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Understanding Success Profiles?
If you are in the process of applying for a role within Civil Service, either as an existing civil servant, or
from externally, you will likely have seen mention of Success Profiles and Behaviours on the advert
somewhere, and that these will be used as part of the assessment.
But what are they, and why are they being used as the method for assessing candidates? hopefully this
article will help to answer some of that for you. It's not an original piece, I am taking information that is
readily available via Google, but hopefully by putting it in here it will make things easier for people to find
the relevant information.
What is Success Profiling?
Success Profiling is the process by which an organisation identifies the key skills, knowledge, experience,
behavioural competencies and personal attributes required for successful performance in a given role or
a group of roles.
Think of success profiles as a blueprint for success within a specific role or set of roles, that can be used
across an organisation, not just for recruitment but to support organisational development, training and
planning across the organisation.
Success Profiles aren't just a Civil Service thing, they are used across private and public sectors to shape
how they develop their recruitment, talent, training and organisational development strategies.
What makes up a success profile?
Success profiles are made up of 5 key parts, as illustrated in the diagram below.
To find out more about each of the
components that make up the
Success Profiles framework, and how
they relate to roles in the Civil
Service, the links below will take you
to the most up to date documents on
| www.ons.gov.uk | @ONS | Working at ONS
If you have any questions before you come to interview, or issues on the day, please
contact our recruitment team on 01633 455556 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What makes up a success profile?
Behaviours - the actions and activities that people do which result in effective performance in a
Strengths - the things we do regularly, do well and that motivate us.
Ability - the aptitude or potential to perform to the required standard.
Experience - the knowledge or mastery of an activity or subject gained through involvement in or
exposure to it.
Technical - the demonstration of specific professional skills, knowledge or qualifications.
Preparing for assessment
So your applying for a role. You've probably already done your application with your CV
and Personal Statement, and have passed the sift (shortlist) for interview. Now you need to
prepare for the assessment, whether that's through interview, presentation, test, or a mix of
these. There's lots of advice out there to help with this, so here is just a few suggestions (by no
Examples - Think about the areas being assessed (these should be mentioned on the advert) and
have a few examples ready that you can discuss, in detail, about each.
Questions - Think about your answers to questions that are based around things like:
•How do you manage / react to / cope with / feel about xxxx?
•Tell us about a time when xxxx?
•What did you do? What would you do / if / differently?
Ask us - Make sure you have some relevant questions to ask the panel, and use this as a time to
show you have done your research into the role and the business area.
STAR - when thinking about your answers, use the STAR technique. Remember, its not about what
the business did or your team, its about what YOU did. Not sure what STAR is, here is an