Thursday, June 12, 2008

More Essential Competencies

For the past two weeks we've been talking about interview competencies, the interviews are somewhat standardized by the Constable Selection System in the competencies you must display through behvaioral questions. This week we will look at Self Control which is a multi-dimensional competency and the final essential competencies.

Self control is the ability to keep your own emotions under control and to restrain negative actions when provoked or when working under stressful situations. I like to really keep those two areas seperate, emotional control and restraint. Emotional control could be as simple as:

"On August 4th 2007 my father died, it was a difficult for me but I was responsible for notifying family and friends. It became even more difficult when I had to begin making funeral arrangements and had the unpleasant duty of being the executor of my fathers will. Through this difficult time I was able to control my emotions and keep a clear head by seeking help and counselling from my friends and family, although it was difficult I kept myself in check and was able to complete all my taks during this time of grieving."

Restraint is more of a confrontational person who is difficult or gives you a hard time, a classic example:

"On December 26th 2006 I was working at the customer service desk at Best Buy. It was boxing and there was a long line of returns, one customer had a microwave in an opened box, I could see on his face as he approached the desk that he was unhappy, he stomped up towards and slammed the box down on the counter "do you know how long I've been waiting?". Even the tone of his voice was very angry so I tried to de-escalate the situation by telling him "Sir, I know the lines are very long today for returns, I'm going to work quickly to get you on your way so you can enjoy the rest of your holiday." I asked what was wrong with the product and was relieved to hear the tone in his voice had changed, he explained that he wanted to return the microwave as he did not like it. I asked for his receipt and began processing the paperwork, I told the customer that unfortunately because the product wasn't defective and the box was opened he would be subjected to a 15% restocking fee. The look on his face changed to a scowl and asked "Are you kidding me?" Again, the tone of his voice sounded agitated I explained that it was the store policy and unfortunately there wasn't anything I could about it. "You know, you're a smug little prick.." I let him finish and allowed the comments to roll off my back, "Sir, I know you're frustrated with the situation but you need to understand that I can't do anything about the restocking fee." He started to curse at me but this time I interrupted him "Sir, that is enough, if you can not treat me with respect than you need to leave the store or I will call the police." I was hurt by his comments but wouldn't let myself blow-up at him, I know that getting angry could only make the situation worse. My stern tone of voice worked, he picked up the microwave and stomped away to the front door. I wish I could have helped him in the situation and atleast did the return for him since he obviously didn't want the microwave but was happy that I was able to atleast defuse the situation and have the angry customer walk away."

Relationship building describes the ability to develop and maintain a network of contacts, both inside and outside work, school, volunteering. The basis of this competency is that you make friends, that you have friends and that in your work place, at school and at volunteer events you are a social person. Policing is based on team work and having a friendly relationship with your co-workers is not only good for the work environment but also good for your professional development. Specifically, the relationship building competency questions are looking for who you met, how you became friends and how you continue to maintain this relationship outside of just seeing eachother at work, at school or at volunteer events.

The final two competencies are achievement orientation which is the desire for continuous improvement in service or accomplishments, this can be reflected via your awards, letter of recommendation, high marks, honor roll, etc.

Medical, physical skills and abilities is a competency that seeks out job related medical and physical skills and abilities including hearing, motor skills, cardiovascular endurance and upper body strength. In my experience these are all tested via your medical exam prior to your offer of employment and the OACP Certificates PREP and hearing/vision testing.

As a final note on competencies, working with them and understanding them, I again recommend the services of John Belisle to help tutor you through example questions and techniques beyond what I have covered here to help you answer the questions. Recruiters at your local service should be of help, mine was fantastic and gave me a lot of material to write about here and a lot of guidance prior to my interviews. Ultimately, understand that if you have your certificate of results, your resume passed the screening process, you really don't want to drop the ball here on interviews, too many people do and are deferred, having to wait a year before they can reapply.

Goodluck with those applications!

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