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Third Secretary & Development Specialist Campaign 2020

  • 19-09-2020 12:33pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭ exitstageleft


    New campaign opened yesterday:

    publicjobs
    .ie/en/graduate-opportunities/graduate-third-secretary

    Maybe we could use this new thread to share information and keep track of the campaign's progress.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭ exitstageleft


    With that in mind, does anyone have any insights into the "development specialist" role being offered this time around?
    Will it be fairly similar to the traditional Third Secretary or quite different?
    Are people going to apply for both?

    I think it definitely seems interesting but I wonder if it might limit future progress.


  • Registered Users Posts: 266 ✭✭ HartsHat


    With that in mind, does anyone have any insights into the "development specialist" role being offered this time around?
    Will it be fairly similar to the traditional Third Secretary or quite different?
    Are people going to apply for both?

    I think it definitely seems interesting but I wonder if it might like future progress.

    The DSO role is basically Third Sec but for Development stream.

    So for the Devleopment stream it will be Development Specialist Officer --- Development Specialist ---- Senior Development Specialist.

    For the diplomatic steam it remains TS - FS - Counsellor.

    The streams are equivalent, but not interchangeable, so whichever you become you won't be able to transfer across (unless you do another open comp).


  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭ exitstageleft


    Thanks Hartshat.

    I wonder which stream is bigger? I'd imagine the more traditional Third Secretary route. In that case, might there be more positions available for Third Secretaries rather than development specialist officers?

    I suppose it's a moot point now (you can select both) but they will surely ask people to choose one or the other at some point in the application process.


  • Registered Users Posts: 266 ✭✭ HartsHat


    Thanks Hartshat.

    I wonder which stream is bigger? I'd imagine the more traditional Third Secretary route. In that case, might there be more positions available for Third Secretaries rather than development specialist officers?

    I suppose it's a moot point now (you can select both) but they will surely ask people to choose one or the other at some point in the application process.

    The diplomatic stream is bigger as most of our mission are non-development (obviously).

    However, there are already over 100 TS in the Dept. There are 0 DSO, as its a new grade.

    Therefore it is hard to know where the demand will be. My gut instinct is DSO, given the number of TS in HQ at the moment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 146 ✭✭ belgowho


    Been a while since I did the tests at this level. What kind of testing system are they using now? SHL, Cut- E?

    I ask as gonna buy a package of tests to practice.

    I remember last time i did it, they used different tabs within one question/multiple questions.

    Thanks!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭ exitstageleft


    I wonder if we'll have to wait until they start issuing invitations to the Online Assessment stage before we'll know for certain which type of tests they'll use. From my reading of the publicjobs website that won't be until late October.

    I've submitted an application, selecting both streams, so I guess it's just a waiting game now. It's gonna (hopefully!) be a long few months...


  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭ exitstageleft


    Actually, a quick scan through the EO competition thread suggests they were using adaptive SOVA tests which adjust their difficulty depending on your previous answers.

    Not sure if that's for the first or second round of testing or if it will even be the same model for TS/DSO streams.


  • Registered Users Posts: 146 ✭✭ belgowho


    Yea my experience is that they use different ones so will have to wait and see I guess and practice different types in mean time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 32 KRedzer


    For those that have applied for both streams, how did you answer the long question on meeting the requirements in the application since the requirements for both streams are different? My preference is for the DSO so may gear it towards that, but I'll be opting for Third Secretary too. Thanks.


  • Registered Users Posts: 269 ✭✭ Aleece2020


    Actually, a quick scan through the EO competition thread suggests they were using adaptive SOVA tests which adjust their difficulty depending on your previous answers.

    Sat the EO test myself today; it was SOVA. Questions kept getting progressively harder as the test went on so they are adaptive.

    My question is if I apply for the TS/DSO role then will I be unable to apply for the general graduate entry scheme when it becomes available? I'm technically qualified for TS/DSO, Industrial Relations and most likely general grad entry so I'd like to go for all three if allowed.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭ exitstageleft


    KRedzer wrote: »
    For those that have applied for both streams, how did you answer the long question on meeting the requirements in the application since the requirements for both streams are different? My preference is for the DSO so may gear it towards that, but I'll be opting for Third Secretary too. Thanks.

    I actually thought they were quite similar but with the DSO stream having the additional experience/education requirements.
    I guess I just expanded my eligibility requirements to include those extra ones. Perhaps not the right approach though.


  • Registered Users Posts: 266 ✭✭ HartsHat


    Aleece2020 wrote: »
    Sat the EO test myself today; it was SOVA. Questions kept getting progressively harder as the test went on so they are adaptive.

    My question is if I apply for the TS/DSO role then will I be unable to apply for the general graduate entry scheme when it becomes available? I'm technically qualified for TS/DSO, Industrial Relations and most likely general grad entry so I'd like to go for all three if allowed.

    There is never any restriction on anyone applying for an open competition (which all graduate grades are).


