Advanced search

has anyone applied for a civil service job recently? I am scratching my head a the application form

(19 Posts)
Gatekeeper Wed 02-Sep-15 11:21:06

You have to give examples of situations and the outcome
'Leading and communicating' etc. It's what amount to a bloody filing clerk


I haven't worked for nearly 12 years and I'm at a loss as to what to put down to prove myself

thecatfromjapan Wed 02-Sep-15 11:26:17

Have you organised anything, ever? You will have. I'm guessing they just want you to give an example of some situation where you had to work with other people to get something done and didn't manage to act like a sociopath.

thecatfromjapan Wed 02-Sep-15 11:26:39

managed to not act like a sociopath.

gamerchick Wed 02-Sep-15 11:31:22

I think you're supposed to take it from being a parent (assuming you are) .. Make a list of all the things you do as a mother. You multitask, you negotiate, you get quick results more from one way than another, list your communication skills to get the results you want type of thing.

Then take a look and see what kind of answer you can fashion.

gamerchick Wed 02-Sep-15 11:33:01

You organise and run a house don't you? How could you word that so it sounds good?

NotCitrus Wed 02-Sep-15 11:35:56

Look up the "Civil Service Competency Framework" and then the description of what "leading and communicating" means for your grade (not necessarily what you might think the words mean).
Then use as many of the "positive behaviours" in your answer as you can.

Good luck!

PeterParkerSays Wed 02-Sep-15 11:41:45

I'd go with teamworking and communication examples, particularly with an office based job, you will have people who ask you to find files for them or who work alongside you.

SummerMonths Wed 02-Sep-15 11:43:45

The civil service recruits at all levels using a "competency framework" where candidates are assessed against 10 competencies, one of which is leading and communicating. The same competencies are used for all grades of job but for more senior jobs you have to show more advanced skills within that competency.

On the application form you need to outline your experience and skills under each competency.

For leading and communicating the guidelines state that "effectiveness in this area is about leading from the front and communicating with clarity, conviction and enthusiasm. It is about supporting principles of fairness of opportunity for all and a dedication to a diverse range of citizens."

If the job involves management then you need to talk about your management experience, if it does not and you have not worked for 12 years then try and think of other things you have done that show you are a good communicator. For example if I had led a PTA committee on summer fair planning I might use that and say:

"I enjoy leading teams of people on specific project. For the past X years I have organised my children's' school summer fair by lead managing the PTA sub-committee on school fairs. I recognise that clear communication is the key to successful leadership and I set up an e-mail group and calendar to keep track of our plans. I also drafted the school newsletter call for help to the wider school community and tried to enthuse parents by explaining how important the fair was for school fundraising. I worked to engage all sections of the parent community by engaging the non-English speaking parents through the ESL coordinator at the school, this was a successful idea and lead to the whole school community getting involved and raising the most money of any school fair in our history."

That kind of thing anyway....

Notgrumpyjustquiet Wed 02-Sep-15 11:55:10

I've been interviewed more than once for civil service jobs and know a couple irl. They want you to use STAR ie

Situation - describe the problem
Task - what needed doing to resolve it
Action - what specifically did you do - make sure your language is dynamic
Result - describe the outcome particularly if you can include actual numbers around time / money saved/ process improved etc, they like to see something quantifiable

GreenHouseNo6 Wed 02-Sep-15 11:58:29

I have - with competency based questions, and all civil service roles now use them, you should use the STAR form of response:

Situation – the context for your story.
Task – what was required of you.
Activity – what you actually did.
Result – how well the situation played out.

Be exact - give numbers where possible, you organised something for ten people, you gave a presentation to thirty etc. What also helps is to then add a statement which links the example back to the role you're going for - how this experience will help.

If you google STAR technique you will find out more. It's useful to get into practice because it's likely any civil service interview will be entirely on competencies - I wasn't even asked why I wanted the job, or tell to tell the panel about myself. It was literally introductions, good journey?, this will be a competency based interview and into 'can you give me an example of when?'

You can use examples from non-work life, and a recent non-work example would be better than an old work example.

Gatekeeper Wed 02-Sep-15 14:34:06

thanks everyone; I am going to have to really think hard about how I can put my experiences so far into context- bit hard when all you have done for the last decade + is cook, clean, wipe bums & noses etc

Patrick68 Wed 28-Oct-15 12:09:58

how could you please answer this quetion om 1.Collaborating and partnering 2.Caring any idea please

PastaLaFeasta Wed 28-Oct-15 15:35:40

Patrick - you need to think of something you've done that fits the competency description and use the STAR method above. I actually attended a training course on these types of applications many years ago as I find them awful and feel I have to dumb down, but it did work.

