This is the interview prompt I made for my (successful) SCS1 interview based on the conversation I had with my then Deputy Directors, one of whom had been involved in SCS1 recruitment and became a SCS2 shortly after I made it to SCS1 myself.
The picture below is of the whiteboard that was on the wall just to the left of my monitor. It was just off eyeline for the camera, but a quick glance was enough to remind me. I also had a OneNote notebook with each of my competency prompts in a separate tab on a second screen. When I’ve had face to face interviews I’ve printed it all out. The dark blue text on the interview prompt is generic to help with all answers. The green text on the bottom is about how to answer the question about what does being an SCS1 mean, and how that differs from G6.
Generic Answer Prompts
- Bottom line up front. Start with the conclusion, tell them what you achieved before giving the usual STAR example. This leaves space for you to keep it short, or test that you’ve answered the question properly.
- awful situation + I fixed that. For senior roles you need to show how dire things were, and how success was improbable and only your intervention saved the day.
- WHY DID I DO THAT? The most important part for senior roles is showing a conscious awareness of the options.
- Show options. You should demonstrate having chosen from more than one option to ensure the best possible outcome. The choice needs to have been based on assessing your success criteria rather than being random.
- Operating mode – directing, enabling etc. As a senior leader sometimes you need to draw on examples where other people did stuff. What you focus on is the impact you had on people, and whether you made them do stuff, encouraged, inspired, facilitated or something else. Again you need to be aware of having chosen a leadership stance appropriate to the situation and which made sure the team did what was necessary