  • Registered Users Posts: 70 ✭✭✭ blackkeyes


    Any ideas how long the long question should be?


  • Registered Users Posts: 584 ✭✭✭ dashdoll


    Is the starting salary for this role definitely circa 31k? Seems very low considering they are looking for solicitors snd barristers and/or degree holders. Very interesting role but salary seems grossly inappropriate.


  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭ exitstageleft


    When you say "long question" do you mean the eligibility one at the end? It does seem like they missed a "why do you want / would be good at this role" type question. Explaining how you meet the eligibility requirements doesn't really feel like that. I guess keep it short-ish but with some details you could discuss if you get to interview.


  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭ exitstageleft


    dashdoll wrote: »
    Is the starting salary for this role definitely circa 31k? Seems very low considering they are looking for solicitors snd barristers and/or degree holders. Very interesting role but salary seems grossly inappropriate.


    I think the salary is circa low €30,000. Not very high for a well qualified graduate but I guess it is the civil service and you have the perks that go with that. Plus, most people attracted to the role are probably excited about the lifestyle (travel, living abroad, etc.).


  • Registered Users Posts: 269 ✭✭ Aleece2020


    dashdoll wrote: »
    Is the starting salary for this role definitely circa 31k? Seems very low considering they are looking for solicitors snd barristers and/or degree holders. Very interesting role but salary seems grossly inappropriate.

    I suppose that really depends on where they end up sending you. If you are assigned to a country with a much lower cost of living than Ireland, it'd be a great wage while you're abroad.

    I have to wonder how popular the role would realistically be though; especially for grads/postgrads who are in their mid to late 20s. It's definitely not the type of position where you'd be easily able to settle down and have kids since you'll potentially be moving around every 3-4 years.


  • Registered Users Posts: 39 ✭✭✭ CrouchTiger


    Aleece2020 wrote: »
    I suppose that really depends on where they end up sending you. If you are assigned to a country with a much lower cost of living than Ireland, it'd be a great wage while you're abroad.

    I have to wonder how popular the role would realistically be though; especially for grads/postgrads who are in their mid to late 20s. It's definitely not the type of position where you'd be easily able to settle down and have kids since you'll potentially be moving around every 3-4 years.


    The role is generally extremely popular and highly competitive and most people who have come in recently are in their late 20s with quite a few in their early 30s. If you think the money is too low, you may not be a good fit for the public service.

    The incentives and motivations are totally different. You work for Ireland and the Irish people, not the profit of a corporation. Like others have said, there are other perks like allowances, a good pension, decent holidays, and union representation. A further thing to consider is when you pass probation you have secure employment. This is a well-paid recession-proof job doing (occasional) high-level work for Ireland around the world. It's a fantastic opportunity that may not come again for quite a while if public sector recruitment is cut. Just ask any lawyers who qualified around 2010... things can get very rough out there in the private sector, and you are insulated against that in the civil service.

    By the time you reach First Secretary, you're in the top 10% of earners in the country. And even as a Third Sec coming in, you're right at the median private sector salary, which will only go up, year on year. Though it's not about the money, being based in Dublin means this is challenging for people in their late 20s. If you're successful, be prepared to live in Dublin for several years before being posted as the queue is getting long.

    By and large, there have been thousands entering prior competitions for maybe 30-50 positions regardless of these downsides. Corporate law, for example, has an atrocious lifestyle, so this role isn't "competing" against that. It helps to have a legal background, but it's by no means the norm or expected. It's far more to your advantage to have language skills, some grounding in politics/international relations, good people skills, be extremely resourceful and resilient, and generally just a good colleague who is very adaptable and curious.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 245 ✭✭ Hadassah Fierce Popover


    @crouchtiger any insights on what experience did the older graduates coming in have previously? Just wondering particularly with DSO will it all be hires from NGO s that have had in country experience that Irish Aid hires (as in would there be any hope that someone with the qualification in Development, but no international experience (but years of relevant experience in Ireland and UK)would get in?)

    Or do you tend to see people who perform well in exams getting in, like the other civil service exams?


  • Registered Users Posts: 39 ✭✭✭ CrouchTiger


    @crouchtiger any insights on what experience did the older graduates coming in have previously? Just wondering particularly with DSO will it all be hires from NGO s that have had in country experience that Irish Aid hires (as in would there be any hope that someone with the qualification in Development, but no international experience (but years of relevant experience in Ireland and UK)would get in?)

    Or do you tend to see people who perform well in exams getting in, like the other civil service exams?


    Hello there! Unfortunately I have pretty limited knowledge of what they may be looking for on the development side given it's a pretty new approach and I don't work in the development space. They've recruited at FS/AP level for development missions previously, but this is the first time I'm aware of that it has happened in parallel with TS. As far as I know, the roles won't be interchangeable, so I'd advise focusing on one or the other. Doing a general application may see you fall between two stools.

