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The following questions and answers provide some information on the general principles which apply to recruitment competitions. Detailed information on the policies which apply can be found in the NICS Policy & Procedures Manual.


Q1. Who can apply for this Recruitment Competition?

A. All applicants must ensure that they satisfy the Nationality and Right to Work/Immigration requirements for entry into the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) as detailed in the Candidate Information Booklet.

Q2. I am an existing Civil Servant – can I apply?

A. If you are currently employed by a Department of the Northern Ireland Civil Service in a permanent, fixed term or temporary capacity you are not eligible to apply.

Candidates who are employed by a Recruitment Agency and working in the NICS are eligible to apply for this opportunity.

Q3. Where are opportunities advertised?

A. All recruitment competitions are advertised on the NICS Recruitment website, the three main local newspapers (Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and Newsletter), on Proud Employers website and across social media channels.

Q4. Are these permanent posts?

A. No. It is intended these Fixed Term appointments will be for three years, although there may be the possibility of extension. Any change to the length of the appointment period will be communicated to staff in advance.

Q5. Are there posts available throughout NI?

A. Yes, this competition is to fill Fixed Term EO2 Work Coach posts across Northern Ireland. On the application form candidates may select up to three regional areas where they are prepared to work.

  1. 1 – Northern Region – Foyle, Strabane, Ballymoney, Magherafelt, Coleraine, Lisnagelvin, Carrickfergus, Larne, Limavady, Cookstown, Antrim and Ballymena
  2. 2 – Southern Region – Enniskillen, Armagh, Omagh, Dungannon, Portadown, Downpatrick, Newry, Kilkeel, Lurgan, Banbridge, Ballynahinch and Newcastle
  3. 3 - Belfast Region – Andersonstown, Falls, Shankill, Holywood Road, Newtownabbey, Newtownards, Shaftesbury Square, Knockbreda, Bangor, Lisburn and North Belfast.

Q6. Can I choose which location I want to work in?

A. It is not possible to select offices within a region. Successful candidates must be prepared to work from any location within that region. Details of the allocated office location will be provided in the appointment letter.

Q7. Are the roles suitable for part-time working?

A. All vacancies are full time. Alternative working arrangements cannot be accommodated due to business needs.

Q8. How many positions are available?

A. This competition is being planned to fill approximately 350 Fixed Term vacancies.

Q.9 Are qualifications needed for these posts? If not, why not?

A. No specific qualifications are required to apply to this NICS competition. It has been designed with Diversity and Inclusion in mind to attract and enable people farthest from the labour market to apply. Bespoke selection tests and an experience questionnaire have been designed by occupational psychologists. This decision allows us to attract the widest possible pool of candidates and to reach out to particular groups that are under-represented in the NICS. This includes young people (under 35), people from minority ethnic backgrounds, disabled people, Protestants and men.

Q.10 Can I submit a hard copy application?

A. Applicants are encouraged to submit online applications wherever possible. However, hard copy application packs are available on request. All applications will be treated equally regardless of whether they are hard copy or online.

Q11. Why does the application form ask candidates about previous NICS warnings?

A. The questions in the application form have been included to identify those who have previously been dismissed from the NICS.

Reasonable Adjustments

Q12. I have a disability – what adjustments can be put in place during the recruitment process?

A. We want to ensure all applicants have the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability. If you require any form of reasonable adjustment please note this in the box provided on your application form. You should include details of your disability and the specific adjustment you need. We will consider all requests for reasonable adjustments for any stage of this recruitment process.

Q12. Will reasonable adjustments be accommodated in the workplace?

A. Your line manager will support you if you require an adjustment in the workplace and will follow our ‘Guidance for identifying and implementing reasonable adjustments’ procedure.

Selection Process

Q14. What recruitment and selection methods are used?

A. The assessment tools used for this competition are an application form, followed by online ability and decision making tests, and a pre-recorded interview. The Candidate Information Booklet provides full details relating to this post and details the selection methods to be used for this competition.

Q15. How can you ensure that the assessment process identifies the best candidates?

A. The assessment process outlined above has been designed to ensure that only those candidates who have demonstrated sufficient capability for this role are considered for appointment. We are committed to appointments on merit, in fair and open competition.

Q16. Will I have to attend another test under supervised conditions?

A. No, you will not be required to complete a test under supervised conditions.

Q17. Will I receive feedback on my performance on the online tests?

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

Q18. What if I have a problem during my application, accessing the online test or at any time during the assessment process?

A. Please refer to the invitation you received to initiate the test which gives details of the test helpline. You should contact HRConnect immediately on 0800 1 300 330 or by email to

Pre-recorded Interviews

Q19. If I pass the tests will I be invited for interview?

A. You will be required to achieve a minimum score on each online test. You will also be allocated a score based on the level of relevant experience demonstrated in your experience questionnaire.

The scores on each of the four elements will be equally weighted and added together to produce an overall score. The top performing candidates will then progress to a pre-recorded interview. If you pass the online assessments but do not score highly enough to proceed, you will remain on a list by test score and may proceed to pre-recorded interview at a later date if required within the lifetime of the competition.

Q20. What is a pre-recorded interview?

This is an interview facilitated through video technology. Rather than being interviewed by a selection panel in a live setting you will sent a link and given a week to complete your interview in a comfortable setting, and at a time that suits you. When ready to commence the interview, candidates will be prompted to answer one lead question on each of four competences from the NICS Competence Framework and will be given 3 minutes to respond to each question.

Q21. Where will I attend the interview?

A. You will complete the interview in your own time at home or in a location of your preference.

Q23. Will I get the opportunity to test the pre-recorded video technology before I commence my interview?

A. Candidates will have the opportunity to test the technology to ensure that it is working well and to become familiar with it before you are ready to commence the interview. Further guidance on the Video Interview process will be provided in the invite to interview.

Q24. How do I prepare for the interview?

A. Useful information on how to prepare for the interview has been included in the Candidate Information Booklet. You will be required to provide photographic identification at the pre-recorded interview so you should ensure you have suitable ID readily available.

Q25. How are NICS interviews structured?

A. All interviews are criteria based, which means that candidates are required to demonstrate their competence in a structured interview. Interview questions are based on the competencies for the grade being assessed. These competencies are explained more fully in the NICS Competency Framework. The recorded interview will be referred to a selection panel who will assesses the evidence presented by the candidate against each question and evaluate the extent to which the competences have been satisfied. Each panel member then allocates a score against each criterion, the panel discuss their findings and agree a final score.

Q26. Will I receive feedback after the interview?

A. Feedback will be available upon request once all Interviews are complete.


Q27. How long before I know if I’ve been successful in the competition?

A. You will be informed once all interviews are complete. You will be placed on a merit list according to your location preferences and as vacancies arise offers of appointment will be made.

Q28. If successful, when will I start?

A. Appointments will be made in merit order as vacancies arise. We expect the earliest start date to be January 2021.

Q29. If I pass the selection process will I be offered a post?

A. On completion of the selection process, candidates will be appointed in order of merit to the vacancies available. In some competitions more candidates may be on the merit list than there are actual vacancies to be filled, therefore some candidates who pass may not score highly enough to be offered a post within the lifetime of the competition.

Further Information

Q30. Where can I find further information on applying to the NICS?

A. Further information on the application process, the selection process, appointments, FAQs and other useful information is available at How do I Apply? available on the NICS recruitment website.

Q31. Can I complain about my experience of NICS recruitment?

A. The full complaints process for NICS competitions is also available on the NICS recruitment website through the link below at How Do I Complain?