Can you raise concerns about a member of your Civil Service interview panel?

Here's a tricky one, and ideally for those familiar with the Senior Civil Service appointment process.

A really interesting full-time senior CS role has been advertised in one of the Departments of State, and the job pack includes details of the interview panel. One of the three panellists I know of through a previous appointment and (in my mind) is a thoroughly unpleasant character; the person is also very religious, delivering fundamentalist sermons which I also believe are in conflict with his very senior role within this particular Department.

I am concerned that at interview, I could be asked about some of my relevant experience in my time in the MOD and RAF which I would feel very uncomfortable to reveal in front of this individual. If I am successful in the sift (and I meet the essential and desirable criteria in spades, having already completed a very satisfactory psychological assessment for the department in another role, and have the appropriate and extant clearances) can I/should I raise concerns about the Panel member to the Civil Service Commission beforehand?
 
Whilst I don't have experience of the Senior Civil Service appointment process, I would caution against raising a concern prior to the interview. The first thing the Civil Service Commission will do is approach the Panel member and whilst they shouldn't identify you, there's no guarantee that the Panel member will not find (or work it) out.
Surely it would be better to raise any concerns after the interview.
 
Whilst I don't have experience of the Senior Civil Service appointment process, I would caution against raising a concern prior to the interview. The first thing the Civil Service Commission will do is approach the Panel member and whilst they shouldn't identify you, there's no guarantee that the Panel member will not find (or work it) out.
Surely it would be better to raise any concerns after the interview.
Agreed. The CS (particularly the SCS) is averse to those who would be seen as rocking the boat*, because policy, etc is based on consensus. Deal with the chap for the (relatively) short duration of an interview and then move forward.

*It is odds on that, no matter how valid and rational your concerns, you will be seen as rocking the boat. Better to challenge an interview outcome afterwards, if you have grounds. But again, that would bear thinking about first too.
 
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Here's a tricky one, and ideally for those familiar with the Senior Civil Service appointment process.

A really interesting full-time senior CS role has been advertised in one of the Departments of State, and the job pack includes details of the interview panel. One of the three panellists I know of through a previous appointment and (in my mind) is a thoroughly unpleasant character; the person is also very religious, delivering fundamentalist sermons which I also believe are in conflict with his very senior role within this particular Department.

I am concerned that at interview, I could be asked about some of my relevant experience in my time in the MOD and RAF which I would feel very uncomfortable to reveal in front of this individual. If I am successful in the sift (and I meet the essential and desirable criteria in spades, having already completed a very satisfactory psychological assessment for the department in another role, and have the appropriate and extant clearances) can I/should I raise concerns about the Panel member to the Civil Service Commission beforehand?
Not interviewed for SCS and my interviewing areas is down at the AO/HEO level, however, I would strongly suggest you simply hold your tongue and just do the interview regardless of the persons on the panel. Just get yourself the job if you can. If not, maybe look for a different job. Not helpful but it's a mucky situation mate.

Yes, you have your concerns about a member but, in reality, they are simply your opinion and perhaps have little bearing on their ability to interview you and you only risk shooting your application in the foot by raising the issues. Unless you believe their attitudes and previous interactions will prevent them impartially giving you a fair go.....

Best of luck F_C, you've always come across as a decent sort on these hallowed pages.
 

cowgoesmoo

Old-Salt
IME interview processes in grown up organisations tend to have very objective criteria for assessing candidates to avoid the "I just don't like the person" opinions having any weight. Can't imagine the CS being much different
 

Arte_et_Marte

ADC
Moderator
If you know somebody on the panel, shouldn't they recuse themselves? (I know it's terminology for a judge, but I can't think of the correct word.)
 
If you know somebody on the panel, shouldn't they recuse themselves? (I know it's terminology for a judge, but I can't think of the correct word.)
In the Civil Service, you are frequently interviewed by panels made up of your immediate managers (in terms of grade) or people you already have working relationships with. In most departments, an average length of employment will mean you encounter, and are known to, most managers and senior managers.
 