    I know at the FS level for development roles they asked for 3 years experience in a development role on the ground. It may be less demanding at the TS level, but I'd imagine practical experience anywhere would be a distinct advantage.


    The tests are really screening mechanisms and once you get through them, it's down to the interviews. For TS posts at least, previous civil service experience at the same grade (AO) seems to have been a very good advantage and a lot of people near the top of the last competition panel were existing civil servants.

    Others have been academics, have worked in state agencies, various private sector roles. Most people who have come in have relevant master's degrees but a lot of senior managers don't. I guess it's a generational difference in both competition and education.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6 WJ123


    Thanks for the info.

    Would only having a 2:2 degree greatly diminish your chances of being successful in interview ?

    Having had a look on LinkedIn I notice everybody working in the role has a minimum of a 2:1, so it has me doubting whether it’s worth applying.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 245 ✭✭ Hadassah Fierce Popover


    Hello there! Unfortunately I have pretty limited knowledge of what they may be looking for on the development side given it's a pretty new approach and I don't work in the development space. They've recruited at FS/AP level for development missions previously, but this is the first time I'm aware of that it has happened in parallel with TS. As far as I know, the roles won't be interchangeable, so I'd advise focusing on one or the other. Doing a general application may see you fall between two stools.

    I know at the FS level for development roles they asked for 3 years experience in a development role on the ground. It may be less demanding at the TS level, but I'd imagine practical experience anywhere would be a distinct advantage.


    The tests are really screening mechanisms and once you get through them, it's down to the interviews. For TS posts at least, previous civil service experience at the same grade (AO) seems to have been a very good advantage and a lot of people near the top of the last competition panel were existing civil servants.

    Others have been academics, have worked in state agencies, various private sector roles. Most people who have come in have relevant master's degrees but a lot of senior managers don't. I guess it's a generational difference in both competition and education.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to reply. Appreciate the insights. I best do some practice for the tests - the last time I applied for TS was years ago when I had the MSc qualifications but not enough experience and now I've experience but I probably have not enough experience in country at development work as it's all based in Europe and they'll want people who've spent time overseas! Still better get the calculator out and try!


  • Registered Users Posts: 266 ✭✭ HartsHat


    WJ123 wrote: »
    Thanks for the info.

    Would only having a 2:2 degree greatly diminish your chances of being successful in interview ?

    Having had a look on LinkedIn I notice everybody working in the role has a minimum of a 2:1, so it has me doubting whether it’s worth applying.

    It's obviously not ideal, but it would depend on your other experience.

    If you have languages, professional qualifications, and/or professional experience you could definitely overcome it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6 WJ123


    HartsHat wrote: »
    It's obviously not ideal, but it would depend on your other experience.

    If you have languages, professional qualifications, and/or professional experience you could definitely overcome it.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. Really regret not having got the extra 1.5% now haha

    Best of luck to everyone in the competition


  • Registered Users Posts: 269 ✭✭ Aleece2020


    WJ123 wrote: »
    Thanks for taking the time to reply. Really regret not having got the extra 1.5% now haha

    Best of luck to everyone in the competition

    I feel your pain. Missed a 2.1 by 1.1% myself so I had to go for a Masters afterwards.


  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭ exitstageleft


    Quick question: has anyone who has applied heard anything back other than an application acknowledgement?

    Since the testing is online and automated I wonder if they send out the test links as qualified applications come in or if everyone hears back after the submission deadline in October.


  • Registered Users Posts: 269 ✭✭ Aleece2020


    Quick question: has anyone who has applied heard anything back other than an application acknowledgement?

    Since the testing is online and automated I wonder if they send out the test links as qualified applications come in or if everyone hears back after the submission deadline in October.

    No word back yet other than the acknowledgement. Typically, they won't send anything out regarding tests etc. until after the application deadline has passed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4 tp20363


    Hi All

    Does anyone applying or perhaps as a current TS have any information on the application form which requests information on your health and sick leave record? The application advises to contact PAS if applicant has any queries as to eligilibity and that your record will be checked in later stages of application process and prior to final offer. I have contacted PAS however no word back yet perhaps due to COVID.
    Basically would a previous condition which did cause sick days, that is now resolved, disqualify me?
    This is also mentioned in terms of probationary period in year 1 of the TS position so it strikes me as stringent. Does anyone have any information on this?

    Thanks all


  • Registered Users Posts: 419 ✭✭ newbie18892


    Hi all, for the eligibility question did you just explain how you met the requirements or give a long answer to also include how you met the competencies?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭ exitstageleft


    Hi all, for the eligibility question did you just explain how you met the requirements or give a long answer to also include how you met the competencies?


    I tried to give a few notable details on how I met the eligibility without going overboard on length. As I mentioned earlier, it did seem they were missing a "long answer" type question. But I guess that's intentional on their part. In which case they probably don't want a big essay!


    I'd be interested to hear what other peoples' thoughts are on it though.


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