Civil Service Interview — Scope | Disability forum
Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

Civil Service Interview

shellbell20
shellbell20 Member Posts: 103 Courageous
edited September 27 in Work and employment
I have just had an interview with the Civil Service and it was a complete disaster, in fact, I felt embarrassed that I couldn't answer the questions asked. I don't know if anyone has the same thing happen. I do research before an interview. I practice questions that may be asked, however, once I am in the interview my nerves, anxiety tends to take over. Today I rambled on and on, talking quickly and then actually going off course from the given question. I am sure that my feedback will say, needs to listen to the question being asked.

 Now I am increasingly worried about any future interviews. I would say that rather than getting better with interviews, I am becoming more and more anxious and getting worse.  They say practice makes perfect but in my case, that is not true.  I would love any tips to calm down my nerves/anxiety so I can actually answer the given question in a calm logical way rather than sounding like a "Babbling Baboon"
  
Thanks in advance for any suggestions x
Tagged:

Comments

  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 5,377

    Scope community team

    Sorry to hear that you didn't feel as though they interview went well @shellbell20, though I do find that we tend to often focus on the negative aspects rather than what did go well, so I imagine you may have done better than you give yourself credit for. however, I acknowledge that you describe your feelings of nervousness impacting your performance, and I don't doubt your judgement, after all you know yourself best.

    Have you ever tried mock interviews with a friend or family member? That would provide a pressure free opportunity for you to talk through what you might want to say in the interview and get used to saying those words out loud. It would also enable the other person to provide some constructive feedback and encouragement. I would also suggest taking a brief pause before answering the question and taking your time to consider your response, so that you can get a clearer picture in your mind of the point you want to put across.
    Online Community Coordinator

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Did you receive a helpful reply to your discussion? Fill out our feedback form and let us know about it.
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Member Posts: 103 Courageous
    Sorry to hear that you didn't feel as though they interview went well @shellbell20, though I do find that we tend to often focus on the negative aspects rather than what did go well, so I imagine you may have done better than you give yourself credit for. however, I acknowledge that you describe your feelings of nervousness impacting your performance, and I don't doubt your judgement, after all you know yourself best.

    Have you ever tried mock interviews with a friend or family member? That would provide a pressure free opportunity for you to talk through what you might want to say in the interview and get used to saying those words out loud. It would also enable the other person to provide some constructive feedback and encouragement. I would also suggest taking a brief pause before answering the question and taking your time to consider your response, so that you can get a clearer picture in your mind of the point you want to put across.
    Thank you for your advice I appreciate it!

    I will be honest, it's like my mind goes totally blank and my focus is also zero. So they ask a question and I forget the question they have asked mid-sentence. I promised myself this time I would take a brief pause but I didn't follow my promise to myself.  I haven't got a clue why my mind goes blank and I mean a complete blank, it's painfully embarrassing and I am sure they are wondering why I don't stay on course and give an answer that is not relevant.

    I haven't done role play with anyone but it's something I will try next time.

      I know I failed miserably this time as I left so much out and my delivery was not very eloquent, I thought to myself it's a shame that wasn't a warm-up, like a mock interview so I can gain feedback and my nerves might have calmed down. I am going to start job hunting as not to be terribly disappointed when the results come through but next time I do have an interview I shall most certainly ask a friend or family member to do a mock interview and give me some feedback. I guess I am just afraid I will do that and do it quite well but then find myself getting too anxious when it comes to the real thing again. I am just kicking myself now and wondering why I keep repeating the same mistakes, it's like I become a different person.
  • MarkM88
    MarkM88 Member Posts: 1,964 Pioneering
    Did you look at the success profiles? Civil Service use these to base their interviews on. Questions will either be strength based or behaviour based. It’s also advised you answer using the STAR format. 

    I actually a while back was involved in some interviews for a civil service role as part of an interviewing panel. I got to set 2 of my own questions based on the success profiles they were assessing and take full part in the interviewing as well as the scoring of answers. 

    It’s amazing been on the other side because I realised how badly some people answered and failed to address the question. 

    The other point to note was the highest scoring candidate was to be offered the role unless there was any major concerns, this is just apparently the way they operate. 

    There was no room for “X has great experience, scored badly, or less than others, but I feel X’s nerves got the better of them, should we offer them the role”. 

    So scores are very important. 

