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Planning a better future
Planning a better future

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4.4 What employers want

Many employers are moving towards a competency-based style of assessment for evaluating candidates. This requires the candidate to adopt a particular approach if they are going to be successful. There are definite techniques that can be employed to greatly increase the chances of passing this stage. The first hurdle may be a difficult one, because many employers’ questionnaires are specifically designed to fail a certain percentage of applicants.

Competencies are the criteria that employers set for each job. They show what you ‘can do’. Stating this is not enough – employers want you to demonstrate your competencies through evidence. Some job descriptions don’t mention competencies at all, and talk instead about skills. Many employers use the terms ‘skills’ and ‘competencies’ interchangeably, so don’t worry too much about this. The basis of competency-based assessment is that if you can demonstrate you did something in the past then you can do it in the future.

As noted, in Block 2, a good technique to use when answering questions on application forms or at interview is STAR:

  • Situation: What was the situation and when did it take place?
  • Task: What task was it, and what was the objective?
  • Action: What action did you take to achieve this?
  • Results: What happened as a result of your action?

When considering which example from your experience to select when answering a particular question, it might be helpful to use the RAPPAS technique as a guide:

  • Relevant: Ensure your answer is describing the skill being asked for.
  • Action: Make sure you include something that you actually did, as opposed to what you learned, or what you might do in a hypothetical situation.
  • Personal: It is most important to state what you did, as opposed to saying what other people did or what happened.
  • Positive: The answer will read better if the situation has a positive outcome.
  • Appropriate: The example needs to be something you can talk comfortably about if asked for more detail.
  • Specific: If the question asks for an example, then only one should be described, not a composite of several.

You've now completed Section 4 - well done! We hope that you have found your study useful and are motivated to carry on with the course. Remember, if you pass the quiz at the end of each block you will be able to download a badge as evidence of your learning and a statement of participation that recognises your completion of the whole course.