The recruitment process in the Civil Service can be daunting at first, and it’s useful to understand how we use Success Profiles, behaviours and strengths to build an overall candidate profile. We’ve put together a checklist of tips and advice to help you make your application the best it can be.
Register on Civil Service Jobs
If you’re applying, or you want to set up specific job alerts, you’ll need to register on the Civil Service Jobs website. It only takes five minutes.
By registering, you can sign up for job alerts, save your applications, and save feedback on your applications.
If you’ve found a job you want to apply for, you can move on to the application process.
Most Civil Service jobs now ask for a CV and personal statement. Use your CV to highlight your key career achievements, and focus on the impact it had on you, the company, and the organisation’s customers.
CV top tips:
Concentrate on your most recent experience
Don’t go back further than 10 years
Start with your highest-ranking qualification first
List your key skills, and make sure they’re relevant to the role
Your personal statement
Use your personal statement to showcase your experience in more detail, making it relating to the key criteria in the job description. Be clear on how you meet each requirement, or how your skills can be transferred to meet it.
Personal statement top tips:
Think about your key achievements, and the challenges you’ve overcome
Explain why you’re suitable for the role, and why we should be interested in you
Tell us why you want the job, what you can bring to the role, and the impact you could have
Once you’ve finished, read it thoroughly, then read it again. Make sure that the spelling, punctuation and grammar is perfect. Get someone else to proof read it too, if you can, as sometimes a second pair of eyes can spot something you’ve missed.
The next step
Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll need to be patient. We’re a big organisation, and we get a lot of interest in our roles. To make sure everyone’s treated fairly, we have a detailed sifting process, which can take up to six weeks – and in exceptional circumstances it could be longer.
If you don’t get invited for an interview, it’s unlikely you’ll get feedback on your application. This is purely because of the volume of applications we receive. But don’t let that put you off – keep trying.
If you’re invited for an interview, congratulations! You’ll need to log back into Civil Service Jobs and book an interview slot.
Preparing for your interview
Depending on the role you’ve applied for, you may be asked to give a presentation. If that’s the case, you’ll have a minimum of five working days to prepare. You’ll get this information with your invitation to interview.
Presentation top tips:
Time yourself. You’ll usually have 5-10 minutes
Practice it in front of someone. Remember that presenting complex, technical information to a range of people could be part of the test
Print four copies – one for each panel member and one for yourself, in case of IT issues
Plan and prepare. If there are technical skills or behaviours being tested at the interview, details of these will be in the original job advert.
The most common behaviour that we test is leadership. You don’t necessarily have to be a manager, but you’ll need to demonstrate effective leadership.
At the interview
The interview panel is normally made up of three people: a chair and two other panel members. They will introduce themselves, go through the interview process, explain each step, and how the interview will be structured.
Interview top tips:
Listen to each question carefully, and make sure your answer addresses it
Take your time to respond, and feel free to pause to think about your answer before speaking
Talk about you and what you did, focusing on what you’ve achieved and how you did it
If you’ve made your point, stop talking. The panel want to ensure you do your best, and will prompt you with follow up questions if they need more
If you don’t completely understand the question, ask for clarity
At the interview you may be asked some strength based questions. These are asked to test your initial response. Stay focused and be positive in your answer. If the question is about something you’ve no experience with, tell the panel how you could develop that skill.
During an interview, time is precious. To make sure you explain your examples clearly, use the STAR method: situation, task, action and result. It helps keep your answer short and focused.
After the interview
If you’re unsuccessful, you’ll rget an email letting you know. You can log into Civil Service Jobs and read the feedback, and details of how you scored. This feedback can help you improve any future applications and interviews.
If you’re successful, well done! You’ll also get your results in an email – although you might get a phone call as well – and you’ll be able to see your scores and feedback in your Civil Service Jobs account.
If you already work in DWP, you’ll normally agree a start date with your new team. If you’re from another government department, pre-employment checks will be made, which can take up to three weeks.
If you don’t currently work in the Civil Service, pre-employment checks can take up to eight weeks, depending on the security checks your new team need.