    Apparently I’m a brutal scorer too, but it was an eye opener. 
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Member Posts: 103 Courageous
    MarkN88 said:
    Did you look at the success profiles? Civil Service use these to base their interviews on. Questions will either be strength based or behaviour based. It’s also advised you answer using the STAR format. 

    I actually a while back was involved in some interviews for a civil service role as part of an interviewing panel. I got to set 2 of my own questions based on the success profiles they were assessing and take full part in the interviewing as well as the scoring of answers. 

    It’s amazing been on the other side because I realised how badly some people answered and failed to address the question. 

    The other point to note was the highest scoring candidate was to be offered the role unless there was any major concerns, this is just apparently the way they operate. 

    There was no room for “X has great experience, scored badly, or less than others, but I feel X’s nerves got the better of them, should we offer them the role”. 

    So scores are very important. 

    Apparently I’m a brutal scorer too, but it was an eye opener. 
    Yes, I absolutely did look at the success profiles and I watched copious amounts of videos on questions that might be asked. I made sure I answered with the star method too.  Situation, Task, Action, Result. I was asked two strength questions and two behaviour questions from two people who were interviewing, I didn't take a pause like I should have done. I answered the questions but midway through the questions I totally forgot the questions asked in the first place.

    I read that they go down the list dependent on scores as you say, the highest score being offered the first position and then down the list by score if there is more than one available position. I also hear there is a reserve list. However, I know you have to get more than 3 on each score, so if you got a 7 on one of your answers but only received a 3 on another it is an automatic fail.  What would be interesting is to know how they score when there is more than one interviewer on the panel, as one person might feel that the answer was good whereas the other member of the interviewing panel might feel the opposite.

    I have to say the interview wasn't bad as in the fact they were nice to talk to, but I know that my nerves got the better of me and what I wanted to say and what I did were two different things entirely and I flunked miserably. 


  • MarkM88
    MarkM88 Member Posts: 1,964 Pioneering
    shellbell20 said:. 
    What would be interesting is to know how they score when there is more than one interviewer on the panel, as one person might feel that the answer was good whereas the other member of the interviewing panel might feel the opposite.


    Honest answer? From the 2 roles I was involved with interviewing for, I interviewed with 2 other panel members. 

    It came down to debate and justification. That’s why sometimes it took a great amount of time to score each candidate because we would debate between us, justifying our scores and having to compromise between us to agree on a score for every question. 

  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Member Posts: 103 Courageous
    MarkN88 said:
    shellbell20 said:. 
    What would be interesting is to know how they score when there is more than one interviewer on the panel, as one person might feel that the answer was good whereas the other member of the interviewing panel might feel the opposite.


    Honest answer? From the 2 roles I was involved with interviewing for, I interviewed with 2 other panel members. 

    It came down to debate and justification. That’s why sometimes it took a great amount of time to score each candidate because we would debate between us, justifying our scores and having to compromise between us to agree on a score for every question. 

    That would make sense as there were only 4 questions and the interview time slot was 1 and a half hours which I felt was a long time for 4 questions. I guess they use the rest of the time to debate the answers. I felt one interviewer could be more ruthless than the other, that was just a mere perception from the engagement perspective. 

    I don't know perhaps I should have asked for Reasonable Adjustments, as I suffer from severe anxiety and depression and part of my anxiety means when I am under stress my mind just switches off. It just blanks, completely. I hate this part of my anxiety.  I have been under severe stress for a few months now and to the point that I will boil chicken for the cat and forget it, so I will set a timer and then I hear the timer to remind, but get distracted quite easily and then still forget the chicken. So recently with my family away I have not trusted myself to cook anything. I have just had takeaways or ate sandwiches. So to be kind to me, I guess I was just lucky to be asked to interview, baby steps I guess.

    Another question and I am sure it will be useful to the community.  I read that it's about positive body language during the interview, is that correct or is it solely just the questions?

    Thanks for answering my questions, by the way, it's great to have an insight for my next interview, probably when I feel better.
  • MarkM88
    MarkM88 Member Posts: 1,964 Pioneering
    I would advise that for any future interviews you do ask for reasonable adjustments if you need them. 

    I would wait and see what you scored and if you are not happy ask for feedback. 

    Keep checking civil service jobs website because they add vacancies daily for different government departments. I know several people that took several attempts at applying and interviewing before they got to grips with the civil service scoring and how it works before they were successful. So keep trying is my best advice. 

