To hate the civil service

(33 Posts)
Canunot Thu 25-Nov-21 16:16:52

I first applied for a civil service role at the end of September. I did the final interview on the 3rd of November and I still don’t know if I have been successful!

To make matters worse there may not even be a role available as I believe reserve lists are a big part of their recruiting. So I may meet the standard but they don’t have a role available in my chosen locations. So I’ll stay on a reserve list for a year in case one pops up.

There seems to be a lot of people suggesting on student rooms that they are really incompetent when it comes to recruiting for this department as in last month several people have been told they were successful only to be told a week later that this was actually a mistake.

I have an interview for a promotion at my current workplace on Wednesday and this is really starting to stress me out, as I do really want to get the civil service role but I’m against mucking my current employer about.

Does anyone have any similar experiences and think that it would be a good idea to send an email asking for a timescale?

OP’s posts: |
Alm1986 Thu 25-Nov-21 16:37:12

Reserve lists can work well. The advert should state if they were going to hold a list.

Personally I'd go for the promotion with your current employer. If you're successful with the civil service but require security clearance, this can take months from offer date. I've not done any recruitment recently, but a colleague has an applicant who has now been waiting for SC clearance for 4+ months.

Was it a bulk recruitment campaign? They do tend to be slower. I first joined on one, the advert closed in January and I started in July! My current role was a move between departments and still took 4 months between applying and starting, and I already had the relevant security clearance.

Kebabandchipsplease Thu 25-Nov-21 16:42:22

Same here.

Last year I applied in June, started in November. I then moved roles and applied in May this year, didn't start until September so recruitment in the CS is not a quick process at all.

UtterlyUnimaginativeUsername Thu 25-Nov-21 16:43:40

YABU to want a job with them but also hate them!

Canunot Thu 25-Nov-21 16:50:28

Thanks. Yes it was a bulk campaign.

I’m going to do my best with my interview next week anyway I just wish it was a slicker process.

OP’s posts: |
user1471457751 Thu 25-Nov-21 16:55:02

If you hate the civil service then withdraw from the recruitment process. 4-5 weeks from applying to interview really isn't that slow, especially if you applied before the deadline. Thats similar to any professional private sector job I've applied for. 3 weeks from interview is longer than average, in my dept we try to not exceed 2. But it depends on how many they're interviewing, It could have been interviews over a week or longer.

I once took almost an extra week to submit interview outcomes because one candidate was too ill on the day and I agreed to reschedule rather than completely cancel her interview. Things happen.

WhatDidISayAlan Thu 25-Nov-21 16:59:42

Boyfriend applied for a job in August, interviewed early September, and has only just passed all his clearances and had his formal offer (DfEd) this week. He still doesn't have a start date. Luckily he's been off a while and had a massive redundancy payout that he's living off, but it's rediculous.

And when you get in it's not much easier! I'm not CS but I'm on CS terms and conditions of employment as I'm in an arm's length body. It's taken me nearly three days to get a purchase order completed and approved to pay for a board meeting sandwich lunch...


Unhomme Thu 25-Nov-21 17:03:59

I'd withdraw if I were you, the civil service has enough people with chips on their shoulders without you adding to them even before you start.

TurnStone Thu 25-Nov-21 17:05:26

Why is the taxpayer funding public sector lunches ? They should either break for lunch, order in at their own expense or bring a packed lunch like everyone else.

Unhomme Thu 25-Nov-21 17:11:06

@TurnStone because it can be a lot more efficient to keep people in one place continuing to work, than breaking them up, breaking train of thought, or not getting the most out of the time available.

The CS even has a special grace "dear taxpayer, we are truly thankful for your sandwiches and crisps, may we serve you better now our tummy is filled from the earnings of those in more profitable private jobs, amen*"

*note this may cause offence.

Franca123 Thu 25-Nov-21 17:11:47

I no longer apply to the civil service as something ridiculous always happen. If the shitness of their recruitment processes is anything to go by, it must be a nightmare working there. The latest one asked for something very odd in the application which I didn't have as it's not relevant to my industry. I attempted to contact them to clarify. So fucking rude. It was the final straw for me.

DirtyDancing Thu 25-Nov-21 17:31:27

If it's bulk, then you're right the Department has found a large number of roles to fill and will be going through an extensive skills matching process, against multiple panels. You will have make likely been interviewed by HR & panel volunteers, rather than the line managers. They will then be talking to line managers about the candidates and posts.

I would ask the CSR for an update.

