Problem Solving – RCMP Applicant Interview Competency 3
As I continue my series breaking down the eight RCMP Interview Competencies, we are going to focus on Problem Solving. As I stated in my previous post, going through the RCMP Application Process and getting ready for the “Right Fit” Interview can be one of the most challenging stages of the process, and one not to be taken lightly.
At the RCMP Applicant Interview (formerly the Regular Member Selection Interview), you will be asked behavioural and situational questions that will be used to assess if you meet this competency.
Taken from the RCMP Preparatory Guide for the Regular Member Selection Interview, the goal of these questions will be to establish if you can:
…systematically analyze and break down problems, risks, opportunities and issues …” and “…make timely decisions and actions….understand cause and effect …relationships”
Problem Solving for Behavioural Based Questions
The behavioural question will target your past experiences that demonstrate that you have the ability to think through a problem and come up with a solution.
For example, you might be asked a question that asks about a difficult or complex problem that you had to solve and how you gathered the required information to establish an effective solution. Or you might be asked about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to solve a significant problem.
When you are preparing for the “Right Fit” Interview, think about all of the situations when you had to come up with a solution to a problem. But make sure you use examples where the problem is yours to solve, and where there were a number of factors to consider and options to choose. If the problem that you relate is a problem where there is only one option, then that will not give the interviewer a true sense of whether or not you can think through a specific problem, analyze the information available and come up with a solution from a number of options. And as I have said previously, this doesn’t just have to be work related examples. You can use volunteer time, sporting events, or periods during your education. As long as you have several stories prepared that you can use during the interview that demonstrate that you have the ability to solve problems.
Remember, when answering these questions, you will articulate your example using the S*T*A*R principle.
Problem Solving for Situational Based Questions
The situational question will be a hypothetical scenario that will assess how you would handle a certain situation.
The interviewer will provide you with a scenario and ask what you would do. You will respond by stating the action that you would take if faced with that situation, why you would take that action and what factors you considered. This is called the A*R*C principle.
You might get a question that asks what you would do if you discovered a co-worker was using the computer for non work related activities. Or if you were on your way to an interview and your car broke down and you were running the risk of being late.
Situational questions can be somewhat lengthy, so you have to be careful to pay attention to the entire question and focus on the parts that are relevant. Think about the action as a series of steps, then state why you would do those steps and what you considered at each stage.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when focusing on this one competency. And as I continue to stress, you must be prepared. Have your examples ready and practice delivering them using S*T*A*R. Come up with sample scenarios on your own and practice answering them using the A*R*C principle.
Do you know someone who is faced with this challenge? Feel free to share this post by using the share links at the top of this page. Also, if you’d like more interview tips, feel free to check out the interview resource page.