Guidance

Managing vacancies and applicants

Guidance for vacancy holders on using Civil Service Jobs.

Request an account

You can gain access to the Applicant Tracking System by completing an account request form. Use this form to create accounts for your panel members.

Only list individuals if they’ve never had an account. You’ll need to contact your panel members to check.

Account request form

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Raise your vacancy

Login and choose the “Raise Vacancy” icon, then select the “Raise Vacancy” link below the icon.

The system times users out after 60 minutes of remaining on the same page, this is required for security reasons. It is important that you save your progress regularly by selecting “Confirm” at the bottom of the form.

English and Welsh speaking requirement

If you’re recruiting for a public-facing role, you must ensure that you’re recruiting in line with English and Welsh speaking requirements.

This code of practice aims to help you to meet your legal obligations.

It is recommended that you use a descriptor on the job advert, such as:

The ability to converse at ease with customers and provide advice in accurate spoken English is essential for the post.

Writing a good job advert

From speaking with jobseekers we understand that they:

  • prefer short job adverts
  • dislike jargon and abbreviations
  • are put off by non descriptive job titles
  • like a clear description of the role, tasks and activities

You must only describe qualifications, licences, memberships or languages as ‘essential’ if they’re absolutely necessary for the satisfactory performance of the job.

Include dates for shortlisting and interview on the job advert so job seekers can plan in advance. Ensure that your panel members and meeting rooms are available before committing to any dates. Include an email address and telephone number of a person who can be contacted by applicants, for further information about the job.

Preferred approach

When setting up your vacancy, you’ll be asked to confirm your preferred approach. You’ll be able to select from the following options:

  • External
  • Across government
  • Internal

Departments will have processes in place to redeploy staff who are at risk of redundancy, before a vacancy is advertised.

Your recruiter will be able to advise about the approval process to advertise at your preferred approach.

Panel members

We’ll ask you to list your panel members during the vacancy creation process so they can access the applications.

Additional panel members can be added later if they don’t yet have an account.

The two levels of access are:

  1. Delegated vacancy access = full access (eg edit vacancy, bulk print applications)
  2. Selection panel members = partial access (eg unable to edit vacancy or print applications in bulk)

Upload attachments

On the vacancy information page (the page which appears after you confirm your panel members) you can upload attachments by selecting “Options > Attach File”.

Demonstrating how to access the attach file page.

You must select the “Candidates” check box as this links the document to the job advert.

Attachments should be accessible - creating accessible PDFs.

Reviewing and editing

We recommend you review the job advert as it will appear to job seekers. You can review the job advert from a job seeker’s perspective by selecting “View > View Vacancy”.

To edit your vacancy select “Edit > Edit Vacancy Description”. This action can only be taken if the vacancy is deactivated. Activating and deactivating a vacancy is the responsibility of your recruitment team.

Next steps

When you’re happy with your job advert contact your recruitment team. You may use our contact form if you don’t have an email address to hand.

You should provide confirmation of approval to advertise when you make contact.

Always provide your seven digit vacancy reference number when contacting your recruitment team.

If your department uses the Government Recruitment Service (e.g. Home Office) you don’t need to contact them. They will be notified automatically once you confirm that you vacancy is ready to advertise (you’ll be able to do this when creating or editing your vacancy).

Copying an existing vacancy

If you’ve previously advertised a vacancy on Civil Service Jobs you can copy an existing vacancy.

Login and choose the “Raise Vacancy” icon, then select the “Raise Vacancy” link below the icon. The copy vacancy feature will be available on this page.

Certain fields (such as the number of jobs) don’t copy so you need to review and edit your vacancy before you contact your recruitment team.

You’ll also need to re-attach any relevant documents.

