influence
Then says outcme was overall good - I achieved the aim but next time I will also do...

Something like that

purplepidjinawoollytangle Wed 21-Sep-11 22:21:01

<watching with interest as job-hunting and can't do forms to save my life, not helped by the fact that i want to change career!!>

Good luck smile

MadameGazelle Wed 21-Sep-11 22:22:28

Thanks stealthpolarbear!

wompoopigeon Wed 21-Sep-11 22:23:19

What's your current role ie what can you draw on?

wompoopigeon Wed 21-Sep-11 22:24:34

Stealthpolarbear's advice, as ever, spot on

MadameGazelle Wed 21-Sep-11 22:29:20

At the minute I'm managing admin for a construction company, liaising with external contractors and organisations to obtain, organise, and present information from numerous companies into one report

wompoopigeon Wed 21-Sep-11 22:37:17

Ok fantastic. So here's your chance to show you're good with people not just data-crunching. So, for example, do you have some people who don't want to provide the info, and you persuade them in a clever way? Or have you ever been involved in a project to improve the system as a whole so people are happier to contribute? Or do you find your internal and external stakeholders want different things so you negotiate and balance their interests and keep everyone happy?

MadameGazelle Wed 21-Sep-11 23:05:53

Yes! I've been involved in changing the system from faxes and reams of paper into an electronic paperless system which saves time and provides us with a clearer paper(less) trail for auditing purposes. That would be a good example to use wouldn't it, thanks!

wompoopigeon Thu 22-Sep-11 21:51:48

Yes that's a great answer!
Just whiffle on about how you had to persuade these companies to submit the data, listened to their problems about it being too much faff, did research with them to explore what they wanted from a new system, "sold it" internally and externally (even to people who weren't very sure), and then trained everyone/ persuaded them to use it and made sure they were all happy.
Ta-dah! Good luck MadameGazelle!

MaMattoo Fri 23-Sep-11 15:48:17

In HE the main issues are about student facing jobs wherein last min enquiries and submissions often need to be dealt with sensitively yet efficiently. I don't know if this is a relevant example:
My administrator was told that the exam
Boards had been postponed due multiple sicknesses and a public transport strike. She then had to inform students that they would not know their results for a longer time. So after communicating with management she got them to agree that exam board results would be put up online on the blackboard as soon as the rescheduled meeting was up. She would then also fix meetings with academics for one to one advice for students who would want to discuss their marks..earlier than was initially thought.
Her idea, worked very well.
Hth grin

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