How to Select Strong Examples For Your JAC Self-Assessment or Interview

JAC Examples


Weak Examples Equal Failure

When candidates are unsuccessful in a Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) selection exercise, it is not uncommon to read JAC feedback that criticises the examples used in their self-assessment or selection day interview, for not being sufficiently complex or difficult.

There are several factors that contribute to this shortcoming which include the lack of space in the self-assessment form and a loss of target focus on the part of the candidate. While you are obsessing on selecting examples that firstly, demonstrate the competency and secondly, are structured in the right way (STAR, SOAR or EAR), it is easy to forget that this is a competition and that pedestrian examples will not win the day.

Identify and Communicate Complexity and Difficulty

Whilst candidates are unable to change the number of allowed words per competency, it is nevertheless entirely possible to identify and deploy strong, complex examples by adopting the following 3 step process:

To Identify Strong Examples Use the Nightmare Case / Client Filter.

Invariably those cases and clients that pushed you to the edge are those where you had to raise your game. This might be the case where you had 24 hours to get on top of 10 lever arch files of material that included numerous expert reports, telephone, and financial records (Assimilating and Clarifying Information).

If you were trying to demonstrate the range of your communication skills (Working and Communicating with Others) then you might select an example where you had to explain a complex legal principle or the meaning of a technical term to a person with a learning disability.

The above examples are not everyday challenges, but they are situations where you will have had to go the extra mile in order to achieve your objective and as such may be suitable examples for your JAC self-assessment or selection day interview.

To Communicate Complexity and / or Difficulty Use the 2 Takeaways Technique.

Two key elements of every example are:

  1. The situation / problem you were faced with; and
  2. How you tackled it.

In order to communicate difficulty and complexity aim to ensure the reader / audience of the example comes away with the following two takeaways:

  1. The first is ‘That was a bloody difficult challenge you faced’. The 2 examples earlier in this post would satisfy this requirement.
  2. The second takeaway is ‘That was bloody impressive the way you dealt with it’. This means ensuring there is granularity in your description of how you tackled the situation.

In other words, if you are attempting to demonstrate your ability to simplify the complex for a lay party, you didn’t simply ‘explain clearly’, which is subjective and doesn’t enlighten the reader / listener. Rather, you might explain that you:

  1. Used simple language, stripping out legal jargon and technical terms.
  2. Broke the explanation down into bite sized chunks.
  3. Drew an analogy with X.
  4. Etc

Adopt the above approaches when completing your JAC self-assessment or selection day interview and you will reduce risk of failure on the grounds of a lack of complexity or difficulty.