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Civil service EO interview

(24 Posts)
katiescarlett1939 Tue 22-Jan-19 19:26:34

I've worked in the Civil Service before but under a different grade structure/service area, so this interview is new territory.

Does anyone know what kind of questions they will ask? Will they stick to the CS competencies only? Or throw in "where do you see yourself in 5 years", "tell me your greatest achievement" and those kind of interview questions?

Any help appreciated.

Isleepinahedgefund Wed 23-Jan-19 07:00:57

If the application process used the competency framework they will only score you on competency based questions. They might ask you other things as a warm up.

katiescarlett1939 Wed 23-Jan-19 17:39:53

Ok thank you @Isleepinahedgefund

It is definitely the competencies so I'll just have lots of examples ready smile

Isleepinahedgefund Wed 23-Jan-19 19:17:35

The examples from you application should always be first port of call - they got you through the sift so you know they are strong enough. Then have backups in case you can't make your example fit the question.

When I am interviewing my heart always sinks when people use different examples than on their application, as they are very rarely as strong and most of the time the panel thinks "if only they had used that example!"

Happy to help if you need any more tips!

katiescarlett1939 Wed 23-Jan-19 20:18:35

Oh great! That's good to know that it's definitely ok to talk about the same ones! I was going to revise my written examples so they trip off the tongue, plus have some in reserve for each competency.

I had a non-CS interview recently where it went on for quite a while and I never "ran dry" on examples, so fingers crossed I don't freeze this time!

Thank you very much for your help. If I think of anything else I'll let you know.

P.s. I wonder why it took 3 whole months for them to respond to my application?!

Isleepinahedgefund Thu 24-Jan-19 13:26:24

Another useful tip when you're regurgitating your competencies is to think about painting a watercolour rather than just giving them a line drawing. Enrich your examples - for example you might tell them you had done similar before and considered whether you needed to change your approach and what changes you made. Or after you have described the outcome, evaluate your own actions and describe what you would do differently next time. Competency based recruitment is a bit tick box, and giving the extra detail can just lift your scores enough to get you to the top of the list.

Three months is good going for CS recruitment! If you're successful, it will be ages and ages and ages before you're in post. I applied for something in another department in October and received the provisional offer this week. I don't expect to be in post for at least two months, probably longer allowing for pre employment checks, HR depts faffing about and my notice period - and I'm an existing CS! Waiting is the norm!

Needadoughnut Fri 25-Jan-19 09:09:07

I just landed a job as an AO. (I think yours is a grade above). Be mindful of your audience. My original feedback said my English wasn't "plain enough".

katiescarlett1939 Fri 25-Jan-19 13:46:58

@Isleepinahedgefund thank you. I am ready to talk about my examples and have two or three more in reserve for each competency. Hopefully that'll be enough, Will try to remember to use the STAR method. Wow...I'd forgotten how slow the CS is. Seems ridiculous!

@Needadoughnut thank you for the tip. I currently work with children, so I hope I am used to speaking in plain English! I am going to have a written test on the day, so I guess they'll judge my English on that too!

0x00 Fri 25-Jan-19 13:48:39

Don't have a panic attack in the interview like I did.

katiescarlett1939 Fri 25-Jan-19 14:03:52

Oooooo dear @0x00 sorry to hear that. Sometimes things just go wrong, don't they! I remember giving a presentation once on a training course, when I panicked and just blabbed away incoherently. My cheeks burn whenever I think of it and it was nearly 20 years ago!

0x00 Fri 25-Jan-19 14:04:58

It really upset me that I failed a really simple technical test because I was paralysed with anxiety and I assume they must just think I was stupid.

Very humiliating.

Oh well, onward and upward, job sounded boring anyway :P

Isleepinahedgefund Sat 26-Jan-19 16:46:00

Hope it goes well katiescarlett!

HavelockVetinari Sat 26-Jan-19 16:47:58

Don't forget that strength based interviewing is more and more common now - which department is it? I'm at DfE and it's been compulsory since 1st Jan.

GinandGingerBeer Sat 26-Jan-19 16:52:33

You should be able to find out @katiescarlett1939 if it's purely competency based or a combined competency and strength based recruitment. It's unfair if you don't know and it should be made clear. I'd email and ask unless you still have contacts from your previous work?
(I think I remember you from ages ago as I did a similar job to you at the time, for DWP?) sorry if I have the wrong person!

Isleepinahedgefund Sat 26-Jan-19 17:00:35

She said it was definitely the competency framework. Success profiles is being phased in across CS we changed over in November so It depended on the date of the job advert as to which framework applied.

Even if it is success profiles, you still need the competency prep anyway, and you can't prepare for the strength based ones.

katiescarlett1939 Sat 26-Jan-19 18:41:35

It is definitely the competency framework but thanks for the info on the other 'structures' @GinandGingerBeer. I think you might have the wrong person though as never discussed this on here before! 

The advert was placed in October so before it all changed over.

Thanks for the good wishes @Isleepinahedgefund. I don't hold out much hope and I have other jobs I'm hoping to interview for, but it's all good experience to get interviews anywhere!

Lightsdown Sat 26-Jan-19 18:52:02

I'm in a similar position OP - do you know if taking some notes in is frowned upon- i find that my memory fails me in interviews!

DeusEx Sat 26-Jan-19 18:57:29

Good luck OP! Civil servant here.

As PP said, there may be some ice breakers, and they may also go off piste at the end. Some usual questions would be why do you want the job / why have you applied, why do you think you would be good at this job, what you do to relax in your spare time / how you deal with stress, and what will you contribute corporately to the team / department. Depending on the role they could also ask about leadership experience or style eg if you have a team - you don’t say what kind of EO it is but I think that would be usual in an operational role. So have a think about those but they shouldn’t be deal breakers.

Always always always have an answer for why you applied. It is almost always asked and you can literally rehearse an answer!! It’s a good way to start an interview strong.

On competencies, yes you can use the ones you did for the application. However, don’t stick slavishly to them - make sure you answer the question. As a PP said, make sure you have at least one back up for each competency. Personally, I get bored when people only use their application competencies - use at least one new one, ideally a recent one, to show you can think on your feet.

DeusEx Sat 26-Jan-19 18:58:27

@LightsDown usually it’s fine. I’d suggest saying at the start that you would be ok to take notes if need be, so they aren’t surprised. Make sure it doesn’t interfere with eye contact though.

Lightsdown Sat 26-Jan-19 19:18:41

Not so much take notes -i need the crutch of notes to refer to

Isleepinahedgefund Sat 26-Jan-19 20:07:10

Sometimes they let you take notes in, sometimes not. If not notes, they might let you bring a copy of your application in with you.

Regarding using the examples on your application, every time people have gone off piste I've always thought "noooooo!!!" as they're rarely as strong/tried and tested. You just need to make sure you are expanding on it and giving lots more context and information. Put in all the bits you couldn't fit on the form.

katiescarlett1939 Mon 28-Jan-19 16:15:47

'Tis all over!

Thanks for all the tips! I'll keep you posted! They said it could be up to two weeks before I hear grin

Isleepinahedgefund Wed 30-Jan-19 11:50:36

How did you think it went?

katiescarlett1939 Wed 30-Jan-19 14:08:58

I passed the written test but I don't think I said quite enough in the interview in terms of impact I personally made. However - really not sure of their criteria and how much is "enough"! They didn't give anything away!

While I'm waiting I will carry on with other applications elsewhere smile

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