At bselectedpolice we have been delivering expert coaching on how to smash your promotion and selection processes for over 9 years (and for over 20 years in a corporate environment). It’s fair to say we know what we are doing.
Over the years we have refined our message and way of coaching a little, flexing with the requirements of each force as they amend their promotion processes.
However, one thing hasn’t changed in all that time and still absolutely underpins all that we do. This is that the theory of successful competency-based assessment is underpinned by the 3 Pillars of Promotion Success.
In our opinion this approach is the simplest way to maximise your chance of success, ensure you ‘b’ the best you can be and put you in the best position to pass you board.
The 3 pillars are content, structure and delivery. Let’s look at these in a little more detail:
Essentially there is a correct answer to the responses that you give in your board, whether this is in an interview, role play, in-tray, or any other exercise that they throw at you. The CONTENT of your response needs to be what the assessors are looking for, not what you think is a good answer. This CONTENT will always be based on the Competency & Values Framework at the level for the rank you are applying for.
In our experience, even when officers know that this should be the basis of the content of their responses, most omit it and the majority fail to even answer the question that has been asked. Therefore, it’s essential that you know in detail how you are assessed & marked. Your Human Resources or Work Force Development should be able to give you more detail on this.
To ensure that content of your responses is optimal, at bselectedpolice we talk of the 5 Elements of a High Scoring Answer. You need to ensure that your answer;
1) focuses on the relevant competency,
2) is framed with an appropriate situation,
3) is rank appropriate,
4) incorporates some broader thinking
5) and that it demonstrates organisational values & ethics.
Including all 5 of these elements helps you give a comprehensive and ‘rounded’ answer. Of course, it goes without saying you should always be preparing & selecting your very best evidence of your success. Have a read of this earlier blog that gives some tips on choosing your best examples by clicking here.
Structure is essential for both you and the assessors. It allows you to focus on the relevant CONTENT so the assessors can easily understand what you are talking about. Never underestimate how confusing it is to hear someone’s story when you were not there with them at the time.
The reality is that, in our experience, 99% of officers have a poor or non-existent structure. Most know that they need a structure, but even when this is the case, they still don’t use one, or at least are not effective in their use of one.
To put it simply if you don’t have structure you WAFFLE. If you waffle, you end up either not answering the question or the assessors will lose interest in you – more usually both.
The gold standard structure to use in a competency-based process is the STAR structure. You can find thousands of articles on this on the internet, so you may wish to check some out for yourself if you have not heard of STAR before.
However, in over 20 years of coaching STAR technique I have yet to see an article that explains the structure in enough detail and with enough simplicity to actually help candidates. More often than not, they have a complete lack of clarity and just serve to confuse.
The bselectedpolice STAR+ and REDSTaR© structures break down what you need to do in simple and understandable chunks to enable you to build great answers every time for both past and forward-facing questions.
Delivery is arguably the most important pillar. It’s all about being authentic. If you deliver you answers with some passion and impact you can sort of get away with less than perfect Content and Structure. However, if your delivery is lacking in passion or is inauthentic, you will struggle, no matter how good your content and structure is.
You have got to positively influence your assessors and take control of your interview. The importance of non-verbal communication is paramount here and often discounted by officers.
There is no doubt that DELIVERY is hugely important as it feeds into unconscious bias within your assessors. It could be argued that how you deliver an answer is less important than the content of your answer, but the harsh reality is that bias abounds in police promotion processes, so you need to take your delivery into account.
Our Online Learning Programme, Virtual Masterclasses or Personal Consultations are all based on these 3 Pillars of Success. Of course, we go into significantly more detail in these programmes to really maximise your effectiveness, but even if you don’t choose to invest in our coaching you should still have these pillars front and centre of your mind as you prepare for you board.