    I have interviewed for other roles too, for example, I used to interview people for retail roles. So I have a bit of experience. 

    I don’t like to be judged myself and therefore always have the mindset not to judge others, at the end of the day I expect people to be nervous. 

    Just keep eye contact, dress appropriately and do please ask them to repeat the question if need be. 
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Member Posts: 103 Courageous
    MarkN88 said:
    I would advise that for any future interviews you do ask for reasonable adjustments if you need them. 

    I would wait and see what you scored and if you are not happy ask for feedback. 

    Keep checking civil service jobs website because they add vacancies daily for different government departments. I know several people that took several attempts at applying and interviewing before they got to grips with the civil service scoring and how it works before they were successful. So keep trying is my best advice. 

    I have interviewed for other roles too, for example, I used to interview people for retail roles. So I have a bit of experience. 

    I don’t like to be judged myself and therefore always have the mindset not to judge others, at the end of the day I expect people to be nervous. 

    Just keep eye contact, dress appropriately and do please ask them to repeat the question if need be. 
    I think I should discuss it with my doctor before any other interview, it's something I can't control and it's getting worse. I don't understand as when I was younger I had so much confidence and sailed through interviews and you would think as i got older i would gain more confidence?!?!

    I have to laugh though, you said you expect people to be nervous, however you had a reputation for being a brutal scorer? lol I did maintain eye contact and I did dress appropriately.  I am not sure that comes into the scoring though? Does it? The videos and information I studied say its  is also about the body language, dress code eye contact, but how does that translate to scoring?I felt it was the answers that mattered.

    But thanks for your support and information. Going forward, I am probably going to firstly go to the doctors and get some help to calm my nerves, take time out to be kind to myself and then probably unindate the Civil Services with copious amounts of applications until I become infamous for applying for every singular role available. lol x

  • MarkM88
    MarkM88 Member Posts: 1,964 Pioneering
    edited September 27
    I say I was brutal, but all that means is, is I knew the scoring criteria and I knew what was expected. For example if a question asks for a specific example of something and you go and talk about something completely different with no relevance and don’t provide the example asked for then you wouldn’t be scored very well. I just am thorough. 

    Unfortunately nothing else is scored. 

    As I say if you attended the interview dressed in joggers, not brushed your hair for example and looked at the floor, it would be judged as inappropriate. However - 

    a) you wouldn’t be scored on this and would have no relevance to your specific answers to questions. 

    b) questions might be raised whilst the interviewers are discussing, but you wouldn’t get a “score”. 
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Member Posts: 103 Courageous
    MarkN88 said:
    I say I was brutal, but all that means is, is I knew the scoring criteria and I knew what was expected. For example if a question asks for a specific example of something and you go and talk about something completely different with no relevance and don’t provide the example asked for then you wouldn’t be scored very well. I just am thorough. 

    Unfortunately nothing else is scored. 

    As I say if you attended the interview dressed in joggers, not brushed your hair for example and looked at the floor, it would be judged as inappropriate. However - 

    a) you wouldn’t be scored on this and would have no relevance to your specific answers to questions. 

    b) questions might be raised whilst the interviewers are discussing, but you wouldn’t get a “score”. 
    I thought so. It really is dependant on how well you answer questions. If I was interviewing me I would be exactly like you, I would look to see if the question was answered within the scoring criteria and unfortunately with my anxiety I feel I didn't score very well.  I just couldn't retain the initial question they asked and my mind was a complete blank as if that part of my memory had been completely erased. I think they say with anxiety this can happen during stressful events, hence perhaps I should seek medical advice to see if I can perhaps get something to help with excruciating anxiety as no matter how many Reasonable Adjustments I ask for and no matter how many times I practice my body will just say no.  This has been so insightful and has helped in more ways than you know. So thank you!!! :)

  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Member Posts: 103 Courageous
    MarkN88 said:
    I say I was brutal, but all that means is, is I knew the scoring criteria and I knew what was expected. For example if a question asks for a specific example of something and you go and talk about something completely different with no relevance and don’t provide the example asked for then you wouldn’t be scored very well. I just am thorough. 

    Unfortunately nothing else is scored. 

