4. Recruitment: Demonstrating Your Skills

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The STAR Model

Here's a more detailed description of the STAR model.

  • SITUATION or TASK
    Describe the Situation you were in or the Task you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalised description of what you’ve done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for us to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, a volunteer experience, charity work, or any other relevant event.
  • ACTION you took
    Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you’re discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did - not the efforts of the team. Don’t tell us what you might do, tell us what you did.
  • RESULTS you achieved
    What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?

The STAR Model - Emphasis

Your emphasis should always be on the Actions and Results, specifically what you did and what impact you had. Try to make this about 70% of your answer.

So, if you’re a school leaver, just starting out in your career, we’ll be looking for you to provide examples of how you’ve demonstrated the required skills through your academic studies, hobbies, clubs and groups you’re a member of, work experience or charity work.

If you’re already in work, we will be looking for you to provide some examples from the jobs you have held and others outside of work. You can also use examples of special accomplishments such as raising money for charity or winning a prize for your artwork.

The STAR Model - Example

Here’s a simple example involving the management of competing deadlines to show you what we mean:

  • Situation:
    In fifth year at high school I was faced with a series of deadlines, which meant I had to plan out how I would meet them.
  • Task:
    As part of my Higher Drama qualification, I was part of a team in which we each had to write and direct part of a play. We would be assessed on this. I had to balance this with my other exam work and revision.
  • Action:
    To ensure I met these competing deadlines, I made an exam revision timetable on the computer. This gave me a clear plan to follow, and enabled me to allocate an appropriate amount of time to each topic and prioritise areas where I had to focus additional effort. It also helped me focus effectively at a very busy time. To sharpen this focus further, I negotiated with my Mum for me to be excused my share of household chores until after the exam period.
  • Result:
    Working in this structured way meant that I was able to deal with unexpected events and successfully manage my workload resulting in me passing all my exams. It also taught me that it is important to ask for advice and support if they are needed.

The STAR Model - Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. We’ve produced a document which you can download and use to record your skills using the STAR model.

  Click here to download

Hints And Tips

  •   Research the skills we’re looking for and use examples that show them off
  •   Identify six to eight examples from your past experiences where you’ve demonstrated the skills and behaviours
  •   Vary your examples - don’t take them all from just one area of your life
  •   Make your achievements and skills clear - this is no place for modesty
  •   Don’t trivialise the example and your contribution. Tell the truth but make the most of it to demonstrate the skills we are looking for
  •   Keep it concise, specific and relevant
  •   Make sure you spell check your answers
  •   Reread your application before sending. Review each answer against the STAR model making sure the majority of the answer is about the Actions and Results
  •   Choose examples you would be happy to expand on at interview if prompted

Conclusion

You should now be ready to tell us about the things you’ve done in your life to show how you’d make a great apprentice at the Parliament.

Good luck!