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Civil Service Competency Interviews

Civil Service interviews


Specialist Civil Service interview coaching is available for both internal and external candidates applying for  Civil Service interview.  The majority of civil service interviews now follow a  Blended Assessment which means that depending on the role could involve:

  • Written assessment tests and exercises
  • Group exercises and role play
  • Video interview
  • Staff panel interview
  • Presentation
  • Psychologist interview
  • Panel interview

Civil Service interview

Whilst traditionally Civil Service interviews followed a competency based approach, assessing each candidate against the Civil Service Competency Framework interviews today are more likely to follow a blended approach. This can include a combination of motivational, technical, competency, strength based and situational questions. Despite the recent changes to the blended interview approach the majority of interview still put more emphasis on a competency interview.

Civil Service Competency Framework

There are 10 competencies which you can be assessed against in the application and interview. The criteria under each competency varies depending on the grade of the role.

  1. Seeing the Big Picture
  2. Changing and Improving
  3. Making Effective Decisions
  4. Leading and Communicating
  5. Collaborating and Partnering
  6. Building Capability for All
  7. Achieving Commercial Outcomes
  8. Delivering Value For Money
  9. Managing a Quality Service
  10. Delivering at Pace

Some specialist roles will have their own version of the competency framework, such as Government Legal Services or the Government Communication Professional Competency Framework which needs to be used together with the Civil Service Competency framework.

Civil Service Application Coaching

The application process for many Civil Service jobs is changing as the recruitment follows a Blended Assessment approach. Candidates can be asked to write a Personal Statement rather submit 250 word competency examples or you might be asked to answer specific application questions.  Application and interview coaching is available for both the traditional Civil Service interview and Blended Assessment. Whilst all applications previously were assessed manually by Assessors new software BeApplied is being used to sift candidates for some roles.  The aim of this is to achieve more consistency in the sifting process. Using this software competencies are being assessed out of a maximum score of 5 rather than 7.

Civil Service Competency Interview Coaching

One to one coaching specialist coaching is available for the application and interviews

Preparation Coaching

  • Learn how the competencies are assessed for the grade
  • Understand more about how the behaviours can be articulated
  • Develop in-depth competencies stories which achieve a high score
  • Prepare for motivational and strength based questions

Mock Interview Coaching

  • practice adapting your prepared competency stories to different questions
  • deliver a natural answer with a good clear structure rather than a learnt response
  • modulate your voice with natural rhythm and variation to engage and show enthusiasm
  • show open body language with strong eye contact.

The number of coaching sessions you are likely to need depends on your experience of previous Civil Service interviews and the level you are interviewing for. Most clients benefit from two-five sessions.

Common interview problems

Without coaching many clients fall down in the interview and get low marks. Some of the common reasons for this are because:

  • the answers do not sufficiently address the behaviours and skills outlined in the competency framework
  • the answers are unstructured making it difficult for the assessors to mark the interviewer highly
  • the candidate has learnt the answers ‘parrot fashion’ creating an interview veneer and demonstrating poor communication skills. This often results in a candidate experiencing ‘brain-freeze’ in the interview
  • the candidate has shown limited self-awareness.  Being able to demonstrate emotional intelligence and high levels of self-awareness is important at management levels

Candidates often go through multiple rejections whilst applying for Civil Services roles and inevitably this reduce self-confidence and creates interview anxiety which then becomes an additional issue which can limit your success.

Recent successes

I have always been incredibly nervous at interviews and this has impacted on my performance. After a particularly disastrous experience, I decided to seek some professional help. It’s always hard to choose someone without a recommendation but as soon as I contacted Elizabeth I knew that she was right for me. I started off with a Skype session to help me improve my Civil Service competency based applications. Elizabeth is tremendously knowledgeable and packed the session with sound advice, all recorded to play back later. She has great insight and helped me understand my weaknesses and the areas to improve on my applications. Some time later, I followed up the initial session with a face to face appointment before an important interview. I’d had a couple of recent interviews and was still with struggling nerves. I was a wreck when I saw Elizabeth as even the thought of practising in front of her filled me with dread but she wasn’t fazed by this and explained it was just interview anxiety. She had some excellent strategies to help me cope and patiently coached me through my interview examples. Elizabeth highlighted my strengths and constructively pointed out areas that required further work, with suggestions on what was required. The session really boosted my confidence and helped me focus on selling myself at interview. It worked – I got the job! I cannot recommend Elizabeth highly enough. I always admire people who excel at their job and Elizabeth excels! July 2017
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How much does coaching cost?

Coaching is flexible giving you the choice of method, location and time. Click here for details on coaching fees. The best approach is to schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss your objectives. Many internal candidates can get funding provided for application and interview coaching. Elizabeth Conley is an approved Interview Coach.  Click the Free Consultation button below or click Contact.