    As I say if you attended the interview dressed in joggers, not brushed your hair for example and looked at the floor, it would be judged as inappropriate. However - 

    a) you wouldn’t be scored on this and would have no relevance to your specific answers to questions. 

    b) questions might be raised whilst the interviewers are discussing, but you wouldn’t get a “score”. 
    I was unsuccessful at the interview but I knew that was coming.  I have to be kind to myself and think well I passed the situational judgement test, passed the written requirement too.  Anxiety got the better of me on the day.  To be honest, I am not sure I am well enough to be working right now due to my depression and anxiety. It has forced me to evaluate things and seek medical support as I can't let anxiety win each time.
  • MarkM88
    MarkM88 Member Posts: 1,964 Pioneering
    @shellbell20 did they offer any feedback?
  • Teddybear12
    Teddybear12 Member Posts: 1,251 Pioneering
    Hi @shellbell20 Sorry you were unsuccessful with your interview. I think you do have to be kind to yourself you passed two of the tests and you went to the interview that is a big thing. Well done and when you are feeling more up to it see what else there is that you might like to do.
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Member Posts: 103 Courageous
    MarkN88 said:
    @shellbell20 did they offer any feedback?
    No, it was just scored. I know that they probably wanted more detail from my answers with it being an EO level. I know there is a knack to these interviews which is a pity as I am sure there are many people out there that ace job interviews and don't really have the passion for the job and some people out there that have the passion but fail the interviews, like myself.
     I just know that today's rejection made me stop procrastinating as I have been doing with being ill and reach out to organisations such as doctors and housing.
    I have a preliminary employment tribunal in Oct, I am also semi-homeless and my mental health is not great, so it's no wonder I failed the interview really as my head is everywhere right now.
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Member Posts: 103 Courageous
    Hi @shellbell20 Sorry you were unsuccessful with your interview. I think you do have to be kind to yourself you passed two of the tests and you went to the interview that is a big thing. Well done and when you are feeling more up to it see what else there is that you might like to do.
    Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate it.  That's exactly what I am trying to do,  be kind to myself. I will concentrate on getting better and then apply for roles. Just a bit sad, as this one was particularly close to my heart as it was for PIP and helping people with disabilities.
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 5,377

    Scope community team

    Sorry to hear about the interview @shellbell20, I echo the words of others that you did fantastically and should be kinder to yourself. I'm certain that you'll get that lucky break eventually so hang in there and keep your chin up :) Actually, it won't be lucky because you'll have 100% earned it.

    You mentioned in one of your recent comments there that you are semi-homeless and that your mental health is not great, do you mind if I ask what you mean by semi-homeless? What is going on with your housing?

    Additionally, do ensure you continue to access your GP or any other support you have in place to manage your mental health, and speak with them if you feel as though it is becoming harder to manage.
    Online Community Coordinator

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Did you receive a helpful reply to your discussion? Fill out our feedback form and let us know about it.
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Member Posts: 103 Courageous
    Sorry to hear about the interview @shellbell20, I echo the words of others that you did fantastically and should be kinder to yourself. I'm certain that you'll get that lucky break eventually so hang in there and keep your chin up :) Actually, it won't be lucky because you'll have 100% earned it.

    You mentioned in one of your recent comments there that you are semi-homeless and that your mental health is not great, do you mind if I ask what you mean by semi-homeless? What is going on with your housing?

    Additionally, do ensure you continue to access your GP or any other support you have in place to manage your mental health, and speak with them if you feel as though it is becoming harder to manage.
    Thanks for the encouragement.  I don't mind telling you, as I've got older the guilt and shame I have felt over my mental health has lessened. I am learning to accept myself for who I am, bit by bit.

    In 2014 I married an American man. I left England to live in the USA. I have suffered from depression for most of my adult life on and off. Anyway, I lived there for 4 years, but the depression quickly came back. I missed my son, he didn't want to come with me although we did discuss it through the time I was there, I missed my cat, my son wanted to keep our cat. I would say within 2 months I just wanted to come home, although I do love my husband. I was living in the middle of nowhere, with no friends, no job, nothing. I had to rely on my husband for absolutely everything and the nearest shop was 12 miles away, but no taxi's, no buses, nothing.

