Civil Service interviews
Specialist Civil Service interview coaching is available for both internal and external candidates applying for Civil Service interview. A new blended assessment approach has recently been introduced called Success Profiles. This means that depending on the role you are applying for you could be assessed on five areas:
- Competency behaviours: the actions and activities that we do which result in effective performance in a job.
- Strengths: the things we do regularly, do well and that motivate us.
- Ability: the aptitude or potential to perform to the required standard.
- Experience: the knowledge or mastery of an activity or subject gained through involvement in or exposure to it.
- Technical: the demonstration of specific professional skills, knowledge or qualifications.
Not all elements are relevant to every role so the makeup of the Success Profile should be different for different types of job to improve the chances of getting the best person for the job. Success Profile assessment is being rolled out over the next year.
Success Profiles assessment
Whilst traditionally Civil Service interviews followed a competency based approach, today candidates are assessed against the Success Profiles framework which follows a blended approach. The new Success Profiles assessment will be introduced gradually over the next year with some interviews still following a purely competency approach.
Success Profiles Civil Service behaviours
There are 9 competencies which you can be assessed against in the application and interview:
- Seeing the big picture
- Changing and Improving
- Making effective decisions
- Communicating and Ifluencing
- Working together
- Developing self and others
- Managing a quality service
- Delivering at pace
The criteria under each competency vary depending on the grade of the role. 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 may be asked to write a Personal Statement rather than submit 250 word competency examples or they might be asked to answer specific application questions. Application and interview coaching is available for both the traditional Civil Service interview and Success Profiles. Whilst all applications were formerly assessed manually by assessors, new software BeApplied is now being used to sift candidates for some roles. The aim of this is to achieve more consistency in the sifting process.
Civil Service competency interview coaching
One-to-one specialist coaching is available for the application and interviews.
- Learn how the competencies are assessed for the grade
- Understand more about how the behaviours can be articulated
- Develop in-depth competency stories which achieve a high score
- Prepare for motivational and strength based questions
Mock Interview Coaching
- practise 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 to 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:
- 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 interviewee 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 reduces self-confidence and creates interview anxiety which then becomes an additional issue which can limit your success.
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!
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Coaching sessions vary from £150-£390. Click here for details of coaching fees. For internal candidates funding may be available. Interview Skills Clinic is an approved supplier for many departments so the best approach is to schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss your objectives. Click the Free Consultation button below or click Contact.