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If you have any questions that haven’t been answered in the candidate information booklet or other sections of the microsite, please refer to the list of frequently asked questions below.


How many positions are available?

This competition is being planned to fill current and future vacancies that may arise at these grades across all NICS Departments over the next 18 months. At this stage it is envisaged that over 150 vacancies at each grade will be filled. Further vacancies may arise during the lifetime of the competition.

Am I eligible to work in the UK and in the Northern Ireland Civil Service?

You are eligible to work in the Northern Ireland Civil Service if you satisfy both the Nationality and Right to work/Immigration requirements. Further information can be found in the Candidate Information Booklet.

I have a disability – what adjustments will be put in place?

We are committed to ensuring that all applicants have the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability. Should you require any form of reasonable adjustment to complete any part of the assessment process or in taking up an offer of employment please note this in the box provided on your application form. Evidence required to support your request should be emailed to as soon as possible following submission of your application. Should you have any queries please contact HRConnect on 0800 1 300 330.

What should I do if there is a problem during my application or at any time during the assessment process?

You should contact HRConnect immediately on 0800 1 300 330 or by email to

Which Departments are these posts for?

This campaign is to fill a range of jobs right across the NICS covering a range of roles. There are a number of vacancies at both Staff Officer (SO) and Deputy Principal (DP) Grades within the Greater Belfast area and throughout Northern Ireland, including the North West. Successful candidates must be prepared to work in any location in Northern Ireland.

Are these permanent posts?


Are the roles suitable for part-time working?

All requests for alternative working patterns will be considered.

Can I choose which department and/or location I want to work in?

You will be able to indicate your preference for a particular Department and/ or location in the applicant profile section of the application form. This will be considered when matching people to posts, in merit order. There can, however, be no guarantee given that you will be offered a post in your preferred area.

What is the applicant profile detail on the application form used for?

This is not scored or used in the assessment process. The details submitted by you in this section will be used to allocate you to a suitable position taking account of your skills, knowledge and any personal preference, where it is possible to do so. You should be aware that it will not always be possible to offer you a post in line with your preference.

Why was the closing date and time extended for submitting applications?

Some applicants experienced IT difficulties and the closing date for applications was therefore extended by 24 hours to ensure those who encountered IT difficulties had sufficient opportunity to submit their application.

Why was the closing date for online tests extended?

As a result of the extension to the application stage, the date for completion of the online was extended to 5.00pm on Wednesday 22 May.

Why does the application form ask candidates about previous NICS warnings?

The questions in the application form have been included to identify those who following an internal investigation, have been disqualified from applying for internal promotion and external recruitment in the NICS.

How can you ensure that the assessment process identifies the best candidates?

A rigorous assessment process has been designed to include online tests, followed by an eligibility sift on experience after the online test (all candidates who progress to Assessment Centre must have at least two years relevant previous experience). Competencies which are being assessed in the online tests are then reassessed via an invigilated written exercise, a presentation and interview at an assessment centre. Those candidates attending an assessment centre will also have to complete an invigilated test. We are committed to appointments on merit, in fair and open competition. The process developed will ensure that only those candidates who have demonstrated sufficient capability for these roles are considered for appointment.


Online tests

Will I have to attend another test under supervised conditions?

You may be required to complete the tests under supervised conditions at a later date. It is in your best interests to complete the online tests in a test like environment, ensuring you are not disturbed by other people or by any other distraction such as mobile phones, TV etc.

Will I receive feedback on my performance on the online tests?

Yes, feedback will issue automatically to you at the same time as you receive your online test results.

Eligibility Sift

If I pass the tests will I be invited to assessment centre?

You will be required to achieve a minimum score on each test. The top performing candidates will then progress to an eligibility sift. Those that meet the eligibility criteria will be invited to attend an assessment centre. If you pass the tests but do not score high enough to proceed, you will remain on a list by test score and may proceed to eligibility sift stage at a later date if further assessment centres are planned within the lifetime of the competition.

What should I include in the eligibility criteria?

You should ensure that you provide evidence of your experience, including length of experience, examples and dates as required. Useful information is contained within the Candidate Information Booklet.

Will I receive feedback after the eligibility sift?

Yes, feedback will issue automatically to you if you fail to meet the eligibility requirements. If you are a top scoring candidate at the online tests and meet the eligibility requirements you will receive an invitation to attend an assessment centre.

Assessment Centre

Where will I attend the Assessment Centre?

It is likely that Assessment Centre’s will be held in Central Belfast. The location will be confirmed in your invite to attend the Assessment Centre.

Will there be flexibility regarding the date of the Assessment Centre that I can go to?

You will be assigned to a particular date. Dates of Assessment Centres have been outlined in the Candidate Information Booklet. Requests to reschedule will only be made in very exceptional circumstances and where there are other slots available. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that we will be able to offer you an alternative date.

Are travel expenses paid to attend Assessment Centre?


How do I prepare for the Assessment Centre?

Useful information on how to prepare for the Assessment Centre has been included in the Candidate Information Booklet

Will I receive feedback after the Assessment Centre?

Yes, feedback will issue to all candidates who have attended an Assessment Centre, once all Assessment Centres are complete.

How long before I know if I’ve been successful?

You will be informed once all Assessment Centres are complete. We are aiming to begin making job offers within 8-10 weeks of application, but it can be longer depending on a variety of factors.

If successful, when will I start?

When you start work will depend on a variety of factors. It is expected that the highest scoring candidates will receive offers of appointment from late June 2019.