How to use your DofE skills in interviews - part II

Your DofE award gives you a wealth of experience which can be used in interviews, to great effect. You may not have thought about it yet, but at some stage soon you will find yourself being interviewed – whether it be for a Saturday or part time job, 6th form college, university or something else. Our last blog post provided a worked example of how you can use the experience of completing our DofE skills course to answer questions. These questions tend to be called ‘Behavioural competency’ questions, but don’t worry too much about the name. They are essentially just questions which need answering.

Don’t forget, our previous blog post provided information about the STAR technique of answering questions. This applies here too! In order to give you an idea about how to approach this and use your DofE experience, the following scenario is fictitious, but you can adapt it with your own experiences. Remember, the person interviewing you may not know much about the DofE so it is a good idea to give a very brief description of what each section involved!

One common question which comes up in most interviews is along the lines of;

Give an example of a time when you have had multiple tasks to work on. How did you prioritise what needed to be done? How did you organise yourself to complete all tasks?

The following would be a good answer (and I say this having interviewed many people over a number of years!)

When I completed my Bronze DofE award, I had four sections which needed to be completed within nine months, and as I was also at school, I needed to ensure I was able manage my time so that everything was done. I had to do 12 weeks each for the volunteering and the skills sections and six months for my physical section.  I volunteered at Parkrun for 12 weeks, helping set up and marshal the running course, I completed a bath bomb and soap making course to learn a new skill and I did athletics training for six months for the physical aspect. In addition to these, I had to complete an expedition which required training beforehand. (you have just described the SITUATION)

I planned how I would complete each of the tasks by prioritising them according to how long I would need to complete them. I always ensured I had a written schedule and revised it if things didn’t go to plan, so that I would still complete within the timescales I had set (you have just described the TASK)

The athletics training was the longest part, so I started to record attendance as soon as I started the DofE award, I then made sure I attended each week (even when the weather was bad) as if there had been any weeks where I could not attend it would impact on how soon I could complete it. The volunteering with Parkrun was at weekends, so this was easy to plan as it didn’t interfere with other activities. The bath bomb course was online and completed at home, so I was able to do this around other commitments such as homework and athletics. The expedition was organised by school, so this didn’t require prioritisation as the dates were fixed. (You have just described the ACTION)

I completed my DofE award within nine months, although the volunteering and skills sections were done over a slightly longer period than I anticipated because of schools exams, but because I had planned and re-evaluated my schedule, they were still within the required timeframe (you have just described RESULT) .

You do not have to use your DofE experience, but for a question like this it provides really good evidence about how you manage priorities. The sections you describe will also give the interviewer information about how you are able to do many different things.