Any time you are making a career decision, it can be a very stressful and overwhelming time.
What kind of job do you want? Do you need more education?
Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?
This is especially true if you are trying to get a Public Service job in the Federal Government.
The Federal Selection Process
The Federal Selection Process can be a very lengthy, stressful process, especially if you have never been through one before.
First, you have to get your resume screened in, which in itself can be very tricky.
Then, once you get past that step, you have to go through what can be a very comprehensive selection process. There will probably be:
- A test, and maybe a second test
- An in-basket exercise if the process is a supervisory position
- One or even two interviews
- Reference checks
If you are the successful candidate, you will then have to go through a security clearance process.
And this can all take months to get through.
How will you stay focused for all of that over a long period of time?
Let’s break it down into sections.
“After working in the same position within the Federal Government for a few years, I thought I needed a career change. Throughout the years, my resume showed a wide variety of experience and I really didn’t know where I wanted to go next. I decided it would be best to speak to a career coach who could look at where I am and help me decide where I want to go. Connie and I discussed what my ideal job would be and where I wanted to be in the future. We also reviewed my resume and we made adjustments that would help my resume to stand out among other resumes. Also, with her help, I showed an interest in taking assignments with other units of our organization to help me build more experience and test drive various positions.
Thank you Connie for all your guidance that will help me move forward in my journey to a new Federal career.
Government of Canada
Reading the Job Poster
Every Public Service job within the Federal Government will be advertised, either internally to Federal employees, or externally to the public, using merit criteria, and will include all of the information that will be assessed during the selection process.
Whatever criteria is on the job poster, it will have to be assessed, either through your resume, a testing process or an interview. Some criteria will also be assessed during the reference checks.
This information is broken down into sections, including:
- Essential Qualifications
- Asset Qualifications
- Knowledge and Abilities
The poster will also include Conditions of Employment and Other Information. It is essential that you read the entire job poster to ensure that you don’t miss anything.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these requirements.
This is the section that you must address in your resume/cover letter.
If you don’t speak to each of the essential qualifications that are listed, then your resume will be screened out. It is essential that you speak to each one and provide examples on how you meet those qualifications.
This portion of the selection process will be assessed by a test and/or the interview.
Again, if it’s listed on the job poster, then it must be assessed. Don’t wait until you get invited to a test or an interview; start preparing now. You may not be given much notice when the time comes, so make sure you allow yourself enough time to get ready.
This stage of the process will also require a great deal of preparation.
The interview will cover everything that has not been covered at the testing stage. When you are invited to attend an interview, the invitation should outline exactly what criteria will be assessed. This will help guide you to ensure you are fully prepared. But again, don’t wait for the invitation.
Make sure you take note of the competencies that will be assessed. For example, the job application poster may state that judgment is one of the competencies being assessed.
If that is the case, then you need to demonstrate that you have good judgment. But it won’t be as simple as you telling them that you have good judgment. You will be required to answer a question, and provide an example of previous experience that demonstrates good judgment.
Think about what experience you have that will speak to that competency. This experience doesn’t just have to be work related. It can be volunteer experience, school, sports, etc. It can be any experience that demonstrates that you meet the criteria.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that it’s not just the content of your answer that you provide that is being assessed. Your interpersonal and communication skills are also being evaluated, so you must ensure that you remain professional, confident and enthusiastic, without being overbearing and arrogant.
At the end of the day, you need to identify the best examples that will demonstrate you meet the criteria, and be able to deliver this information in a clear and concise manner. Again, this takes preparation and practice. This practice should be with someone who can provide meaningful feedback, and who has experience in conducting interviews.
Connie has been a wonderful source of information and support to me while I was preparing for my interview.
She helped guide me through the behavioural questions using a mock interview style approach. She was able to identify my strengths and weakness and provide advice on how to improve.
I was not only able to feel more confident with attending the interview, but I was also able to pass the interview and move onto the next stage of the process. Thank you so very much Connie, for your guidance, supportive nature, expertise and patience.
Radha, September 2014
About Connie Clace, CPC
With 14 years of Federal Government experience, working with the RCMP as a Civilian Manager and in Human Resources, I am experienced with the Federal Selection Process. As a Certified Career Coach, I can work with you to help you determine if this is in fact a good career path for you.
If it is, we can work together through each of the phases of the selection process, from targeting your resume/cover letter, to getting you prepared for the testing phase, and ultimately to perfecting your interviewing skills.
If relevant experience for the interview is a concern, we can discuss ways that you can enhance this aspect. Together, we’ll examine those qualities that you do have, and identify the gaps that will keep you from getting through the process.
We’ll talk about the steps you can take to gain this much needed experience, i.e. volunteer work, job placements, etc.
To help hone your interviewing skills, we will practice with sample questions targeting the specific competencies for this job process, to ensure that you are delivering a good answer and arrive at the interview fully prepared.
For your convenience, we can work together in person if you are in the Halifax area or via Skype for any other Canadian location.
This investment will go a long way to ensure that you are fully prepared and to maximize this opportunity.
Federal Career Service Package Includes:
- Statement of Merit Criteria Review and Interpretation (discussion of Essential Qualifications, Knowledge and Personal Suitability Components)
- Professional Targeted Resume and Cover Letter Review and Feedback
- Tips on Preparing for the Knowledge Test(s)
- Targeted Competency Based Interview Coaching (Includes Mock Interview)
Package rates vary based on services required