Read this Guide carefully, even if you have been involved in an appeal before. Some practices have changed. This Guide will help you put your best case forward.
Read the Position Profile and the relevant rank capability profile. Think about what kinds of experience, capabilities and personal qualities are being sought in the successful candidate.
Refresh your knowledge of relevant Victoria Police strategies and Values.
Practise answering interview questions. The Transfer and Promotion Unit Guide to Behavioural Interviews includes sample questions (see the Victoria Police intranet or contact the TPU). Ask a colleague, friend or family member to help you practise answering the sample questions and seek their feedback.
The PRSB has heard many appeals against transfers and promotions.
PRSB Members have put together the following suggestions to assist you, noting some common pitfalls.
Listen carefully and write down the question
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 study currently in progress.
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.
Answer the question you were asked
Answer the question you were asked. You will be assessed on relevance. If you go oﬀ-track or do not answer the question asked (no matter how impressive your example) you will not rate well.
You can refer to notes but are strongly discouraged from reading from a script. You might be tempted to give the same answer you gave in a previous panel, or to prepare a script beforehand that you give regardless of what you are asked. If you fail to answer the question you were asked you will be scored poorly.
The PRSB Member wants to know how well you listen, respond and think on your feet.
Talking too fast makes it hard for the PRSB Member to follow what you are saying and to take notes. You risk losing the 'pearls' of important 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.
Pause and emphasise important points.
Use your best examples from your whole experience
Use the best example that answer the question. This is usually an example from your recent work (the last few years).
You may use relevant examples from your career outside Victoria Police or volunteer or community work, for example, to demonstrate leadership, problem-solving or initiative.
Choose a contemporary example with enough complexity to showcase the higher-level skills and approaches expected for the relevant rank.
Show a diversity of examples
The PRSB Member has your application and the Panel report. You can re-use a KSC example from your application or interview, if it is relevant to the question asked. If you explore the same incident or project, make sure you highlight different capability aspects involved in the example, in a way which answers the question you were asked.
Remember the PRSB Member has already read the Selection File, so repeating information does not add anything new. If you can, use a different example to show diversity in your experience.
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).
The PRSB member might ask you for the name of a manager who can verify an example you have given.
Higher duties, secondments and showing leadership
If you have had periods of higher duties, formal up-grading or secondments, 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 higher rank? How has this equipped you for the position you are seeking now?
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.
Demonstrate your leadership qualities, showing how you use your initiative, solve problems, go ‘above and beyond’, develop yourself and others, and model Victoria Police values.
Structure your answer by telling the story
The PRSB Member wants to understand how you approach a situation or task and solve problems. You will be asked to demonstrate a particular capability or quality.
Make sure the example you choose showcases this capability or quality. Your answer must be relevant to the question asked.
The STAR (Situation/Task/Action/Result) method of answering questions gives you the opportunity to show your thinking.
Remember, you need to show the approach expected at the rank, so make sure your example is suﬃciently complex.
A good way of structuring your answer is to ‘tell the story’:
Explain the situation or task
- Give the context.
- Why was it a problem? How big?
- Why was it something that was important to address?
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 actions did you take?
What was the result (impact)?
- What changed?
- Was this what you expected?
- On reflection, would you do anything diﬀerently?
Structure your response and use linking phrases
Structure your answer by pausing between the points you are making and using “linking phrases” showing how your actions flowed in sequence. This helps the listener follow your story.
Examples of linking statements are: “The situation that faced me was…” “My first step was to consider …” “The next step was to….” “I had three main considerations: The first was… the second was… the final was…” “I then…” “The outcome was…” “My reflections are….”
Keep a record of your achievements
Keep a record of your work and personal achievements, to draw on in applications, interviews and appeals. This could be a diary, an excel spreadsheet or a physical or electronic notebook. This record will help you prepare your application. Read over it before your appeal so you have some examples fresh in your mind.
Practise and seek feedback
Practise answering interview questions with a colleague, friend or family member. Sample questions can be found on the relevant Capability Profile (External link). Ask for feedback.
Check your work
Proof read your application and written submissions carefully. Stick to the page limits. Do not adjust the margins. Ask a friend, manager or mentor to review your application and provide feedback.
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 CCR or your manager).
If you are caught out, it will cause you embarrassment and damage your reputation (this has happened to others). Serious incidents of seeking to deceive in the selection or appeal process will be referred to Professional Standards Command for investigation.
On the other hand, don’t sell yourself short by being too modest about your achievements. Sometimes people seek to emphasise good teamwork by discussing the matters as “we did “ or “we decided.” This can make it hard to understand your specific contribution.
Be specific, clear and honest about the role you played and the level of your responsibility and where you made your contribution.
Dealing with nerves
Everyone feels a bit nervous in an interview type process: butterflies are normal.
The PRSB Member is interested in what you have done and what you have to say. They will not try and trip you up, and they want you to feel comfortable and able to put your best examples and achievements forward. The aim is to choose who will succeed in the position, and that doesn’t necessarily mean the person who is the best public speaker.
If you lose your train of thought or go blank, ask for a moment to collect your thoughts. Don’t worry, this can happen to anyone.
Consider seeking professional help if you have struggled with interviews in the past (the Employee Assistance Program is a good place to start).
How long should you speak for?
There are no fixed time limits or recommendations.
Your response should not be too short
Sometimes people say very succinctly what they did, but don’t explain their thinking about why they chose the action that they did, or how they went about it. This doesn’t show the PRSB Member their thinking or the capability.
The response should not be too long
Sometimes people go right off track and talk about matters which are not relevant to the question. Sometimes people can ramble or provide too much background information. Sometimes people try and add in a lot of other things they have done that are irrelevant to the question.
A good response addresses the question asked. It will be well-structured, so it is easy to follow. You will say what you did, and explain how and why you did that, and the outcome.
If the PRSB Member feels you are repeating things or have covered the question, they will ask you to “wrap up” your answer. Before you close off your response: check your note of the question, and ask yourself, have I answered the question I was asked?