6.1 How to present well in an appeal

The PRSB has heard many appeals against promotions and transfers. PRSB Members have put together some suggestions on how to present well in an appeal, noting some common pitfalls.

 

Before the Appeal: Make sure your application for the position is strong

Use the first section of your application to highlight work experience which is relevant to this position. This could include experience inside or outside of Victoria Police or leadership and voluntary roles. Set out your qualifications, education and professional development as well as any commendations, awards or achievements. Make sure your application is up to date and includes recent secondments and upgrading and all your qualifications including those currently being undertaken.
The section on claims to the position is your opportunity to show that you understand what is needed to succeed in this position, and that you are the right person for it. You should read the Position Profile and think about what is really needed to do well. You should then set out how your experience, qualifications, knowledge and leadership will mean you will perform strongly in the role. It will help if your written KSC responses are clear and well-structured.
Impressions matter, so check your grammar and spelling and ask someone to proof-read for you. It is important that your application is clear, well-structured and formatted appropriately.

 

Higher duties and secondments

If you have had periods of higher duties/up-grading/secondment, especially for long periods, show how you used that opportunity to learn and develop your leadership capabilities. (Did you just ‘keep the seat warm’ or did you actively engage with the responsibilities of the position and rank? How?)
Higher duties are a good opportunity to acquire leadership and management skills and experience which can help you achieve promotion. We know there may be barriers to accessing these assignments. Remember there are other ways to show your abilities and leadership potential. Natural leaders don’t wait for promotion; they show initiative, innovation and problem-solving all the time.
Show your leadership qualities, such as how you use your initiative, solve problems, go ‘above and beyond’, develop yourself and others and model Victoria Police values.

 

Keep a record of your achievements

Keep a record of your work and personal achievements, which will help you in selections and appeals. This could be a diary, an excel spreadsheet or a physical or electronic notebook. This record will help you prepare application sand to answer questions in interviews and appeals.

 

Professional development, leadership education and Victoria Police strategies and initiatives

The PRSB Member wants to know about your commitment to learning and professional development, how you keep up to date with contemporary policing methods and support Victoria Police strategies and initiatives.
There is a range of excellent on-line learning modules and other internal and external learning opportunities available to help you ensure your approaches and methods are current and best-practice. For example, if you are seeking promotion to sergeant, you should complete training which will help you succeed at this rank. For general duties roles, such training includes the following.

• Brief quality assurance • Safe-T-Net
• Safe-T-Net • Responding to family violence
• Policing the liquor industry • Field coaching
• Introduction to emergency management • Ethical health workshop

If you have undertaken leadership training (such as the Sergeant’s Qualifying Program or the
Police Manager Qualifying Program) it is a good idea to re-read your course materials and think
about how you can demonstrate that you apply the skills, methods and frameworks you were
taught, in areas such as the following.
 

• coaching and mentoring • judgement and decision-making
• workplace harm • critical thinking
• safety and welfare • strategic thinking
• people development • planning and resource management
• communicating with influence • communicating with influence
• change management • dispute and complaint resolution

Make sure information about your career and study is included
Many police officers have gained valuable work and life experience outside Victoria Police. You can draw from that experience when answering questions in the appeal. Similarly, many people hold tertiary or other qualifications or are currently undertaking study which may be highly relevant to the position or demonstrate your ability to learn and analyse and present information.
You may be asked about how you would apply relevant knowledge in the new position. Make sure that all information about your work history, qualifications and current or partially completed study is included in your KSC Submission Form.

 

Listen carefully – answer the question you were asked

The PRSB Member wants to know how well you listen and think on your feet. You will be assessed on how you answer the question you were asked. If you go off-track or provide irrelevant answers (no matter how impressive) you will not rate well. The PRSB Member has your application, and even if your written KSC example is relevant to the question asked, use a different example to demonstrate diversity.
Listen carefully to the question, and answer the question being asked.
It is fine to ask for the question to be repeated. You can write it down or pause before answering. You may ask for time to gather your thoughts. You may feel nervous. Don’t worry, allowances are made.

 

Evidence, evidence, evidence!

It is easy to make sweeping claims (I'm an excellent mentor; I'm the go-to person at the station; I'm a welfare-focused leader) but without evidence to back it up, claims to ‘greatness’ don’t count for much.
The PRSB Member is looking for you to show real examples of when and how you have demonstrated your capabilities and for you to point to the material in the Selection File which supports your claims (for example, commendations, achievements in your past roles).

 

Slow down and focus on the important things

When answering questions, speed talking makes it hard for the PRSB Member to take notes and risks losing the 'pearls' in large volume of information. A good idea is to follow the PRSB Member's pen: if you can see them racing to take notes, you are speaking too quickly.
If you don't understand the question, ask for it to be repeated and write it down. Think carefully before you answer (it is okay to pause to gather your thoughts).

 

Draw your best examples from your whole experience

Use the best example that answers the question. Choose a contemporary example with enough complexity to showcase the higher-level skills and approaches expected for the relevant rank. This is usually an example from your recent work.
You may use relevant examples from work outside Victoria Police or volunteer or community work, for example, to demonstrate leadership, problem-solving or initiative.

 

Talk through how you think and approach problem-solving

The PRSB Member wants to understand how you approach a situation or task and solve problems.
The STAR (Situation/Task/Action/ Result) method of answering questions gives you the opportunity to show your thinking (see 5.2 of this Guide). Remember, you need to show the approach expected at the rank, so make sure your example is sufficiently complex. A good approach is to ‘tell the story’.
Give the context: Explain the situation or problem. Why was it a problem? How big?

Explain your thinking:

  •  What factors and issues did you consider before deciding what to do?
  •  How did you come up with the idea or response that you did?
  •  Was there more than one option?
  •  How and why did you choose the option you did?
  •  Who did you consult?
  •  What were your considerations and concerns?
  •  What action did you take? What was the result (impact)?
  •  What changed?
  •  Was this what you expected?
  •  On reflection, would you do anything differently?

Don’t exaggerate or minimise your achievements
Don’t be tempted into exaggerating the role you played in an outcome. Never claim credit for something you didn’t do, and don’t provide misleading information. PRSB Members are good at sensing this and will question you and seek to verify information (for example, by asking the LPR or your manager).
If you are caught out, it will cause you significant embarrassment and damage your reputation (this has happened to others). Serious incidents of seeking to deceive in the selection or appeal process may be referred to Professional Standards Command for investigation.
On the other hand, don’t sell yourself short by being too modest about your achievements. Be specific, clear and honest about the role you played and the level of your responsibility and contribution.

 

Don’t exaggerate or minimise your achievements

Don’t be tempted into exaggerating the role you played in an outcome. Never claim credit for something you didn’t do, and don’t provide misleading information. PRSB Members are good at sensing this and will question you and seek to verify information (for example, by asking the LPR or your manager).
If you are caught out, it will cause you significant embarrassment and damage your reputation (this has happened to others). Serious incidents of seeking to deceive in the selection or appeal process may be referred to Professional Standards Command for investigation.
On the other hand, don’t sell yourself short by being too modest about your achievements. Be specific, clear and honest about the role you played and the level of your responsibility and contribution.

 

Practise and seek feedback

Practise answering interview questions with a colleague, friend or family member using the Transfer and Promotion Unit Guide to Behavioural Interviews. Have a mentor or colleague read over your key claims. Ask for feedback. Consider seeking professional help if you have struggled with interviews in the past (the Employee Assistance Program is a good place to start).