Don't dismiss the reserve list. I have recently recruited and had 3 candidates on reserve list and will be going to offer 2 of those candidates roles in another team in my Group. Have to offer in order of merit so depending where you are it could take a while for a job match to come up trumps

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Thu 25-Nov-21 17:52:12

I work for the civil service and we did a huge bulk recruitment in the summer (over 50 posts). All of my team applied for promotion and half were put on waiting lists, 2 were successful outright and were promoted within the team so I kept them. I've since been able to recruit the rest of them from the waiting list so all my team who met the standard are now at their new grades within my team.

Waiting lists have worked well for us. There were over 60 people on the waiting list in total, some of whom were offered roles in different parts of the department who didn't come in on our bulk recruitment but looked at our waiting list first before going out for another recruitment - they did a skills match and there are now about 20 people left on the list.

It is slow though. The jobs were first advertised in May. We sifted in June and interviewed in late June and early July. Results came out in September once the relevant line managers had been involved in the matching process for the successful candidates, and then worked out who was being promoted and what gaps that left, so the waiting list for the lower grades could be reviewed. It is a complicated process though to be fair.

Mamacita191 Thu 25-Nov-21 17:53:55

Same here!! I interviewed for a role as a compliance caseworker (bulk one) on 8 October!! Still haven’t heard! So frustrating! I did chase up with the recruitment email who said they’ve not yet heard from the hiring managers and this was at the end of October as I was told in my interview I’d hear by mid October!

I don’t even know what to think about it all tbh but it is ridiculously long. Surely they know the torture they’re putting candidates through?!

Unmute Thu 25-Nov-21 18:03:07

You've hardly been waiting any time! I applied for a Scottish government role in March, on the closing date, wasn't interviewed until July, and just started the job at the end of October.

Canunot Thu 25-Nov-21 18:17:07

Just want to clarify I do not hate the civil service, I just hate their recruitment process.

Also the deadline was the end of September.

OP’s posts: |
MrsToothyBitch Thu 25-Nov-21 18:31:30

@WhatDidISayAlan- this sounds very like the system I had to use to present a business case for getting a one off window cleaner in for our office!

It is quite a slow recruitment process though OP. If you need a security clearance to properly confirm an initial offer, it'll be slower still. A friend was kicking his heels for about 5/6 months!

BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz Thu 25-Nov-21 18:34:31


Why is the taxpayer funding public sector lunches ? They should either break for lunch, order in at their own expense or bring a packed lunch like everyone else.

Because Boards are made up of highly experienced individuals outside of the organisation that the CS doesnt pay. So expenses, such as catering for the meeting, is completely acceptable and cheaper by far than paying external people a wage for the time.

BigYellowHat Thu 25-Nov-21 18:35:12

I was once appointed from a waiting list. From putting in application to starting it was 5 months.

Tabbacus Thu 25-Nov-21 18:36:53

If you find the slow recruitment process annoying, no doubt you will struggle with internal, clunky, frustrating processes covered in red tape.

WhatDidISayAlan Thu 25-Nov-21 18:44:55

@TurnStone - we don’t cater for every meeting over lunch - we are encouraged to not schedule meetings between 12-2pm. But board meetings are all day, and we have 10 a year. Our non-execs are paid, but way, way, way below their market rate. They are captains of industry in most cases, experts in their fields, and work extremely hard for us. They see their work as doing something for the greater good, and putting back into society. I absolutely do not begrudge paying less than £2000 a year (in total) to feed them so they can continue to work and advise my colleagues. I just wish it wasn’t so hard to pay for it.

herestoyoucolinrobinson Thu 25-Nov-21 18:44:59


If you find the slow recruitment process annoying, no doubt you will struggle with internal, clunky, frustrating processes covered in red tape.

I was going to say this too.

Sunbird24 Thu 25-Nov-21 18:52:38

I don’t disagree OP, but it’s often worse being on the other end! One CS who worked for me left in April (only 4 weeks’ notice required) and the job advert has only gone live this week. Heaven only knows when I’m going to actually get a new person!

tttigress Thu 25-Nov-21 18:59:56

Can't comment on the CS specifically, but I think all employers drag their feet.

What I want when I apply for a job is a yes or no as quickly as possible, so I can mentally move on to the next thing (be it applying for another job, or convincing myself I don't hate my current employer that much really!!)

tedsletterofthelaw Thu 25-Nov-21 19:01:37

I'm currently on two civil service waiting lists. I'm number 1 on one of them so I have hopes of being called up for that one (received outcome 2 weeks ago).

Interview No. 3 in 3 months a week tomorrow.

It is certainly a slow process but patience is key I think (not something I am blessed with unfortunately, especially as I hate my current toxic job)

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