Online tests

There are four tests:

  • Verbal Reasoning Test (VRT)
  • Numerical Reasoning Test (NRT)
  • Civil Service Judgement Test (CSJT)
  • Government Statistical Services (GSS) test

The tests are available for the following grades:

  Verbal Reasoning Test Numerical Reasoning Test CS Judgement Test
Administrative Assistant Yes Yes Yes
Administrative Officer Yes Yes Yes
Executive Officer Yes Yes Yes
Higher Executive Officer Yes Yes Yes
Senior Executive Officer Yes Yes Yes
Grade 7 Yes Yes Yes
Grade 6 Yes Yes No

Benefits of using tests

  • helps to reduce the time and cost
  • immediate results
  • tests are marked automatically so are error free and quick to score
  • easily accessible online via CS Jobs
  • feedback provided automatically for applicants
  • the CSJT has an interview panel report which includes suggested questions based on the applicant’s scores for each competency
  • provided that the test is administered appropriately, including the correct use of cut-off benchmarks, the tests have been found to be fair towards all protected groups and to predict candidates’ performance in later stages of selection

Test suitability

When it’s appropriate to use tests:

  Verbal Reasoning Test Numerical Reasoning Test CS Judgement Test
Small and large campaign Yes Yes Yes
Intellectual ability Yes Yes Some coverage
Potential to progress Yes Yes Yes
Verbal comprehension Yes No Some coverage
Numerical comprehension No Yes No
Assessment of competency potential Some coverage Some coverage Yes

Verbal Reasoning Test (VRT) and Numerical Reasoning Test (NRT)

The VRT and NRT are both examples of general mental ability (GMA) tests. GMA is recognised as the strongest single source predictor of job performance at all seniority levels, across job types and organisations.

Civil Service Judgement Test

The test is a situational judgement test which measures grade-specific competencies from the Civil Service Competency Framework, based on your selection of competencies when you raise the vacancy.

Next steps

If you would like to use tests contact your recruitment team.

Review applications

You can access application forms as soon as they’re submitted.

If you login to your account you’ll be taken to your dashboard. In the “Current Applications” section you’ll see the number of applicants at each status.

If you have access to multiple posts you’ll need to filter this list by entering your vacancy title or reference number.

Demonstrating how to filter by vacancy reference numbers.

Selecting an applicant status will take you to a list of applicants that are at that status.

Often the applicant names will be hidden and the ID column will be used as the unique identifier for each application. This is done as the public sector has made a commitment to name blind recruitment.

To print, select all of the applications (there are options to select in bulk at the bottom of the page), then select “Print > Print Applications PDF”.

Remember, you may need to award priority to certain applicants.

If you have asked for attachments (eg CV or Personal Statement), you should use “Print > Print Book/App Summary” to export these in bulk.

Evaluation form

To help you with assessing applicants we’ve provided offline (word version) evaluation forms.

Sift evaluation form

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Awarding priority at sift and interview

Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS)

Disabled applicants applying under this scheme must be awarded an interview if they meet the minimum criteria for the job. This means that they:

  • provide evidence within their application which demonstrates that they meet the minimum criteria required for each competency (ie they score 4 or above)
  • meet all of the qualifications, skills or experience defined as essential

We display whether an applicant is applying against the GIS on their application forms and when you list applications.

It is unlawful to ask a candidate about their disability or health except in specific circumstances. Asking whether a candidate wishes to apply under the GIS is one of the exceptions.

Upload sift (shortlisting) results

You must give certain applicants priority at sift.

You need to provide scores and results for each application at the initial sift stage.

You will need to retain all notes made during the selection decision process for audit purposes.

On your dashboard’s “Current Applications” section, filter the results using your vacancy reference number or title (if you have access to more than one vacancy).

Select the “Awaiting Sift” status to access relevant applications, you should also look to review applicants at other active statuses eg “Help required” (the reason for requiring help will show on the application form).

On the list of applications, the far right column has an icon which shows a yellow pencil. Select this icon to load the applicant’s history page.

Demonstrating the icon that depicts the applicant history page.

Select “Forms > Update Sift Results Form”. Complete the relevant form fields and select “Update”.

If you’re providing results for multiple applicants you can use the arrows at the top of the page to navigate through to the next applicants results form.

Showing how to select and navigate sift evaluation forms.

Next steps

After you have uploaded the results for all of your applicants contact your recruitment team to advise. They’ll tell you what to do next.

If you don’t have your recruiter’s email address to hand then you can use our contact form.

Applicants will need to be progressed to “On hold after sift”. Sometimes this is your responsibility but often your recruitment team will take this forward find out more.

Set up interviews

On your dashboard you’ll see an “Interview Management” icon if you’re responsible for setting up the interviews. Not all vacancy holders will have access to this icon.

