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Civil Service

HR profession leading the way in Success Profiles guidance

A man and woman in conversation
Members of the Civil Service HR profession

The launch of success profiles in 2019 was a significant change to recruitment and selection in the Civil Service, making it fairer and more inclusive. We moved away from a competency-only approach, which candidates and vacancy holders found too rigid and formulaic. We’re now able to assess the range of experiences, abilities, strengths, behaviours and technical or professional skills required for different roles. It gives candidates a better opportunity to demonstrate their suitability, opens up Civil Service recruitment by making it more inclusive, and gives us the best chance of finding the best person for the job.

HR leading the way

The HR profession has led the way in implementing Success Profiles. Last year, building on the cross-government approach, we successfully launched the HR Director and Deputy Director Success Profiles Guidance at the CIPD Annual Conference. We were the first of the Civil Service professions to do this. 

Following further feedback and guidance from our occupational psychologists and Civil Service Employee Policy, we have now developed Success Profiles Guidance for all grades across all job families in HR, again, the first of the professions to reach this milestone.

This includes:

  • The Success Profile Guidance packs split by job family and level, is an informative  starting point for hiring managers and also a tool to support your individual career development. 
  • Guidance for recruiting managers with advice on how they should be used for role profile design, sift and pre-interview assessment, interviewing (including video interviews) and diversity and inclusion considerations. 
  • Success Profile Matrices which provide a quick reference guide to the application of success profiles for each job family role, by grade. 

What this means for the Civil Service

We know that Success Profiles are a more inclusive, fairer and more accurate approach to assessment and hiring decisions, and build on an individual’s natural talents and strengths. Testing strengths, or using a blended approach, also ensures less-experienced candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate their potential, strengths, enthusiasm and transferable skills, and not just their experience. 

This guidance for the HR profession will ensure that HR hires – for all grades – are more successful, by outlining the different assessment options available to draw out these strengths in our candidates. It’s all part of our continued drive to improve HR capability in the Civil Service and make the HR profession more inclusive and representative. 

What next?

Although I am thrilled that once again, HR is breaking new ground in its approach to Success Profile guidance, I want to see the other professions follow suit. 

If the Civil Service is to fully represent the public it serves, it must broaden the range of candidates selected for roles, drawing on the strengths, ideas and experiences of the whole nation. The Success Profile Guidance packs the HR profession has developed can be used as a template for other professions to develop their own guidance and support. I would encourage all civil servants, irrespective of role, grade or department, to familiarise themselves with the products and see the steps we are taking to ensure the HR profession continues to be an exemplar of best practice.

None of this would have been possible without the HR Capability Board, under the leadership of Debbie Alder, Director General, People & Capability at DWP, job family leads and colleagues across the profession who have supported CSHR Capability and Talent in developing the collection of Success Profile Guidance.

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