You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Job Interview’ tag.

Many government selection panels will give you 15 – 20 minutes to peruse the questions and think of answers before you meet the interview panel.  Good preparation to anticipate questions (especially examples of achievements to demonstrate your capabilities) will assist to maximise this time. Remember that you can take notes with you into this perusal time.

This is a sample sheet that I give to my clients to help them to prepare for interview.









SHAPES STRATEGIC THINKING  (What are the five key messages  that I must get across in relation to this capability?)






EXAMPLE:  (What is the most relevant example I have to demonstrate this capability –  which shows that I have addressed these 5 points)







































Good Luck preparing for your next interview.



Leadership Capability Frameworks are used by organisations to identify the types of capabilities and behaviours expected of their leaders.  Reviewing a framework should give you ideas about achievements to list in your résumé, and appropriate ‘leadership’ words to use.  If the particular organisation where you are applying for a job does not have a framework , there are many frameworks that you can use to prompt your thinking. For example:

1 . Health

NHS Leadership Qualities Framework

2. Education

Education Queensland

Victorian Education

3. Public Service

Australian Public Service  

Glasgow City Council

4.  Business

SHL Leadership Model

If you are applying for a leadership role, your language should reflect that you have shown leadership. Your resume and job interview should show that you are a person
who has ‘ succeeded in …..’ ‘initiated ……..’, ‘championed…………….’, ‘worked in partnership…………….’  etc.  Here is a list of verbs to have in your repertoire:

  •   Championed


  • Positioned


  •   Promoted


  • Anticipated


  •   Modelled


  • Capitalised


  •   Led


  • Focussed


  •   Inspired


  • Nurtured


  •   Motivated


  • Created


  •   Translated


  • Integrated


  •   Challenged


  • Oversaw


  •   Defined


  • Drove


  •   Ensured


  • Delegated


  •   Enabled


  • Built


  •   Sustained


  • Negotiated


  •   Resolved


  • Identified


  •   Represented


  • Mentored and Coached


  •   Took responsibility


  • Committed to action


  •   Established


  • Galvanised


  •   Persisted


  • Overcame


  •   Consulted and Listened


  • Acknowledged


  • Reflected


  •   Achieved

Any other suggestions?

In yesterday’s Courier Mail’s Careerone (p3) the following  was suggested by Phillip Hesketh as a way to end a job interview:

“When you’re being interviewed just say ‘Before I go, on a scale of one to 10, where one is you wish you hadn’t interviewed me, and 10 is you want to offer me the job, where are we?’  ‘Not where am I, but where are we?’

‘They might say ‘eight’.  “And you say, ‘OK, what do we have to do to get it to a 10’.”

I haven’t yet seen a candidate try this – but I notice that this type of question (e.g. ‘Do you have any reservations about my skills that I could address for you?’)  is being used more often by candidates at the end of job interviews . Trying to clarify any misgivings the interviewer may have is a good idea. However, you may find this question doesn’t work when:

  • it sounds like you read it in a ‘how to attend job interviews book and you thought you’d give it a try
  • it comes across as an overly arrogant sales pitch
  • you have already used up your interview time and this question is just a further indicator to the interviewer of your lack of time management and courtesy
  • the interview is conducted by a rigid ‘merit based’ panel process, where panel members may feel that you have had ample opportunity to present what you have to offer, and that responding to this type of question just allows you an unfair advantage

Job interviewers have differing styles, preferences and biases about how to conduct interviews and what to look for in candidates. Some will see it as bad form if candidates do not ask questions.  Others run very tight processes that dont allow time for candidates to seek out any futher information.  These are my tips:

