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.

Make sure your application for the position is in good order

It will help you 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.

Make sure your Candidate Profile is up to date, well-formatted, outlines your key responsibilities and achievements in recent positions, indicates significant periods of secondment/upgrading and time-frames, includes your qualifications, current study and all relevant work experience.

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.

You may use relevant examples from work outside Victoria Police or volunteer or community work; for example, to demonstrate leadership, problem-solving or initiative.

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. People who go off-track, or provide irrelevant answers (no matter how impressive) will not rate well. So listen carefully, don’t read something prepared or repeat a written KSC example which is not relevant. It’s 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 am an excellent mentor;I’m the go-to person in the stationI am a people-focused leader) but without evidence to back it up, ‘claims to greatness’ don’t count for much.

The PRSB Member will be looking for you to show real examplesof when and how you have demonstrated your capabilities and for you to point to material in the Selection File which supports your claims (for example, PDA entries, commendations, achievements in your past roles).

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 part 5.2 above). 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?

Professional development, Victoria Police strategies and initiatives

The PRSB Member wants to know about your commitment to your learning and professional development, that you keep up to date with contemporary policing methods, and that you are meeting the expectations of Victoria Police in relation to policies, standards and new approaches.

Use your Candidate Profile and PDA to record your learning goals, activities and projects. Read about policing issues and attend conferences if you can.

Make sure you understand and engage with important organisational reforms (STAND/VEOHRC, Mental Health, major whole-of-organisation or divisional strategies and initiatives). Show that you know and follow the expectations placed upon you in your role.

There are a range of excellent on-line learning modules and other learning opportunities available to help you ensure your approaches and methods are current and best-practice.

 

 

Slow down and focus on the important things

The PRSB Member has read the Selection File so there is no need to repeat all of your service history, but do highlight particularly valuable experience (which could include work outside of Victoria Police).

Speed-reading from a long document makes it hard for the PRSB Member to take notes and risks losing the ‘pearls’ in a large volume of information. A good idea is to follow the pace of the Member’s pen: If you can see them racing to try and 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).

Leadership education

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:

coaching and mentoring, judgment and decision making, workplace harm, critical thinking, safety and welfare, strategic thinking, people development, planning and resource management, communicating with influence, change management, dispute and complaint resolution and stakeholder engagement. 

 

 

Check the file to make sure relevant information about your career and study is included

Many police officers have gained valuable work and life experience outside Victoria Police. You are encouraged to explore such relevant experience and transferable capabilities in the appeal.

 

Similarly, many people hold tertiary or other qualifications, or are currently undertaking study which may be highly relevant to the position. In your key claims presentation, explain how you would apply relevant knowledge in the new position. Check that information about your work history, qualifications and current study is included in your Candidate Profile (included in the Selection File).

 

 

Higher duties and secondment

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 in accessing these assignments. Remember there are other ways to show your abilities and potential. Natural leaders don’t wait for promotion; they show initiative, innovation and problem-solving all the time<

Show your leadership qualities in the appeal, such as how you use your initiative, can solve problems, go ‘above and beyond’, develop yourself and others, and model Victoria Police values.

 

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).

Use your PDA

The PRSB Member will understand that scores on your PDA are not the ‘be all and end all’ (managers can score differently). However, your PDA is a valuable source of information. It will help you in selections and appeals if you: use it well; keep it updated; seek relevant and verified contributions; set development and learning goals, and record your progress and achievements.

Focus on the specific needs of the position

In presenting your key claims, show that you understand what is needed to do well in the particular position. Show how your capabilities, experience and qualifications will help you succeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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, will question you and seek to verify information (for example, by asking the LPR or your manager to verify).

If you are caught out, it will cause you significant embarrassment and damage your reputation (this has happened to others).

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.