Completing a Competency Based Application Form
A Competency Based Application form requires you to describe some of your personal achievements to date that demonstrate certain competencies (necessary skills and qualities) required for the position you are applying for (e.g. Communication Skills, Planning and Managing Resources etc). All question areas must be completed and remember that you will be questioned on all areas at interview.
For each competency, you are given a description of a skill or quality. You are then asked to describe a situation, from your own experience, which you think is the best example of what YOU have done which demonstrates this skill or quality. It is essential that you describe how you demonstrated the skill or quality in question.
The information you present here may form part of a ranking exercise process, and may also be used to help structure your interview, if you are invited to one. A ranking exercise may apply based on the information you provide in your application form. This means that a ranking board will “rank” applicants based on information put forward in the supplementary questions section of your application form. Interviews may be held on a phased basis, inviting applicants to interview based on the position held in the ranking exercise. A primary panel will be formed of candidates successful in the first phase of interviews. If subsequent interviews are held candidates successful at these interviews will be added to the end of the primary panel and will be listed with a lower order of merit.
Therefore, compose your replies carefully in this section and try to structure what you write so that you give specific information about what you have done - for example, do not simply say that “X was successful”, describe exactly what you did and how you demonstrated the skill or quality in question.
For each example please include the following:
(a) the nature of the task, problem or objective;
(b) what you actually did and how you demonstrated the skill or quality (and, where appropriate, the date you demonstrated it)
(c) the outcome or result of the situation and your estimate of the proportion of credit you can claim for the outcome.
Please do not use the same example to illustrate your answer to more than two skill areas.
Please note that, should you be called to interview, the board may look for additional examples of where you demonstrated the skills required for this post so you should think of a number of examples of where you demonstrated each of the skills.
· You may use a word processor to reproduce these pages and type your replies
· It is recommended that you keep a copy of this section of the application form
Guidelines for Completing the Supplementary Questions
The Supplementary Questions are designed to help you to present relevant evidence in order that decision makers can evaluate how well you ‘fit’ the requirements of a particular role. Relevant evidence is usually drawn from your work experience and the way in which you have accomplished a range of activities. Those involved in screening the applications will be evaluating the information you give against specific skills required for effective performance in the role. To do this they need you to give enough detail so that they can tell what you actually did and how you did it.
The people doing the screening will not assume that you demonstrate a skill at the right level just because of your current role, length of experience or educational qualifications. These do not give enough evidence about how you accomplished relevant tasks.
So, if a question is about your approach to decision making, you need to do more than describe your current role and list important decisions you have made. You will need to describe how you reached relevant decisions.
Some guidelines for presenting yourself well are given below:-
Give specific examples – most questions will ask you to describe an example of when you have demonstrated a skill: try to do this concisely but with enough detail so that the reader will be clear about what you actually did. This detail might include information about timescales, the number of people involved, budgets etc. It can help to use bullet points to that the sequence of events is clear to the reader.
Give a range of examples – if possible, base your answers on different situations or challenges you faced rather than rely on just one experience. This helps the reader to evaluate how you tackle different challenges and not just your behaviour in a ‘one off’ situation.
Be concrete rather than theoretical – a clear description of how you actually behaved in a particular situation (and why) is of much more use to the reader than a vague or general description of what you consider to be desirable attributes.
Examples on how to complete this section of the application form
Skill Area: Communication Skills:able to adapt your communication style to particular situations and audiences….. able to produce clear and concise written information….
Example 1 (above):
This is not a good example because it:
- does not give sufficient details of exactly what the person did or how they actually demonstrated their “ effective communications skills”
- also, it is not clear where the information requested at (a), (b) and (c) (supplementary section) is presented.
Example 2 (above):
This is a better example because it:
- describes exactly what the person did and how they communicated, for example
“…..consultation, mainly over the phone and face-to face” & “developed a format for a summarised report, reducing the average length from 40 pages to just 10” “achieved this through careful editing of the information and increased use of graphs”. “encouraged clients to ask questions”
- also, it is clearer where the information requested at (a), (b) and (c) of the supplementary question section is presented.