In discussions with officers from many forces over the last few weeks (especially GMP, PSNI & MPS), it’s becoming clear that forward facing or situational questions are coming ever more popular again in police promotion processes. Lots of forces are now including them either as the only question type used or in combination with more ‘traditional’ past facing questions.
This is bad news for the majority of officers as, although most officers know that STAR or SOAR are appropriate structure models to use to help with past facing interview questions (even though the reality is they do not use these models effectively at all), in our experience at bselectedpolice the quality of answers to forward facing questions is at best poor and at worse – atrocious. We’ve heard some shockers.
What are forward facing questions and why are they used?
The premise of using forward facing questions in a selection process is that they allow the board to assess your intent to behave, which then predicts your future performance. This is a different methodology to past facing questions which are used on the premise that your past performance predicts your future performance. It’s also worth noting that often (but not always) forward facing questions are used to assess the value-based competencies as well as behavioural competencies.
So, in a forward-facing question, your answer hasn’t happened yet – it’s in the future and in our experience, this creates TOTAL PANIC in promotion candidates with them having little or no idea how to approach them. The consequences of this are rambling answers, based on nothing in particular and mostly never answering the question asked (which is the number one rule of any interview). To be frank, forward facing questions are answered abysmally and are a major reason for many many candidates failing their boards.
How Should You Prepare for Forward Facing Questions?
The simple advice on how to approach answering forward facing questions is to remember that they are competency based. This fact seems to bypass most candidates. So if you do nothing else – remember this.
Because they are competency based, all the rules of how to effectively answer a past facing question still apply. And, notably how the board assesses your answers should also stay the same i.e., assessment should be objective and not biased or subjective (but in our opinion this is shall we say… variable!)
So, to answer forward facing questions effectively;
- You need to have the correct content in your answers – based on the CVF,
- use a structure that makes it easy for you to frame the content and that allows the assessors to understand you and follow where you are trying to take them in your answers.
- finally, your answers will need to be delivered with impact if they are to be as effective as they can. This often also takes a hit in forward facing questions as the candidate are just not confident in what they are saying. Good assessors can sniff this fear at 1000 paces.
The problem here is that structures used for a past facing question (STAR/SOAR), simply don’t work. You need something else.
bselectedpolice recognised this over 10 years ago and so designed our own unique structure to help officers answer forward facing questions. This structure is REDSTaR©.
REDSTaR© is a game changer as it allows officers to prepare for any forward-facing question prior to their board, negating the need to ‘wing’ it on the day which is often the go to (but ultimately flawed) strategy.
With our REDSTaR© structure we give you step by step guidance on how to write strong answers for any forward-facing question – in essence we show you how to create answer templates that will maximise your chance of success. The beauty of REDSTaR© is that it also works for briefings and presentations if they are part of you board.
In our opinion here at bselectedpolice Towers, forward facing questions are actually easier to answer well compared to past facing questions – but ONLY if you have the correct structure to help you.
All our coaching options include the REDSTaR© structure, so they will all make a significant difference to your success. If you would like more information on how REDSTaR© can help you, give us a call on 0161 327 2126 – we are always happy to chat.