PolyWogg’s HR Guide — 10 Comments

  1. Great website PolyWogg! Your posts are so informative. I really appreciate them. You seem like a very intelligent person. Do you plan to write stuff on LR topics as well? I see that a lot of your HR posts are staffing related.

    • Occasionally yes, although it isn’t my niche. I do read almost all of the PSLR Board decisions but I have struggled to find a useful angle on them. One would be simple summaries, like ISSUE / FACTS / OUTCOME, sort of reference material. Other times I thought of trying to group them together by issue such as harassment, dismissal, etc., but often the cases impinge on multiple areas at the same time, and it is the interrelated issues that determine the outcome more than one specific one. Another time, I was thinking of “what does this mean for an employee” or “what does it mean for a manager”, but that could be a bit too subjective. And other times, I’ve thought of just sharing them as a curation service…a favorite website of mine is a clearinghouse for publishing news related to legal issues, and he frequently finds interesting posts from across the net, posts a small excerpt and gives the link to the original. He’s been doing it for years, and it’s great. But there are lots of bloggers out there who tackle HR and/or LR with better credentials than I, with some curation built in.

      It’s an area that interests me, but as you can see, I’ve never found a good niche to fill…


  2. Hi there,

    I see you have a section on “15. Managing your career once you’re hired” but no link. Is this something you are planning on putting together? I would love to read that post one day


  3. I just finished an interview for a PM-6 yesterday, and am so glad I read your section on interviews before I went! Although I am very confident in interviews, having a structure to follow made it so much easier to jot down relevant examples in the short review time. One thing I did want to mention was the importance of not only reading the question, but being aware of the competency being assessed. I was halfway through the first question when I realized I was answering the wrong way, simply because the question didn’t quite match the knowledge. The question was about engagement, however the specific knowledge being assessed was on duty to consult…Forcing me to change my answer slightly…Looking forward to continue reading your other material! Thanks!

    • Glad it was helpful. It is indeed tricky to remember what is being marked vs. what the question asked. Sometimes it is “close enough” that it won’t matter, sometimes it’s radically different. In my presentation, I’ve mentioned a time at DFAIT (now GAC) where I was doing a role-play and I totally blanked that of course they were merely marking interpersonal skills. So I did the “right” thing, the right answer that someone doing that job would do, but it wasn’t what they were marking. Another time I had to do a similar “role-play” simulation as if I was briefing a Minister in an elevator, and it was basically “shortening” a longer analytical answer I had already given i.e, they asked for long answer and then gave me the “surprise” follow-up question to pretend I was briefing the Minister and that I had 90 seconds. I blanked on what it was about, that they would OBVIOUSLY be marking my comms skills, and instead tried to cram all of my “knowledge” and “analysis” into the 90s. What I SHOULD have done was simply picked one or two items, kept it short, calm, focused and then asked the Minister if they had any questions. Fortunately, the first time it was a job I didn’t want, and for the second, it was a multiple-item scoring so failing the one element of that grouped score didn’t hurt me.


  4. Hi!

    First of all, I just want to say that I am so incredibly grateful for finding this blog and the amount of effort you’ve made into putting this together. I did want to ask about the Reasoning and Judgement tests. Do you have any tips to study for those? Any tips for someone interested in going through open recruitment for GAC’s FSO position? Thanks again!

    • Hi Sumi, thanks for the feedback. I don’t have anything to add for R&J style tests, other than what they list on the main PSC site as sample questions, etc. Depending on the version, they are generally all multiple choice, and the “tips” for each are fairly generic:

      a. Usually you can eliminate at least one answer out of four that makes no sense.
      b. Sometimes you can eliminate an answer that might “solve the problem” BUT it would make the public service / GoC look bad.

      After that, if it’s for reasoning, think first about what reasoning means — i.e. identifying the key factors, weighing them, logical progression from a to b to c, etc. If you look at your remaining answers, see which ones meet ALL those criteria. If one focuses only on one factor, or is not a logical progression from a to b to c, i.e. more like a to b to m, then it doesn’t fit.

      Finally, if you get it down to a short choice of 2, and can’t decide, some people find it helpful to say, for example, “If I was a fully enlightened, emotionally aware, caring human being”, what would I do in this situation? It isn’t necessarily what you WOULD actually do, it is asking yourself at times what a great manager or great officer would do. Because when they created the test, they often have gone for the “ideal” answer. Which, btw, often looks like committing to a process often more than committing to a specific one-off solution. Alternatively, some people say to just ask yourself what you would do, i.e. you yourself, not the ideal person. In other words, don’t overthink it. If you look online at the PSC site for some sample Qs, try applying those criteria.

      As for the GAC world, my information is way too far out of date for them to be reliable. You could check out FSECC — Foreign Service Exam and Career Counselling service. It’s a company that used to at least create training for those, kind of like training for people who want to write LSAT or GMAT. More importantly though, they used to sell a prep guide/kit and some people used to order one copy and share it among 4-5 people to bring the cost down.

      Hope that helps,

      aka PolyWogg

  5. Hi, I’m so glad I found your blog. You must have spent hours working on this great material, so thank you so much. I’m doing the SLE right now and after reading some candidates’ comments on other platforms, I now feel that it could take a long time before I can get my foot in the door, as I have only been partially assessed. Please wish me luck, and I will read your blog more thoroughly in the next couple of days. Thank you

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