Promotion Interviews: Mission Impossible?
“Mr Hunt, this isn’t mission difficult, it’s mission impossible” – Commander Swanbeck
You are to appear before a panel. Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to identify, secure and assimilate critically important information to respond effectively to their questions. Your actions from today are vital to equipping yourself with the knowledge, skills and attributes you will require. That is all. Good luck.
Ok, as you’ve probably guessed, I recently went to see Mission Impossible – Fallout, at the cinema.
It’s as good as all the hype too. Here’s a taster:
Identify and Secure Intelligence
“Intelligence or the lack of it determines the probability of success” – Sun Tsu
Gathering, verifying and assessing facts and information is the first step in the decision-making process and identifying operational threats and risks. Asking questions to do that are key. Good leaders don’t have all the answers but do ask great questions.
What do you know? What do you need to know? Where and how will you get the information required?
Here’s another: “What kind of promotion interview will you face?”
As a coach/mentor, I’ll often ask candidates this question because responses can be revealing. A tremendous amount of uncertainty around this topic is not uncommon. Many candidates unwittingly ignore or overlook existing open source intelligence.
“You don’t understand what you are involved in” – Ilsa Faust (MI6)
“I don’t know” is a common reply. And that’s ok because it’s a great place to start.
As a leader, manager and supervisor you won’t always have all the facts and it’s a helpful question to identify knowledge gaps, raise awareness and to build confidence. Being comfortable with uncertainty is also an expectation for leadership development given today’s vortex of change.
When asked in the film how he was going to solve the problem at hand, agent Hunt replies:
“I’ll figure it out.”
Adopting an intelligence-based approach is a tried and tested method to help you figure out how to perform well in your force selection process – and accomplish your mission of securing promotion.
There are a variety of knowns and unknowns involved and many individuals are simply unaware that a great deal of useful information is freely available, hidden in plain sight! I encourage officers to build and develop an intelligence picture of what is known.
“Maybe it’s hard to see what’s right in front of you while you’re frantically searching for it” – Susane Colisanti
“Information about the package is as important as the package itself” – Frederick W. Smith
* * * Impossible Missions Force (IMF): 13 Point Intelligence Report * * *
You will face a competency interview. This is also known as a structured or behavioural interview.
You need to understand this because it means you will be asked questions in a certain way.
In means also that any answers you provide should be structured. This will help you to score. Different structures exist. You need to choose one you feel comfortable with.
Any selection test for promotion including this interview will be assessed against a competency framework.
Different competencies may be tested more than once during a selection process, so develop your understanding of the assessment framework. You’ll be operating blind if you don’t.
You will be asked six to eight questions. Some will be forward facing questions. Others will be rear facing.
- You’ll have between 45 minutes and 60 minutes to persuade and influence the panel that you can do the job.
Make it easy for them to choose you. Be so good they can’t ignore you.
All agents should know. Those days of ‘winging it’ or flying by the seat of your pants – are long gone.
Prevailing in this situation is likely to be underpinned by your ability to talk comfortably about the role; the challenges you’ll face and how you believe you can meet them.
A demonstrable understanding of vision, mission and shared values are important.
The depth and breadth of your preparation will be apparent to those charged with making the decision to promote you.
The panel’s role is to promote the best available people. Start now.
***This report will self-destruct in five seconds ***
Once you’ve acquired timely, accurate and actionable information as outlined above you’ll need to increase your focus, up your energy and activity levels to make full use of it.
Making the jump from where you are to where you want to be, requires an effective plan and action! A digital Toolkit could help you leap to another level. Heightening awareness as you get nearer to the prize can be a nail-biting experience. You may need to fight harder, change gear or increase your speed.
“Phoenix, I have eye on the prize. Do you copy?” – Ethan Hunt
Achieving promotion can sometimes seem like Mission Impossible. However, hundreds of officers are taking covert action using open source information, which enables them to report back successfully: “Mission accomplished”.
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