  • questions are a way to engage in a more personal and real way with an interviewer, and can show that you have researched their Company and thought about how you could fit.
  • check out the interviewer’s body language when they ask ‘Do you have any questions?’ See if they are relaxed and truly looking for you to ask questions – or turning the page, shuffling and looking at their Blackberry/watch.
  • if you ask a question, make sure that it is something that you are genuinely interested in about the job, and shows a high level of research and analysis about the Company.  Maybe:  ‘ I notice your Company/Department has just acquired ……………… In my last assignment in Economics I did a lot of reading about…………………Will there be opportunities in the first year to have a placement in this new area?’
  • definitely do not ask for information about something that is readily available to you by internet research about the Company. Most employers put out a lot of information about their graduate programmes, so it is very lame to ask basic questions like, ‘How many rotations will I have in the first year?’  
  • avoid just saying ‘No’. Maybe the best way to end is to say in your own words:  ‘Thank you, I don’t have any questions but I do want to thank you for the opportunity to attend this interview.  I have attended Career Fairs and spoken to people from your company, followed discussions on your Graduate Facebook page and online chat sessions, and read about the experiences of your previous graduates. I am confident that your Company is where I would like to start a career. If it is all right with you may I quickly summarise what I have to offer?’ Then follow this up with three key attributes that you can bring to the Company (sometimes referred to as your ‘thirty second sell’).


Good Luck with your Graduate application and interview.

When you are engaging someone to assist you with the writing of selection criteria, you need to decide if you require a basic or more expert level of support.

The basic level of support includes providing information to a writer, who will then take this information and ensure it is well presented, and in the appropriate format.

If you need more expert assistance, including understanding recruitment processes and selection criteria, you may need to engage the services of a ‘job coach/writer’ with recruitment and human resource experience.  A good job coach will brainstorm with you to find your most complex and relevant examples for the advertised role.

For example, when addressing the criteria/capability ‘personal drive and integrity’, I will ask my clients questions like:

  • When have you enthusiastically attended or organised training in relation to Values, Code of Conduct, Ethics, Respectful (harassment-free and non-discriminatory) Workplaces, Fraud or Conflict of Interest?
  • When have you taken on roles to show your commitment to quality workplaces (e.g. harassment contact officer)?
  • Can you think of a time when you have identified something that needed to be improved in your team, then went and did something about it?
  • Tell me about some times when you have been given a difficult job (lack of staff, tight deadlines, technology problems…..), but stuck at it and achieved a good result?

If the vacancy is a team leadership role, I will be looking for higher-level examples, through questions such as:

  • What have you done to ensure everyone in your team has had the appropriate corporate training? Have you ever introduced a ‘Values’ training session to show your Agency’s commitment to these Values?
  • What do you do in your team meetings to show that you are committed to non-discriminatory workplaces?
  • Have you identified, investigated or worked with corporate service teams to resolve harassment of fraud or code of conduct matters?
  • When have you been selected to undertake a challenging project?

For senior leadership roles, examples that are more significant will be sought through discussing:

  • What have you done to ensure your division/Department has shown leadership in engaging and retaining employees?
  • Where have you identified something that would enhance a new policy initiative and worked across divisions or with other government departments to make this happen?
  • What have you done to build a culture that reinforces appropriate risk-taking, initiative and personal resilience?

Following this brainstorming, it is important to select examples that are most relevant to the advertised role, and to present these concisely within the word limit.

For more tips on addressing selection criteria – please subscribe to this blog (top left corner).

For expert assistance with writing your claims against selection criteria, you can contact me at


If a candidate gets to the ‘Interview’ stage for a government job, they should expect to be interviewed by a panel (committee) of two or three people. Usually each of the panel members will ask questions and take notes during the interview. Sometimes there will be an extra person in the room who has the role of scribe/selection support. The scribe will take detailed notes throughout the interview. When the candidate has left the interview, the selection panel will discuss responses to the questions and decide how well the candidate meets the selection criteria. The panel may use the notes that the scribe has taken to assist them to recall the candidate’s responses. The scribe will note the panel’s findings and at the end of all of the interviews will draft a Selection Report. The Selection Report details each candidate’s performance against the criteria, and may include a comparison of the most highly ranked candidates.

In some interviews, the scribe has solely a recoding role, and the committee fully details exactly what the scribe is to write. In most cases, the scribe will be a person with considerable HR/recruitment experience, and may provide significant advice and support to the selection committee (especially an inexperienced selection panel).