    It had a terrible impact on my mental health and also my marriage. I went to see a doctor in America who was lovely and he said to me go home. I would at the time visit England for 3 months at a time, just to get through. My husband and I discussed waiting until I had my citizenship so that I wouldn't have any problems if we relocated somewhere in the USA that wasn't in the middle of nowhere. I agreed and we waited for that. As soon as that happened I came back to England.

    That was in 2018. I stayed with my son, however, my son happen to meet a Japanese girl and fall in love. They married within 9 months due to immigration. I came back in 2018 to try to sponsor my husband to come here,  but trying to meet the threshold was impossible for me.
    I had a job and it paid nearly the right amount but took me 3 hours to get up in the morning and then travel to work. It was too much. Then I landed a job which was temp to permanent, however when I was finally taken on permanently the pay went down and again it was not enough.
    After that, I got a temp job, just so I had some money whilst I looked for permanent work but Coronavirus hit and I was visiting my husband at the time and my son begged me to stay there until it was safer, (As for that job they got rid of everyone and didn't furlough any temps. )His dad is very ill with cancer my son didn't want anything to happen to me. So finally after a few months, I came back yet again. No job, no money, starting from scratch trying to sponsor my husband again.

    Then I landed the job that paid enough to sponsor my husband and rent my own place, but it was a 6-month contract that could be renewed and I decided to wait to see if it would be renewed. (This is the company I am taking to court).  Anyway, as you can imagine my son wants time alone and I don't want to be living with them either for one thing the landlord doesn't even know I am here and it makes it uncomfortable for me and there are numerous other reasons.   

    However,  my son and I have discussed this a few months ago. My son and his wife were trying for a baby and my son said if they were to become pregnant he would want to be alone with his family and not have me there as he doesn't want me being left raising children as I have done enough for him in the past.  I think he is just being kind, I think he or probably his wife want their own space with their child. They are now expecting a baby in late February, so I guess I am in the way.  Not only that my son and his wife have decided when the baby is about 6 months old they will probably move to Japan. If I don't find a place by Christmas time I will have no alternative but to go back to the USA and I don't think my fragile mental state would be able to bear it.

    I finally spoke with my doctor, a new one, as I have been moved around this past year due to my practice being closed. They are going to try HRT. I am not sure if that will work, but I am willing to give anything a chance. Trouble is it took me all my energy just to contact them and that took me 7 weeks, now they want me to pick up the prescription and seeing as I find it hard to go out unless it's dark outside,  due to my depression and anxiety, then it's going to take me another 7 weeks to pick it up. I hate the fact that I can't do anything as my energy levels are zero most days.   Yesterday I had a good day and washed my clothes and made a meal but today I am back to square one. This is why it's so hard to sort out housing, jobs, even benefits. I haven't claimed a penny since being ill.  I wish sometimes I had help, but unfortunately, I don't and my friends and family are always so busy.
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 6,575

    Scope community team

    It certainly sounds as though you have a lot on your plate @shellbell20

    I'm glad that you were able to speak to your new doctor about what's been going on, and that you can at least try the new treatment. Have you looked into getting your prescription delivered? 

    There's no shame in claiming benefits, so perhaps that could be an option? I understand that the process is daunting, but if it made daily life a little easier it might be worth it. 

    Do you manage to eat properly and do chores most days, or only some days? 
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Want to tell us how we're doing? Complete our feedback form now.
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Member Posts: 103 Courageous
    It certainly sounds as though you have a lot on your plate @shellbell20

    I'm glad that you were able to speak to your new doctor about what's been going on, and that you can at least try the new treatment. Have you looked into getting your prescription delivered? 

    There's no shame in claiming benefits, so perhaps that could be an option? I understand that the process is daunting, but if it made daily life a little easier it might be worth it. 

    Do you manage to eat properly and do chores most days, or only some days? 
    I asked for the prescription to go to the chemist but they said they were too busy and no I don't eat properly, first thing that goes when I am depressed is my appetite. I have none, I could go days without eating.  When my son was away I lived off sandwiches as I was too scared to cook anything and burn the house down. The reason why is I forget about the food I have put on the stove and even if I set a timer, I will hear it then within 2 seconds my mind is distracted and I still forget about it, which can be quite frightening.  So no in answer to your question I can't do much right now, It's an effort to get out of bed, everything is such an effort from getting up, to showering, to cooking.  When I have a good day which is rare of late I do as much as possible but the next day I am worn out and I hate myself for not having the energy or motivation.

Brightness

Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.