Important aspects to consider before your interview
- It doesn’t matter what you have done, how much experience you have and how suitable you are for the role if you don’t present your evidence using the correct format. It’s very easy to get this wrong
- You need to choose examples which are outstanding
- The technique needed to answer PQA/ competency questions is very specific. Much of the historical advice on how to respond to this style of questioning is misleading
- You’ll need to plan in advance to make sure you can match the pre-determined criteria with your prepared answers
- You will not know exactly what you will be asked until you are sat in front of the panel, and you need to learn the trick to thinking on your feet and adapting your evidence to the question you are asked, and not always the one you have prepared for
If you don’t answer the question using the correct formula you won’t score well.
The interview should have a very clear scoring mechanism. As the candidate, you won’t know the details of this, but it will basically include a list of the criteria being assessed and then ratings for how well you match e.g. a 4 for ‘strong evidence’ down to a 1 for ‘insufficient or negative evidence’. This scoring key may vary depending on your FRS but the methodology will be similar.
If you answer the questions in the right way (irrespective of the content of your example, we’re just looking at the format of your delivery) then it will make it much easier for the assessors to evaluate how well your evidence matches the criteria they are comparing you to.
These types of questions and this type of scoring system makes an interview more scientific because it is based on evidence more than opinion. It is therefore more objective, fair and defensible.
Getting the most from your scores
- The better the match between the question and your answer, the more likely it is that your interviewers can measure you against their criteria. Then they only have to decide how strongly you match. If your answer doesn’t match the question, it won’t matter how strong your answer is, it won’t be relevant to the criteria so it will get a weak score.
- Stay focused to make sure that what you are saying remains relevant. If you go off on a tangent, you will drift away from giving evidence in relation to their criteria.
- If you haven’t prepared, you could find it very difficult to come up with decent examples on the spot. This will damage your potential to score highly, so being prepared with a selection of examples at the front of your mind is the only reliable strategy.
You have to be exceptional to get through interview. If you don’t prepare you will almost certainly lose out to someone who did.
We’ve worked with a lot of firefighters who sign up to our services still half thinking they are on the right track; it is only once they see the information we provide that they realise how close they came giving a poor interview.
We are experts in what to expect and how to prepare and we can help you with your interview. Our interview workbook and e-learning modules will give you exercises to practice and example answers. We can also provide personalised feedback on your work so you know exactly what you need to do to prepare.
The interview is where you get to showcase your potential. Too many candidates waste this opportunity by not taking some very straightforward steps
Competency/ PQA interviews will be used throughout your FRS career, and beyond. This means that once you have applied our guidance to improve your interview skills you can benefit again and again.
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These articles will cover all aspects of the promotion process….