Collaborating and Partnering is working with people, or just one partner, on a project - a school/uni assignment, working in retail/a pub/restaurant on a special event/promotion, working in a team to meet a deadline on a project. The way you write is more important than the actual example.

Is 2 Caring? So a time you cared for someone? Looked after a customer, colleague, friend...

I've been googling for examples myself and there are resources and people may give feedback once you've got your example.

Patrick68 Wed 28-Oct-15 23:48:22

Thanks a lot at least i noww have an idea on what to do

Patrick68 Thu 29-Oct-15 11:19:39

thanks again is it possible for you to give me an example for those two 2.Partnering and collaborating.and 2.Caring using star so that i can learn from it and see how i can handle what i have got

PastaLaFeasta Thu 29-Oct-15 18:43:16

Google example answers for team working as that's similar to the first competency. This website seems helpful and has examples, although Caring is unusual but you need your own example in the same format. You have to have strong examples you are able to discuss in more detail plus a second answer for interview.

wonderwoman86 Wed 01-Feb-17 18:31:22

Some of you may still be wondering what sort of question you may be asked. Below is an example of Civil Service Competency based questions.

Competency based interview question examples
The example interview questions below are based on the Civil Service Competency Framework competencies.

Managing a Quality Service
• How do you and your team understand what the standards required by your customers are? • Give me an example of how you have demonstrated an understanding of customer needs? • What steps have you taken to understand how you and your team perform against performance/customer standards? • How do you respond to customer feedback? • Can you describe a time when you have been proactive in finding a solution to a problem encountered by your customers?

Leading and Communicating
• When communicating to staff how have you ensured your communication is clear, well structured and tailored to your audience? • Can you give an example of how you have engaged your team in discussions about changes taking place in your unit, business area or Department? • Tell me about a time when you have had to influence a senior manager, stakeholder or partner and how you went about this? • Tell me about a time when you have had to use written communication to successfully influence someone? How did you go about structuring your written communication?

Collaborating and Partnering
• How have you created a good team spirit within your teams? • Tell me about a time when you have been faced with resistance or negativity and how you have responded to this? • Give me an example of how you have motivated others to do their job better? • Tell me about a time when you have collaborated with individuals or teams outside of your business area in order to deliver a positive outcome?

Seeing the Big Picture
• How have you ensured a team understands how its work connects into the work of the Department? • Tell me how your current role fits into the overall objectives of the Department? • Tell me about a time when you have developed and updated good practice in your area of work?

• Give me an example of when you had to make a change in your work area. How did you ensure it fitted with the strategic direction of the Department or your business area?

Building Capability for All
• Can you describe a time when you have had to address underperformance and how you went about this? • Can you give me an example of how you have nurtured a talented member of your team? • How do you increase your own knowledge and expertise and that of your team? • What are your own development areas and what are you doing to address these?

Sheba76 Sat 28-Oct-17 21:58:46

Does anyone have examples of civil service competency based questions for delivering at pace and making effective decisions? Thanks

BeeFarseer Sun 29-Oct-17 17:50:28

Sheba, Delivering At Pace is basically how you organise yourself to do the work. In my most recent interview this year, this was the only competency they were looking for. I got full marks in my interview using quality assessment/staff coaching as an example, and I got the job.

I don't have my specific example to hand,, but it was roughly this:

I had X members of staff whose work I had to assess against strict quality criteria. I had to assess all my staff by X deadline, and it was a reoccurring task on a monthly basis and had to be planned for so it fit in around people taking holidays, meetings, and other work.

I talked about how I broke the task down and organised the work by difficulty so I did the easiest work first. Since most of it was expected to be straightforward, this meant the bulk of it was completed quickly by the first two weeks of the month, leaving me the final two weeks to dedicate more time to the people who were having difficulty and needed more input from me to reach the required standard. Planning to get the majority of the work out of the way first also meant that I had extra time to deal with any unexpected problems that cropped up, such as having to pitch in to cover for colleagues going off sick, etc etc.

I can't stress strongly enough to get hold of the Civil Service Framework and write your answers to that. Treat it as a tick box exercise and make sure you write in STAR format. The hardest part is trying to fit the examples you have to the most suited competency, but if you can do that, you've cracked it. Good luck!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: