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Appeal for Civil Service Interview (TSP)

(18 Posts)
Askedforafriend Fri 22-Jan-21 03:02:45

Perfectly happy to be told I'm being unreasonable.

My friend escaped a very dangerous relationship a year ago. It was quite scary and took me and exH considerable resources to help relocate her and support her while she sorted her life out. She was essentially a victim of modern day slavery. She was diagnosed with PTSD, depression and generalised anxiety disorder after this ordeal. She got into temporary accommodation, sorted out her immigration status out, has her own passport for the first time, DC in nursery and is thriving. She got the right to work recently and applied for the civil service TSP.

She kept me abreast of her progress and did very well. Scoring top marks for every category - until the video interview. She told me she froze and was so nervous and anxious she almost passed out but managed to finish even though she rushed through. She got the results today and has not been selected to the last stage of assessment. The minimum score to proceed is 21/32. She scored 24/32, but the CS say they are taking 25/32. She is okay with this. I asked her if she disclosed her disability as she would have had accommodations such as extra time and this would have helped. She said she did not know she was allowed to do this.

I know she can apply next year. But she has essentially had 8 years of her life post uni stolen from her by a horrible man, and forced to work 18 hour days and never actually kept any money she worked for as her partner/"pimp" took everything and kept her bank account, card etc. I would love for her to get a fair shot. I know in the last stage of the assessment she will do well. I'm probably overinvested and she will get a job eventually, but I just feel so gutted for her. Is there a possible appeal process for this. She is just so ridiculously close and had 99% better than all test takers scores for all the stages.

Feel free to tell me I'm overinvested.

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Askedforafriend Fri 22-Jan-21 03:09:28

Just because she is an eloquent, intelligent person. I hate seeing her dismissed for graduate programs because she has no experience and an 8 year gap in work history, because she was literally enslaved. I hope that man rots in prison.

I mean does she put she graduated in 2013 and then what? I spent the last 8 years as a slave

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zooloo88 Fri 22-Jan-21 06:46:16

That's such horrible circumstances and I feel your pain for her! In my experience The job market at the moment is really tough, more and more applicants to jobs than before and end dates for applications closing early it really is tough, my partner has been for numerous interviews for jobs he is over qualified in and still is being rejected with feedback there is nothing he needs to improve on they just have so many qualified people applying!

As for whether to put a case forward I don't know enough about the recruitment policy but it may be worth putting it on future applications for a fair shot and guaranteed interview, the interview experience is always horrible especially via zoom but it's a chance to gain experience in what to expect for any more interviews x

TSPer Fri 22-Jan-21 07:00:57

If you are talking about the Tax Specialist Programme run by HMRC, the video interview is only part of the process. The step after that is the assessment centre and the video interview is one step on the way. That is much tougher.

I am on TSP and like many others got through on my second attempt. Some people apply several times. It's a challenging process. Your friend can reapply when her MH improves.

I have to speak to people including Tribunal Judges over video calls during lockdown. So if she is not in the right place to do the job at the moment, it's best she was screened out now.

OfficerHops Fri 22-Jan-21 07:25:27

Civil service interviews do give you the option for reasonable adjustments (e.g. lift access for wheelchair users). She may have been able to request extra time, but if she froze I don’t see how that would have helped her.

I think the best thing she can do is spend some time practicing interviews and reapplying.

As far as the scoring goes, there is a standard pass mark but if there is a very high scoring cohort the interview panel are allowed to raise the bar within reason.

Normalmumandwife Fri 22-Jan-21 07:31:51

I think it is sad what has happened to her but frankly as others have said, she still has to perform and in reality going into the next stage and struggling badly would have a bigger effect. I would waste time and hope in appealing it. They want and need the best people for the job and she probably needs longer than a year. Better to build up her experience and confidence.

Frownette Fri 22-Jan-21 07:39:42

What sort of help is she getting to aid in her recovery? She'd need to demonstrate progress and commitment towards functioning and healing (as much as you can after something so awful).

Civil service is a disability friendly employer, she could contact Philip Rutman on twitter (diversity & inclusion awards). She does need to be upfront and say she has experienced trauma but is taking steps to not let this interfere with work.

When can she reapply? Could she ask to redo the video interview and explain why?

TSPer Fri 22-Jan-21 07:56:33

The problem is that all the steps in the application process test the skills you need to do the job. The assessment centre is a lot more challenging than the video interview and she would find that a lot harder.

The job itself is difficult, three years of exams and working at the same time. It can be very stressful, especially if you have young kids. think the best approach may be to apply for admin roles in HMRC or the other parts of civil service first to build better skills and confidence.

Plonthy Fri 22-Jan-21 08:05:54

"The minimum score to proceed is 21/32. She scored 24/32, but the CS say they are taking 25/32. "

Minimum scores can be raised if the calibre of candidates is higher than expected. It happens a lot more than people realise.

On balance of what you've told us, it seems a straightforward case that there were simply better candidates and your friend didnt make the cut sadly.

Askedforafriend Fri 22-Jan-21 09:05:20

You are all right. Just so annoyed for her. The civil service is great as a disability friendly employer, and is one of the few graduate enployees that genuinely to me at least seems bias free, things like a massive gap in the CV don't matter.

She did extremely well in each category always the 99th percentile. It just blows she lost put by 1 point. Next year is always there I suppose. I will encourage her to keep applying to CS in any role and try again next year. At least she will be prepared and genuinely better off.

Doesn't take away from it being a massive achievement to get as far as she did on first attempt - all things considered.

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HumourReplacementTherapy Fri 22-Jan-21 09:30:05

You're asked on the application form specifically
'Do you have a health problem or disability'
It also gives the option Re the guaranteed interview scheme.
There's no harm in sending in a letter to explain though. She has the original application form with the contact details on so give it a whirl.
I'm sorry she's been through all she has. I hope she finds something soon.

TSPer Fri 22-Jan-21 09:30:27

At each stage of the process there are screening tests and the scores are effectively reset. I also got 99% on the three screening tests but failed at the assessment centre the first time around.
Frankly at the time I did not have the relevant skills to succeed.

I think the initial screening tests measure basic intelligence and education. The video interview and assessment centre measure the skills you need to do the job and communication is key. Once your friend has improved those skills and gained confidence she will have a better chance.

There is also the civil service fast stream to aim for next year as well as TSP.

There are loads of fulfilling civil service jobs to go for in the meantime. I had great jobs at both band O and HO and developed the skills to progress.

Askedforafriend Fri 22-Jan-21 10:44:42

*Do you have a health problem or disability'
It also gives the option Re the guaranteed interview scheme.*

Yes of course. She said she didn't realise her diagnosis was included and thought it was restricted to things like someone with mobility issues who may need to be interviewed in an accessible building etc.

Yes definitely. I will tell her to keep at it- though she doesn't really need me to. She does have a fantastic attitude and has bounced back well. I am amazed she has such a positive attitude and has done so many applications without getting discouraged.

She will definitely get a job soon.

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Askedforafriend Fri 22-Jan-21 10:45:31

I'm more upset than she is to be fair.

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Askedforafriend Fri 22-Jan-21 10:51:13

@TSPer. What is the civil service fast stream?

Thank you for your responses everyone. I would really appreciate any suggestions of any entry level jobs or schemes preferably within the civil service that you may know of. I find private companies tend to be more critical of a gap and I honestly do not have advice on how to answer that question.

I didn't even know of the TSP. She heard about it from someone who suggested to her that it would suit her skill set.

For reference sake she has two STEM degrees (engineering) and a Masters in Economics. She is early 30s.

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TSPer Fri 22-Jan-21 11:43:45

You can Google for more info, it's basically a development programme for grads which takes them to Grade 7. The pay is less on the course than TSP and it takes longer.

It depends where she lives, but there are plenty of entry level jobs in the CS. Perhaps aim for Band O to start with. She can set alerts in her CS jobs account.

TSPer Fri 22-Jan-21 11:48:31

Here it's closed for this year. If she looks on Student Room there is normally a discussion about which streams are easier to get into. They also do a video interview unfortunately.

Askedforafriend Fri 22-Jan-21 12:44:42

Thanks TSPer. Will let her know

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