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Advertorial: Pattern of promotion success

This is the third in a six-part series of Police Promotion articles, ?b? the best you can be, provided by
Published - 05/06/2017 By - Ben Ewart and Neil James

In this series, Director’s Ben Ewart and Neil James take you through their pattern of promotion success, covering here the ‘Key Elements of a High Scoring Answer’. Over the series we will cover the different assessment types, ‘Selling Yourself’, Presentation stage and Verbal Reasoning/Situational Judgement tests.

In our Police Oracle promotion series so far we have covered an overview of the police promotion process, different assessment types and the principle of competency based assessment (which is really important to understand).

In this article we introduce you to part of our ‘five key elements of a high scoring answer’.

Many officers are frustrated with what they perceive to be a disparity between how their performance is viewed by in the workplace, for example by their line manager, and the outcome of a central selection promotion process, particularly at paper application or interview stage.

This is largely due to a lack of understanding of what the central selection process is measuring. 

Day-to-day performance in role is in the main assessed on operational competence and effectiveness. Demonstrating good leadership qualities is of course important, but we find more often than not officers are assessed on their ability to do the job at hand well, especially when considered for temporary promotion positions.

Central selection is different. This is all about an individual’s ability to lead their people in line with the values of the organisation. Individuals must understand the journey the organisation needs to take in both the short and long term and have the leadership behaviours to get there, inspiring, motivating and developing themselves and others along the way.

Central selection is about leadership behaviour – focusing on your interaction with people, with an increasing reference to emotional intelligence – or as I describe during leadership coaching sessions - the ability to demonstrate both awareness (self and social) and responsibility. One is no good without the other.

How Can I be Successful?

To be successful in a central selection promotion process it is important to understand how to demonstrate these behaviours, what the marker or assessor is looking for, and not rely on the fact that you can do your day job well or even exceptionally. You need to be able to talk the talk and not just walk the talk

We help clients master this and focus their preparation with our ‘Five Key Element of a High Scoring Answer’. Here we will look at the first three elements – the core ingredients you need to achieve a competent and coherent answer.

The first key element is competency. You have to understand the principles of competency based assessment before you start your preparation. The vast majority of candidates do not start their preparation here and it’s often a cause of failure.

Second is the situational example. This needs to be your best evidence,. It is the work-placed example you will use as a platform, to demonstrate the relevant competency being assessed.

The third Key Element is rank profile (or in the case of non-promotion interviews – role profile). Here you must ensure your example and behaviour is at the right level, for example the right balance between tactical and strategic. Remember, this process is more than demonstrating competence in your current rank. It’s about demonstrating potential in a more senior position within the organisation.

Competency is the first element because it is most important and you should start your preparation here. However, the reality for the vast majority of candidates is something different. Almost all candidates concentrate on the second key element – situational example – searching their investigations, incident logs, trying to recall that ‘one great promotion example’ they dealt with nine months ago on a night shift, paying little regard to the competency framework or rank profile.

Rank profile should relate to the National Occupational Standards, which sets out the standards and expectations for each rank. For example, a Sergeant is expected to supervisor and brief their team whereas an Inspector is expected to assume broader awareness and responsibility.

However, it is widely recognised that these standards are out of date as in most forces role and responsibility differs significantly. We coach officers to look at their examples from a different perspective – considering opportunities to demonstrate a broader impact other than simply the issue or incident at hand, linked to the force journey or vision. Strategic waffle won’t help, but articulating your wider considerations and potential certainly will.

It is important to understand how to introduce these topics effectively. Plan your preparation on the number of competencies in your framework. Understand what these competencies mean, how you will be assessed and how to demonstrate them in your responses throughout your process.

The bselectedpolice ‘five Key Element of a High Scoring Answer’ helps you to do this in a simple way,  focusing your responses to be in the high scoring range.

In our next Police Oracle article we will cover the importance of delivery and ‘selling yourself’.

We are passionate about helping officers maximise their performance and work towards promotion success. This isn’t an easy journey whatever the assessment type or selection process.

bselectedpolice delivers nationwide promotion Masterclasses and personal coaching to officers across the UK, including Police Scotland and PSNI, designed by a team of assessment and selection experts. For more information visit or call 0161 327 2126.


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