As the scribe is not directly involved in the interview process, candidates do not need to maintain the same level of eye contact with them as with the selection panel. However, it is important that candidates show appropriate interpersonal skills by greeting and farwelling the scribe politely.


Employers – Please contact me if you need information about how to engage a selection scribe.

ph 0403766812    or 


Good job interview preparation includes anticipating what questions the interviewer may ask. In my job coaching service, I examine the job advertisement and documentation, and draft a set of possible interview questions that link to the vacancy. I coach my clients to structure good answers to these questions and talk about what other questions might be asked.

As all interviewers and interview panels have different preferences, it is impossible to predict exactly what will be asked in an interview. However, it is likely that candidates will be asked to talk about experience and past behaviours. The best candidates will be able to relate this to the job that they are applying for.

I suggest to my clients that they use a ‘CARLA’ approach as part of their interview preparation.

Think of 5-10 of your best achievements – make sure these are relevant to the role you are applying for, and are at the right level of complexity. For each of these achievements write down –

What was CHALLENGING or COMPLEX (strategically and operationally) about this project?

What ACTIONS did you take? Why?

What RESULTS (s) did you achieve? Was it the expected result?

What did you LEARN from this experience?

How can you APPLY what you have learnt to add value to the advertised role?

If you are using this interview preparation approach, it is best to have a CARLA for all the capabilities/criteria that you can identify (from the job documentation) that the employer is seeking. For example, for ‘Team Skills’, your achievement may be CHALLENGING/COMPLEX for any number of reasons – e.g. multidisciplinary team, everyone new to the team, need to produce an outcome in a short timeframe, project linked to a key organisational initiative, matrix structure, new or multiple changes to leadership, shared leadership, resource shortages, redundancies and downsizing of a team, large team, team dispersed across a number of locations, intercultural communication, history of conflict, team brought together from a several divisions, …………

When discussion ACTIONS, consider what factors were significant in the achievements of this team. You need to be ready to discuss what your role was in the team, what strengths you bought to the team, and show a good understanding of what makes an effective team. The factors that you may consider discussing include:

• How was clarity about how the team project fitted with strategic or business goals, and a team vision established?

• Was there a shared understanding of expected outcomes?

• How was awareness of team dynamics, different styles, strengths and weaknesses displayed?

• What strategies were adopted to enhance working together? – planning, prioritising, roles and responsibilities, work allocation, helping others, sharing knowledge

• What communication channels were most effective?

• Was there a focus on collaboration and cooperation?

• What conflict arose and what productive conflict management strategies were utilised?

• Were stress management and celebration of successes relevant?

• How were Values, Code of Conduct, and flexible work practices managed?

• What was the role of respect, tolerance, non – discriminatory work practices, trust and confidence?

• How did team members (and you) display initiative, a solutions focus, resilience and a receptiveness to change?

• How did the team manage setbacks? risks? health and safety issues?

• How did the team monitor and evaluate their effectiveness?


Contact me at   or 0403766812

Send me your draft resume, and details of any job/s that you are interested in.  Tell me if you need to work on your application (covering letter, resume or selection criteria) or if you need interview practice. I can provide a no obligation free quote.

My specialty is coaching people for job interviews. I enjoy assisting people to win jobs – and would love to hear from you.





How well could you answer the following?

  • Describe your negotiation style.
  • What do you think are the skills of an effective negotiator?
  • Tell us about a time when you successfully negotiated an outcome in difficult circumstances. What process did you use?

Use the points in the presentation by Tony Wittingham to use as a stimulas for your answers.

See SLIDESHARE for the original presentations.

By kktv


by Mayur Kachhadiya


by subin.john

j0179967Statement of Claims against the Selection Criteria

In today’s competitive job market, aspiring employees must have well-tailored, well-written job applications.

