Competency based application help – words/phrases.

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  • Competency based application help – words/phrases.
  • Premier Icon bearnecessities

    So “tell me about a time you did x”

    250 words, Situation, Task, Action & Result format in 4 different competency headers. All the engaging with folk, making effective decisions usual stuff.

    Done ok in the past with these, but now really need to bring out ‘behaviours’ more as last application got sifted out for being too process’y’, which looking back at it, it was.

    Any suggestions for top words/phrases that stand out in these applications?


    Premier Icon bearnecessities

    Shameless bump, had a rotten day of writing process drivel.

    Promotion applications are such a toxic process 🙁

    Premier Icon footflaps

    I was able to overcome..
    My significant contribution was….
    I resolved the issues by…
    I took control and…

    Normal stuff e.g. The project was significantly behind schedule when I joined the team. I immediately identified the problem as weak leadership, so tool the team leader outside and killed him with a 9mm shell to the back of the head. On returning to the team, I instilled renewed vigour and focus and was able to motivate the team to complete the project on time and to schedule, whilst only having to terminate one more team member for slovenly behaviour. I felt that due to my leadership (and ownership of an illegal firearm) I was able to obtain far more from the team than had been anticipated and turn a no win role into a win-win situation (for me).

    Premier Icon bearnecessities

    Fantastic. Needed that, thanks! 😆

    Premier Icon flap_jack

    I need to bookmark this thread.


    Yeah, good stuff from footflaps.
    You’ve got to explain how you took charge, identified an issue, came up with a solution, resolved it. Make sure you explain how you helped other people understand what the solution was so everyone could work towards it. It’s no good explaining how you entered a darkened room then jumped out three days later with the answer. Employers want to know you will educate, explain, help.

    So use words like educate, understand, explain, assist, drive, change, embed.

    If any of your responses revolve around helping move a team forwards then make sure you use words like listen, feedback, tune, practise, involve, combined, etc.

    Hope you get the job.
    Is it this one?

    Premier Icon bearnecessities

    Love you all 😉

    Thanks, just need to get used to writing in this style.


    Led by example, gained buy in from staff, gave vision and direction, created strong work ethos, coached and mentored, encouraged innovation and ownership etc etc.

    Hope it goes well…done enough competency applications, sifts and interviews to last me a lifetime!

    Top tip:
    Avoid words like “Competency”.


    Just say you ring fenced the unicorn

    Good advice up there tbh
    Its about noticing the problem, engaging folk, overcoming barriers, implementing change and getting results etc

    Each question is intended to enable you to give you an example when you have demonstrated a specific skill, competency or attribute they’re looking for. The trick is to try to understand what skills/competence/skill they are looking for in the candidate. Sometimes they tell you in advance of the interview, or you can ask them before the interview and they should tell you in the interview. This will allow you to Taylor your answers and the example you choose to give. I’ve been both an interviewer and interviewee of this style of interview. There is a bit of a knack to them, but they take out a bit of subjectivity of the interview process.

    Premier Icon bearnecessities

    Thanks, will worry about interview if I get through sift 😉

    It’s the right behavioral words/phrases I need atm 😀


    S ituation
    O bjective
    A ctions
    R esult

    is the format my company uses against ‘Capabilities’

    The interview questions usually go like this (the applicant knows which 2 of 7 capabilities will be covered, so has time to prepare..)

    Can you give a recent and relevant example of when you demonstrated *good customer service* (or other capability)

    The advice I was given was that any action must have a good reason or why would you do it, and also always say ‘I’ instead of ‘We’, even if you were part of a team.

    Also word the objective as simply as possible. if there are multiple elements group them together into a single phrase.

    Aftermath is about reviewing the whole scenario and seeing if there was another way in which the outcome or result could have been achieved.

    Scenario’s don’t always need a successful outcome but you wouldn’t want to use a failure as an example in an interview, would you?

    ..oh and like Yoda says, ‘Do or Do not, there is no ‘try”’.


    Oh and Bear, I just read about your worry about using the correct phrases etc.

    Use ‘Above the line’ communication and ‘Towards’ language..
    (you hear people in the media use it all the time)

    What the hell does that mean?

    ‘Above the line’ is positive and not negative words
    e.g ‘I was excited to learn that we had won the new contract’
    not: ‘Our company is more secure because we avoided losing this contract’.

    ‘Towards’ is about going forwards to achieve a goal rather than avoid a failure.

    e.g. ‘I focussed the team on surpassing our quarterly finance objectives’
    rather than: ‘we managed to avoid being in the bottom three for the second year running’.

    Sounds a bit like BS? Maybe, but the words you use will tell your interviewer what kind of mindset you have.

    Premier Icon bearnecessities

    Yup, that’s the kind of BS – thankfully it doesn’t come naturally!

    It’s the written part at the moment, so still useful tips thanks.


    Sounds a bit like BS? Maybe, but the words you use will tell your interviewer what kind of mindset you have.

    One full of BS. 😀

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