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Interview for internal post - two grades up

(11 Posts)
EoinMcLovesCakeJumper Fri 29-Nov-19 14:43:45

I work for the Civil Service, and next week I've got an interview for an internal post which is two grades up from my current one. It will make a big difference to my financial comfort, and besides that, I'm getting a bit restless in my current job and feeling like I'm not really being challenged. So I'm keen to make a good impression and big myself up as much as I can.

The Civil Service is still using competency-based questions in their interviews (or rather, they're called "behaviours" now, but they're exactly the same thing). The questions will therefore be of the "Tell me about a time when you..." variety, and I already have a copy of the behaviour framework with the standards that the postholder would be expected to achieve. I want to think up a couple of examples of situations I can use in my answers so I don't have to come up with stuff on the hoof. It's going to be by Skype, so I can have some notes just out of shot, as it were.

My issue is that I've been working at this lower grade for almost two years, and I am struggling to come up with examples of things that I've done in that time that demonstrate the behaviours to the level that is required. I may have examples from previous jobs, but we're talking about 5+ years ago, and I don't know how kindly they would look on things that aren't very recent.

I know that I would be capable of doing this job, but I don't know how to get that across in the format that they will want in this particular interview. Any help appreciated!

OP’s posts: |
Elieza Fri 29-Nov-19 15:09:31

You can use old examples, examples from your outside life, and also the examples you used in your application (providing they fit the skills for success obv) if they are relevant and you can talk about them. Did you look at the internal guidance online for interviewers as there are some examples in there. Ask colleagues who are interviewers what they would ask at that grade. Snoop and see who is doing the interview and see if anyone you know has been interviewed by them before and what was asked then.
You’re allowed to take in one page of A4 notes to remind you of your answers too
Good luck!

EoinMcLovesCakeJumper Fri 29-Nov-19 15:18:46

Elieza good point about the internal guidance for interviewers - I'll have a look now.

I do know who's doing the interview, but he is in a completely different work area to me, and there's nobody around that I can speak to who's had previous dealings with him.

The interview is by Skype, so I was planning to just write key ideas and words on a piece of paper in big letters, and put it just behind my computer so I can glance at it before I answer.

OP’s posts: |
Elieza Fri 29-Nov-19 15:31:15

Good plan. I’d be covering both sides and the top of my screen with notes stuck on papers!! Check and double check your answers cover everything that’s asked. Once you e done it have a look at the grade above and see what it’s skills for success are. Although you aren’t having to prove you’re up to working at those levels it can give you a steer on what to be aiming for?

msmith501 Fri 29-Nov-19 15:46:02

I have worked for the Civil Service (for Gordon Brown at one point). My advice is don't be afraid to take notes in with you - looks organised - and think of the one extra thing you could do e.g. if there is something that you might want to review / address on day one in the new role, prepare a couple of slides or a one page document outlining your ideas - what's the issue, options, your recommendation and the outcome / benefits. It shows fore thought and a keen interest... and leave it with them as a "hook" to remember you by. You don't have to present it formally in the interview but introduce it towards the end as something you've been thinking through and that you would like them to consider.

Isleepinahedgefund Fri 29-Nov-19 17:46:56

You got an interview, so your examples must have been up to scratch!

Don't be afraid to take notes in, I always do - I stick to 1 side of A4 with key points on so I'm not faffing about with bits of paper.

Be aware that the longer ago your example was, the less likely you are to remember all the details - spend some times hand writing out the story and you'll be surprised what details come back to you.

By the way under success profiles the questions seem to be generally bit more specific and dynamic than the good old "tell me about a time when...". I've had two success profiles interviews at different grades and it was much more challenging that the old system where you just regurgitate your prepared answer.

EoinMcLovesCakeJumper Wed 04-Dec-19 15:07:20

Just a quick update to let you know that I got the job! You were right, hedgefund, that the questions were not just the usual competency situation type ones. It was more like asking what I would do in a certain situation and what I thought was the best way to manage particular situations. I found those sorts of questions easier to answer, though, so it worked in my favour in the end. Thanks to everyone for the tips!

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Elieza Wed 04-Dec-19 20:49:22

Great news congrats OP!

Isleepinahedgefund Thu 05-Dec-19 04:52:53

That's great! Well done! Good luck for the new role 😊

Isleepinahedgefund Thu 05-Dec-19 06:59:19

Out if interest, what grade are you going from and to? There's a big thing in CS that you have to progress up the grades in exact order, which just isn't true. Might provide a bit of inspiration for someone in the same position as you!

Another thing (again for others really) you mentioned that the questions you were asked were framed as "what WOULD you do" - under success profiles they can now use these sort of questions, but most are still going for the good old "what have you ALREADY done" questions.

EoinMcLovesCakeJumper Thu 05-Dec-19 08:49:54

There was a bit of both, really - what would you do and have you held any job in the past or currently where you did or do these things. I didn't use any of the examples I'd written down because it was generic more than specific. I can't say that this would be standard though - it was an internal post so perhaps they did it differently.

Our department has its own grading system - I went from G to E. The equivalent would be AA to EO I think.

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