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Here's a tricky one, and ideally for those familiar with the Senior Civil Service appointment process.

A really interesting full-time senior CS role has been advertised in one of the Departments of State, and the job pack includes details of the interview panel. One of the three panellists I know of through a previous appointment and (in my mind) is a thoroughly unpleasant character; the person is also very religious, delivering fundamentalist sermons which I also believe are in conflict with his very senior role within this particular Department.

I am concerned that at interview, I could be asked about some of my relevant experience in my time in the MOD and RAF which I would feel very uncomfortable to reveal in front of this individual. If I am successful in the sift (and I meet the essential and desirable criteria in spades, having already completed a very satisfactory psychological assessment for the department in another role, and have the appropriate and extant clearances) can I/should I raise concerns about the Panel member to the Civil Service Commission beforehand?

Perhaps you could use the "I'm not at liberty to discuss that" approach (unless the department IS the MOD), but then go on to say "However, I can discuss a similar experience..." and swerve the discussion to something in your favour that isn't nearly so contentious.
 
Perhaps you could use the "I'm not at liberty to discuss that" approach (unless the department IS the MOD), but then go on to say "However, I can discuss a similar experience..." and swerve the discussion to something in your favour that isn't nearly so contentious.
Very cunning.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Here's a tricky one, and ideally for those familiar with the Senior Civil Service appointment process.

A really interesting full-time senior CS role has been advertised in one of the Departments of State, and the job pack includes details of the interview panel. One of the three panellists I know of through a previous appointment and (in my mind) is a thoroughly unpleasant character; the person is also very religious, delivering fundamentalist sermons which I also believe are in conflict with his very senior role within this particular Department.

I am concerned that at interview, I could be asked about some of my relevant experience in my time in the MOD and RAF which I would feel very uncomfortable to reveal in front of this individual. If I am successful in the sift (and I meet the essential and desirable criteria in spades, having already completed a very satisfactory psychological assessment for the department in another role, and have the appropriate and extant clearances) can I/should I raise concerns about the Panel member to the Civil Service Commission beforehand?

You wouldn't be the first person to be uncomfortable talking about their time in the RAF.

Blame it on youth and needing the money and then move the conversation quickly on to Jesus and how he told you that he wants you to do this job.
 

Aphra

Old-Salt
I worked in the public sector but my oldest friend was a senior civil servant and I recall times we each recused ourselves from interview panels when external candidates were known to us. It may be that, as applications are anonymised during the sifting process, this person won't know it's you until late in the day when they might well step away. That's assuming another person is able to step inm

Internal candidates are different as you may well have a view based on their previous performance but the idea of a panel is to ensure undue weight is not given to a panel member's positive or negative prior contact with the candidate.

I'm with those saying this isn't the time to report your concerns and if you don't get an interview or don't get the job it's equally sticky.

Playing devil's advocate here, if I received .a report I'd ask - if your concerns are genuine, why haven't you reported them before now? Is it because your previous contact would incline the panel member against you? Is it sour grapes that you weren't appointed?

If you aren't offered an interview, I'd still think carefully about what you would want to achieve by reporting your concerns which, if this person makes no secret of their religious beliefs (and they generally don't) are probably already known to their colleagues.

I think @Roadster280 has given excellent advice on how to word your responses to questions about your service and, if I ever have another interview, intend to use it myself even though I haven't any military service to protect.
 

RTU'd

LE
I would raise it with the Defence Business Service person dealing with the application?
It is up to them to make sure you are interviewed in a fair & correct manner.

Or you could when introduced to them in the interview say oh hello Mr/Mrs XX nice to see you again.
That way the others know you have met them before.

For example I was interviewed & excepted a job some 18 years ago in the CS, just after SC clearance I turned the job down & applied for a different job still within the same battle group. When Interviewed the 2nd time Major XX & Senior CS were both on the interview panel, both had stated previously they thought I was letting the side down turning a job down so long it to the process. I shook them both by the hand, stated to the other interview members I had met Major XX & Senior CS before at another Interview. For the new job I was more suited for with the qualifications I had. The Interview was long but I presented them with a large amount of shiny qualification certificates and answered all the questions clearly.

