Home Office to test civil servant job candidates with TV and radio interviews

Candidates for some of the top jobs in government will be judged on their performance in front of the camera and behind the microphone as part of the application, with the Home Office set to award its first ever contract for media assessments.

The Home Office will bring in a retained againcy for the first time to handle media training of candidates (pic credit: Mihajlo Maricic/Thinstock)
The Home Office will bring in a retained againcy for the first time to handle media training of candidates (pic credit: Mihajlo Maricic/Thinstock)

Shortlisted candidates for senior positions will be put through their paces in TV and radio interviews to provide selection panels with "with additional evidence on which to base their decision on whom to appoint as either a public appointee or senior civil servant."

This is because those appointed to high-profile roles within the government department and its agencies "will be the focus of intense public and parliamentary scrutiny and it is therefore likely that they will be required to engage with the media," according to the Home Office.

Details of the new move have emerged in a tender document for a three-year contract for ‘Media Assessment For Recruitment’ due to begin next month.

It reveals how the government department is seeking a "media partner" to devise challenging interviews and assess people on their performance.

Individuals will be assessed by the media partner, with how they come across on TV and radio one of the factors that will decide whether they are appointed to senior positions.

The staged interviews will be based on carefully crafted scenarios to "explore the particular challenges, opportunities and vulnerabilities that may confront a candidate on appointment."

Each interview will be recorded to broadcast standard, with the assessment "rigorously role-played by an assessor and camera crew to ensure that it is as close to ‘real life’ as possible."

Copies of the simulated radio and TV interviews will be looked at by selection panels. These will be accompanied by written reports scoring candidates on credibility, personal impact and delivery, reputation management, crisis handling and persuasiveness – as well as commentaries on their performance.

The deadline for bids for the contract is 1 February 2017.

Details of the companies in contention, and the potential value of the contract - the first time the Home Office has sought a contractor on a retained basis - are not in the public domain.

In a statement to PRWeek, a Home Office spokesperson said: "We use media assessment exercises for certain senior roles where the appointee might be required to have a role communicating with the public through the media. These exercises provide selection panels with additional evidence on which to base their decision on whom to appoint as either a public appointee or senior civil servant."


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