If this isn’t visible, email your recruiter with the interview details and they will set this up on your behalf. Otherwise choose this option and select the “Raise Interview” link below the icon. Then follow these steps:

Step Action
1 Choose the template that matches your required selection (often this will be “Interview 002 - 1st Interview”) then select “Next”.
2 Enter your title, start date and location details. “Internal” means it will be visible to your selection panel members and “External” indicates that applicants will see the information.
3 Tag your vacancy and select “Create”. On the next page select the title that you provided (this will appear as a link).
4 Next you need to setup a number of slots for which your applicants will be able to select from. Select “Edit” within the “Interview Slots” section.
5 In the “Enter New Slots” section add the interview data and the time of the first interview.
6 Select the length of the interview (include time for break in-between interviews) and list the number of interviews within the “No. of Sequential Slots” field. Tip: you may want to include an additional slot for lunch. The system allocates slots sequentially so you need to delete the slot which you’ll use for lunch.
7 You can add up to 5 panel members to these events prior to selecting “Enter” and they’ll receive a calendar invitation which updates itself when a candidate chooses a slot (if “iCal” notification is selected).
8 We will tell you if the slots have been created and will display them back to you in the “Existing Slots” section.

Evaluation form

At interview you may want to use our offline (word version) evaluation form to capture comments, scores and outcome decisions.

Interview evaluation form

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email support.csjobs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Next steps

Applicants will now need to be invited to interview. Sometime this is your responsibility, but often your recruitment team will take this forward find out more.

Print your schedule on or just before the interview/assessment day.

Step Action
1 On your dashboard in the “Current Applications” section, filter the results using your vacancy reference number or title (if you have access to more than one vacancy).
2 Select the “Scheduled for 1st interview” or “Scheduled for assessment” status to see applicants at that status.
3 Right click your mouse anywhere on your list of applicants, and a new window will open. Put a tick next to the following 4 options; interview title, interview date, interview location and interviewer. Click “Submit Query”.
4 You can now see the interview time for each applicant. Click the “Excel” icon and a printable spreadsheet will open for you.

Upload interview results

On your dashboard under “Current Applications” filter the results using your vacancy reference number or title (if you have access to more than one vacancy).

Select the “Scheduled for 1st Interview” status (candidate may also be at scheduled for assessment/telephone/2nd interview statuses) to access relevant applications.

On the list of applications the far right column has an icon which shows a yellow pencil. Select this image against your first applicant, this will load the applicants history page.

Select “Forms > Update 1st Interview results form”. Complete the relevant form fields and select “Update”.

If you’re uploading results for multiple applicants you can use the arrows at the top of the page to navigate through to the next applicants results form.

Next steps

You must contact your recruitment team at this stage to inform them that the interview results are available on the system. This will prompt them to complete any necessary pre-posting/employment checks.

Applicants will need to be progressed to the next relevant status. Sometimes this is your responsibility but often your recruitment team will take this forward find out more.

Progress applicant statuses

You are responsible for changing applicant statuses if you work for any of the following departments:

  • Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
  • Charity Commission
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
  • Disclosure and Barring Service
  • Food Standards Agency
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Intellectual Property Office
  • Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
  • Ministry of Defence
  • National Institute for Biological Standards and Control
  • Office for National Statistics
  • Ofsted
  • UK Export Finance

After you have setup your interview slots you should edit applicants statuses from “On hold after sift” to “Invited to interview”. If you work for Defence Science and Technology Laboratory your recruiter will manage the interview scheduling including this status change.

When the interviews have concluded, upload your interview results and change the applicants’ status from “Scheduled for 1st Interview” to “On hold after 1st Interview”.

There will be other possible combinations eg if you’re using an assessment instead of an interview.

How to progress your applicant’s status

Step Action
1 On your dashboard in the “Current Applications” section filter the results by entering your vacancy reference number (if you have access to more than one vacancy).
2 Select the status which holds the applicants that need to be progressed (eg awaiting sift).
3 From the list of applicants select the ones for which you would like to progress.
4 At the bottom of the list select “Progress Applications > Progress to Next Stage”
5 Select the status you need to move the applicants to. If an email is tagged to the status you have selected, the content will appear. Select “Update Status”.
6 Repeat steps 4-5 if you have further statuses to change.
Published 16 September 2016
Last updated 29 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. Removed description of Civil Service Initial Sift Test, following withdrawal of the test.
  2. Updated contact details in Account request form
  3. Document updated to reflect changes made on 1 April following the implementation of the Civil Service Recruitment Framework.
  4. First published.