Within 1 hour of getting home Major XX rang me and said the whole panel (4 in total) were very impressed with how I presented myself, I admitted errors in previous interview and employment but had plenty of evidence to show I was the best candidate for the job. The fact my sense of humour shone though they said and that I realised at short notice I could be sent away to train or work & that I was happy with that. The Major stated in the panels mind I was the best for the job. When I started on day 1 all 4 panel members greeted me warmly.

The Major who I found out was a hard taskmaster but if you did the job well & I did he was fine.

So its not all doom & gloom if you know someone even if they are a god botherer.
 
Whilst I don't have experience of the Senior Civil Service appointment process, I would caution against raising a concern prior to the interview. The first thing the Civil Service Commission will do is approach the Panel member and whilst they shouldn't identify you, there's no guarantee that the Panel member will not find (or work it) out.
Surely it would be better to raise any concerns after the interview.
Yes, I am concerned about boat-rocking but I am also concerned that I will have to be quite circumspect about some answers.
 
Not interviewed for SCS and my interviewing areas is down at the AO/HEO level, however, I would strongly suggest you simply hold your tongue and just do the interview regardless of the persons on the panel. Just get yourself the job if you can. If not, maybe look for a different job. Not helpful but it's a mucky situation mate.

Yes, you have your concerns about a member but, in reality, they are simply your opinion and perhaps have little bearing on their ability to interview you and you only risk shooting your application in the foot by raising the issues. Unless you believe their attitudes and previous interactions will prevent them impartially giving you a fair go.....

Best of luck F_C, you've always come across as a decent sort on these hallowed pages.
Firstly, thanks for the good wishes; the problem is that there will be things I may not be able to discuss in teh interview which could ordinarily compromise my interview.
 
Perhaps you could use the "I'm not at liberty to discuss that" approach (unless the department IS the MOD), but then go on to say "However, I can discuss a similar experience..." and swerve the discussion to something in your favour that isn't nearly so contentious.
I don't wish to specify the Department, but I do like your strategy!
 
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Firstly, thanks for the good wishes; the problem is that there will be things I may not be able to discuss in teh interview which could ordinarily compromise my interview.
If it's something relating to security clearances or sensitivity of material, then early comms with whomever is running the campaign might be helpful.
 
I would raise it with the Defence Business Service person dealing with the application?
It is up to them to make sure you are interviewed in a fair & correct manner.

Or you could when introduced to them in the interview say oh hello Mr/Mrs XX nice to see you again.
That way the others know you have met them before.

For example I was interviewed & excepted a job some 18 years ago in the CS, just after SC clearance I turned the job down & applied for a different job still within the same battle group. When Interviewed the 2nd time Major XX & Senior CS were both on the interview panel, both had stated previously they thought I was letting the side down turning a job down so long it to the process. I shook them both by the hand, stated to the other interview members I had met Major XX & Senior CS before at another Interview. For the new job I was more suited for with the qualifications I had. The Interview was long but I presented them with a large amount of shiny qualification certificates and answered all the questions clearly.

Within 1 hour of getting home Major XX rang me and said the whole panel (4 in total) were very impressed with how I presented myself, I admitted errors in previous interview and employment but had plenty of evidence to show I was the best candidate for the job. The fact my sense of humour shone though they said and that I realised at short notice I could be sent away to train or work & that I was happy with that. The Major stated in the panels mind I was the best for the job. When I started on day 1 all 4 panel members greeted me warmly.

The Major who I found out was a hard taskmaster but if you did the job well & I did he was fine.

So its not all doom & gloom if you know someone even if they are a god botherer.
The interview is managed by the Civil Service Commission and not DBS, thank f@ck. On the plus side, this particular panel member won't know me by name but my CV (even anonymised) is revealing.
 

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