Speaking as someone who conducts these I find no one seems clear on these issues so I’d like others comments.

1. How long should you allow examples in their timespan? Only examples in the last 3 years? 5yrs? 10 yrs?
Some interviewers/companies dont specify however practically you can get candidates referring to defunct IT systems/telephony and examples 10 years old that simply dont fit today’s working practices and cultures.

2. Should you allow non-work based examples?
Whilst this works well and doesnt discriminate against candidates who havent been in the workplace for a long length of time, practically one gets examples of voluntary work or church work or football teams or athletics etc.
Whilst commendable often these examples are not transferable to the workplace in that the drive/motivation was personal and belief led rather than being led by others or towards some corporate goal. “It was personal I believed in it, I wanted to achieve it – doesnt transfer well to the workplace when you have to do things you dont always agree with or want to do.” The exception is communication and influencing competencies which cross all life boundaries.

3. Academic examples – eg planning a group project or writing a dissertatioin at uni. These often surface too an again the candidate’s motivation is personal ie. to achieve their exam, its not the same as being paid to deliver at work.

So what do you do and how do you deal with these grey areas?

Juliet LeFevre

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