Imagine that a business called HighTech have advertised an HR post (details below) and
you are applying. This post requires you to demonstrate how you meet the 8 sets of skills
(which link to the module’s learning outcomes) laid out in Appendix 1.
You need to submit a collection of relevant materials, compiled together into one document,
that will simulate you applying and being interviewed for the HR post set out below. You are
asked to compile a) a CV and supporting letter; b) two presentations; c) notes in preparation
for an interview for the position.
The complete collection of documents needs to be between 4,000 and 6,000 words.
The advertised post
Human Resources Business Partner
HIghTech is a successful high-tech manufacturing organisation with Head Office in London
and bases in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. We want to
identify two students who are currently studying HR at post-graduate level, to join our HR
team when they graduate. On joining us, the successful candidates will support senior
leaders and HR staff in each of our locations and can expect to be busy, hands-on and
By the time you join HighTech you will need outstanding people management skills,
including effective team-working and leadership. You will have the ability to communicate
through a range of media and develop effective working relationships with a broad range of
staff. The posts require people with a strong business acumen, IT and financial skills, who
can interpret complex information and make informed decisions to develop and enhance our
reward and remuneration policy and practices. Self-motivated and highly organised, the
post-holders will work flexibly, acting as advisor and HR partner on a range of projects with
different managers and across different parts of the business.
Relevant experience is helpful. However, we think potential is even more important. That is
why we are coming to the UK’s top universities. You are not expected to have all the
business skills we require at the moment, but you must satisfy us that you have the
capability and the plans to get these skills by the end of your course. These are fast-stream
posts that require skills in critical analysis, evaluation and quick decision-making. To be
successful you will have to have a clear, comprehensive, stretching but practical plan for
your personal and professional development for your time at university.
1) A realistic CV and supporting letter, as the first step in applying for one of these posts.
Assume you have got through to the second stage of selection. This selection would begin
with you being required to give two short presentations.
2) You should submit the visual aids and supporting notes for the first short presentation
(less than five minutes) in which you demonstrate the extent to which you have the 8 skill
sets required for these posts (Appendix 1). This presentation must be based upon an honest
and accurate appraisal of your real-life experiences that can be verified; inflating your skills
does not earn you additional marks. It also needs to be sufficiently detailed to be understood
by the reader. If you wish to submit this as a video or other electronic format, please ensure
that it can be easily accessed.
Answer: All 8 skill sets
3) You should submit the visual aids and supporting notes for a second short presentation
(less than five minutes) in which you summarise your personal and professional
development plan for the skills you do not currently have and need to acquire for these jobs
(link to Appendix 1 again). Your plan must show what you are going to do to acquire these
skills by the time you graduate. You should use the same format as for task 2) above.
Answer: Making sound and justifiable decisions and solving problems,
Leading and influencing others,
Interpret financial information and manage financial resources,
People management skills
These presentations would then be followed by an interview which would probe your
presentation, and ask the following questions. For your assignment submission you are to
submit written responses to these questions.
4) Which of the eight skill sets (Appendix 1) would you claim to be your strongest? Justify
Answer: Managing myself
5) Which of the eight skill sets (Appendix 1) would you anticipate being your weakest by the
time you graduate? Justify this expectation and show what you are planning to do to
overcome this weakness. This should deal with a skill that you anticipate will be underdeveloped at the end of the year.
Answer: Making sound and justifiable decisions and solving problems
6) How could you measure your success in skills development? Justify your answer.
In tasks 2) to 5) only refer to skills.
For tasks 3) and 5) your plan can include any area of your academic, personal and
professional life. This might include:
• Your time on the MSc course. Different modules will provide you with many different
skills development opportunities. Look ahead in the course and be specific about this –
which module, which skill, how will the module develop that skill etc. We will work on
some specific skills as part of the HR Skills module, but many of your skills will be
developed in other modules. Module handbooks will help you in this planning;
• Workplace experiences (if you are working at present);
• Extra-curricular activities such as university societies;
• Your personal life outside the university.
Explanation of each skill set
Although not prescriptive or exhaustive, the following explains the terms used in
Skill set 1 – Managing yourself
Self-awareness, dimensions of personality and individual differences, time
management, personal organising skills, stress management; principles of
continuous professional development; professional and ethical approaches to
self-management at work.
Skill set 2 – Interpersonal relationships in a professional context
Characteristics of effective teams and team-building, assertiveness,
interpersonal communication, effective negotiation, handling emotion and
conflict, written, verbal and non-verbal communication, networking, negotiating;
organisational politics and the need to act in a politically astute and ethical
manner to secure HR objectives; liaising with customers.
Skill set 3 – Making sound and justifiable decisions and solving problems
Systematic and evidence-based decision-making, testing ideas, creative and
team-based decision-making, evaluating evidence and options, ethical decisionmaking; communicating and justifying decisions; proactive approaches to
problem-solving; consulting skills.
Skill set 4 – Leading and influencing others
Effective supervision and team leadership, coaching and mentoring, effective
delegation, resolving conflict between team members, positively motivating
others to raise their level of performance; chairing meetings and co-ordinating
discussions; leading and facilitating change; providing direction; influencing
thinking and decision-making on the part of others.
Skill set 5 – Interpret financial information and manage financial resources
Structure, content and interpretation of simple balance sheets, profit and loss
accounts and trading statements; ratio analysis; basic costing concepts and
techniques; cash flow and cash budgets; budgetary planning and control.
Skill set 6 – IT proficiency
Information-handling skills, commonly used IT applications and software
packages, statistical techniques and the presentation of statistical data.
Skill set 7 – People management skills
Selection interviewing, appraisal interviewing, disciplinary interviewing; delivering
training, making presentations; project management; managing poor
performance (including absence, lateness and incompetence).
Skill set 8 – Postgraduate study skills
Accessing and evaluating published research evidence, critical thinking,
developing and justifying original arguments, referencing the work of others,
effective essay and report-writing; effective revision and examination