The problem

In-band PQA interviews were felt to be labour intensive and to produce inconsistent results. Interviewers felt overly constrained by the structure and were increasingly dissatisfied with the process.

The solution

We suggested an in-box exercise could be used as a means of identifying potential in Crew Managers looking for promotion to Watch Manager positions.

It was preferred by the client that any new exercise was placed in a Fire Service setting to increase perceived relevance. At VCA we designed 3 sets of Watch Manager in-basket exercises, using the PQAs and tailoring the BARS to develop the scoring mechanism. Each exercise has approximately 5 in-box tasks, with supporting background information. The time to complete this exercise was 1 hour and 45 minutes- challenging but achievable.

After successful piloting and use in an in-band selection process, we were asked to develop 2 more sets of in-box exercises, for use in the Group Manager in-band selection process.


Two woman at a desktop computer

The result

Candidates reported a greater understanding of the exercises and what they were measuring. VCA assessors marked these papers due to limited internal staff resources. Using a specifically designed template we were able to deliver the final results and detailed candidate feedback reports within a week.

“Thank you for all your efforts in developing these (Watch Manager) tools for us…(Due to their success) we now require additional tools designed for Group Manager In-band”
Fiona Beck, Bedfordshire & Luton FRS