While many public sector Agencies in Australia are reducing the amount of writing required for job applications – most still require candidates to do some analysis of their skills/capabilities/experience and to write about these according to prescribed selection criteria (i.e. to write a ‘statement of claims’ against the selection criteria). Thus, writing a public sector job application can feel like doing an assignment. Unlike school or University assignments where students must sign that the work is their own, employers rarely require any such acknowledgement with job applications.  This opens the door for people with expert knowledge of government selections to become professional job application writers.

Job applicants can spend many hours attending training and reading about how to address selection criteria, and then edit and re-edit to get the content and layout just right. For most candidates, this means well over 10 hours per application.  Alternatively, they may consider it a good investment to hire a professional to write their application.

The Job Application Process – More than Just a Resume

One of my clients recently paid about $300 for a ‘resume writer’ (found through an internet search) to prepare her statement of claims for a government position.  She told me that she got an interview through this application, but froze during the interview.  She felt she did not understand the selection criteria and what the selection committee expected.  I had a look at the papers (resume and selection criteria statement) that had been written for her.  The writer had done an excellent job in capturing my client’s experience and making an argument as to why she was a very suitable candidate for the role. My client will be able to cut and paste from this document and use this for future applications.  With a better understanding of what selection panels look for with common selection criteria and some interview coaching, I am sure she will soon secure a job. 

Another client came to me for job interview coaching. She was particularly stressed because she had been advised that a written test would be conducted just prior to the interview. I had a look at her application.  She had excellent qualifications and experience, and her resume and statement of claims were well-written.   Based on this, with a few tips on how to manage written job tests, she should have had no trouble with a written test.  She admitted that she had received considerable assistance with her written application, and that she did not really have the level of writing skills required for the role. 

The message from these two stories – the written application is only one part of the selection process.  No amount of professional assistance with writing claims against selection criteria will help if a candidate is not able to complete other job assessment tasks at the required level.

Resume Writer Fees

If a candidate decides to hire a professional to prepare their application, they can expect to pay over $300. I did a search today to find current fees in Australia. Usually the client can choose different packages to suit their needs.  For example, one company says that they will prepare ‘ready to lodge applications from just $285 (incl. selection criteria, cover letter & resume tidy)’.  Another consultant lists the costs for an experienced job seeker (ie with over 2 years work experience) as follows:

‘Professional Resume via Phone/Email: $295
Professional Resume with Face-to-Face Consultation: $395
Customised Cover Letter: $95
Selection Criteria Responses: $70 per criteria’

A third provider lists their charges as, ‘Selection criteria response: typically from $250. New résumés from about $150’.

Most writers will ask many questions so they can understand the client’s skills and experience. They won’t make up things (hopefully), but should use their expertise to match what a candidate has to offer to the advertised role. 

Is it Fair/Ethical to Use a Resume Writer to Prepare a Ready to Lodge Job Application?

In the ideal world, all candidates would have equality of opportunity to present their claims. The reality is that candidates have different levels of familiarity and knowledge of the selection criteria process. Candidates also have different access to expertise to assist them to prepare applications, and different levels of comfort about ‘blowing-their-own-trumpet’.

It could be argued that professional job application writers level the playing field for those external (non-public sector) applicants who have had no prior experience with analysing selection criteria.

Where employers use open selection processes that favour candidates who know how to address selection criteria, the professional job application writer will thrive.


Are you struggling to write the application? Need some ideas on how to address selection criteria? Do you feel you let yourself down at job interviews?

Do you want coaching from an experienced human resource professional? Do you need someone who understands the Intergrated Leadership System (Australian Government)  or Capability Leadership Framework (Queensland Government)?

Contact me at   or 0403766812

Send me your draft resume, and details of any job/s that you are interested in.  Tell me if you need to work on your application (covering letter, resume or selection criteria) or if you need interview practice. I can provide a no obligation free quote.

My specialty is coaching people for job interviews. I enjoy assisting people to win jobs – and would love to hear from you.  


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 95 other followers

Employers- Please contact me about doing job application training for groups at your workplace. ph 0403766812 or

Find me at CAMILLS59 on SlideShare

Find me on Twitter -ApplyingforaJob