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Third Secretary & Development Specialist Campaign 2020

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  • 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.

    Oh great. I did similar. Hoping it was what they were looking for.




  • Applications closing pretty soon. Hopefully things will start to roll then.




  • Oh great. I did similar. Hoping it was what they were looking for.

    Did you structure yours as a personal statement? I wrote a one pager outlining my interest and suitability for the role with reference to the key skills and attributes required (thought the job description itself was quite long and unorganised).




  • What happens when a TS is sent abroad in terms of living arrangements? For example living in London, Paris or NY on 30K would be close to impossible. In regard to language training etc, how is this provided for new posts? It seems like an interesting and complex role so a bit more information about these particulars would be useful. I assume it is provided to successful applicants?

    Also, how long does it take to become FS and so on. Anyone?




  • What happens when a TS is sent abroad in terms of living arrangements? For example living in London, Paris or NY on 30K would be close to impossible. In regard to language training etc, how is this provided for new posts? It seems like an interesting and complex role so a bit more information about these particulars would be useful. I assume it is provided to successful applicants?

    Also, how long does it take to become FS and so on. Anyone?

    There are a number of allowances to cover rent etc. Foreign postings are fairly lucrative


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  • What happens when a TS is sent abroad in terms of living arrangements? For example living in London, Paris or NY on 30K would be close to impossible. In regard to language training etc, how is this provided for new posts? It seems like an interesting and complex role so a bit more information about these particulars would be useful. I assume it is provided to successful applicants?

    Also, how long does it take to become FS and so on. Anyone?

    There is an accommodation allowance for foreign postings, which is calibrated based on the cost of living in the city. Allowances have been getting tighter in recent years but it is usual to get a 2 apartment with 30 min walk of the Mission. Obviously, if you have a family with you the allowance will also reflect that.

    Individual language training is provided ahead of posting and then during it. If you would like to study another language you can do group classes.

    First Sec can take anywhere from 4 years to 12 years plus. HQ plus a full posting will bring you to 7 years. If you got promoted at the end of your first posting you would be doing very well. It also completely dependent on retirements, spaces opening up, Government recruitment moratorium etc etc. Some people stay as TS their entire careers (rare and usually a choice).




  • Application gone in. Very interesting to see how competitive these positions are. Sometimes it's easy to think your backstory and qualifications are unique. I was optimistic writing my eligibility statement; I wrote a page. Personally, I felt I had to. My experience isn't great, but my personal profile and academic background is very closely aligned. I pretty much pursued the path I took to eventually be in the running for such an opportunity. Honestly, seems brilliant. Best of luck to everyone.




  • I'm guessing you are in the post? If so would you mind describing what the day to day job is like?

    What sort of work do you do at HQ? What is the work/life balance like? How are foreign postings allocated etc?

    What are the downsides? What are your (if any) frustrations in the job?

    Sounds like a great job but now I'm worried I didn't put enough effort into the application :/




  • Not sure if this has been asked before but I noticed the following text in the Information Booklet:

    "Entry will be at the minimum of the scale and the rate of remuneration will not be subject to negotiation and may be adjusted from time to time in line with Government pay policy."

    I am an existing Civil Servant currently on point three of the AO payscale. Does anyone know if this means that I will revert to point one? was anyone here a similar position previously? I don't see the same line in the AO Information Booklet so it's worrying!




  • Submitted my application the other day. Fingers crossed as it looks like a fantastic opportunity. I've been wondering about the postings though and have seen mention of "hardship postings" in another thread, specifically referring to Japan. Does anyone know anything about what is meant by a hardship posting? I would've thought Tokyo would be a pretty desirable choice and an interesting mission in general


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  • Anybody got any reading material I could do to prepare myself for an eventual interview?

    Currently preparing for the assessment tests in the event that my first round is successful.




  • Deadline has passed. May god have mercy on our souls.




  • chrishic wrote: »
    Submitted my application the other day. Fingers crossed as it looks like a fantastic opportunity. I've been wondering about the postings though and have seen mention of "hardship postings" in another thread, specifically referring to Japan. Does anyone know anything about what is meant by a hardship posting? I would've thought Tokyo would be a pretty desirable choice and an interesting mission in general

    I would agree with you. When I think of hardship postings, I tend to think of countries destroyed with civil war, shootings on the main street etc!




  • Maybe it's after the Fukishima disaster it was assigned that status or the years of zero growth
    Cities are designated as having a Hardship I, Hardship II or Hardship III rating, depending on a number of criteria. These include personal security, political tension, health, environmental factors, climate and isolation. The different ratings do not affect the salary paid as the civil servant is paid as per their ranking in Ireland.

    Those in the two higher categories of hardship -- grades I and II -- are also entitled to a "getting out trip" once a year up to the cost of an economy-rate return fare to Ireland.




  • Maybe it's after the Fukishima disaster it was assigned that status or the years of zero growth

    It's due to the sheer distance and consequent disruption to family life.




  • chrishic wrote: »
    Submitted my application the other day. Fingers crossed as it looks like a fantastic opportunity. I've been wondering about the postings though and have seen mention of "hardship postings" in another thread, specifically referring to Japan. Does anyone know anything about what is meant by a hardship posting? I would've thought Tokyo would be a pretty desirable choice and an interesting mission in general

    Tokyo is not a hardship posting. It will always be extremely popular and desirable, and Japanese language skills would be an incredibly useful asset to strengthen your case for a posting there. You would have many competitors on any postings list.

    There are 5 categories of hardship posting and they reflect the sort of postings you'd expect them to in terms of risk, living conditions, and the difficulty of the work in the mission. They range from Monrovia on the top end to somewhere like Sophia and Shanghai at the less "challenging" end. You'd receive extra allowances and annual leave for these postings, which varies according to the level of difficulty.

    For those who have applied and are thinking about interview - I'd try not fixate on your posting too much. It's going to take time to get out anywhere and you'll have several years at HQ. It may be that you have 2 roles before a posting happens. The relevant HQ experience will also be necessary to smooth the path to promotion - being a diplomat in our system isn't only about foreign representation, there's the basic civil service life that underpins it.




  • Does anybody know if there is an assessment to test your language skills?




  • Does anybody know if there is an assessment to test your language skills?

    No, although I didn't claim to have any at the time. Perhaps if you do they would check.




  • Does anybody know if there is an assessment to test your language skills?

    There is now an assessment that takes place during probation to provide a language baseline for TS. In the application requirements it notes the need to demonstrate progress on foreign language during probation if that applies to your level of competence. There is a commitment in the TS contract to gaining that competence and more assessments may be brought in. Given the Department pays for group language classes, I'd ensure you do one or more of these during probation to demonstrate progress if you have limited language skills.




  • That's great information to have. Cheers. I have varying degrees of language proficiency across a few languages so hoping it will stand to me. Although, they're all the romance languages so not that much of an advantage.


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  • Hey everyone. Applied to the 3rd Sec competition a few weeks ago but only spotted this thread now.

    Haven't a lot of hope I'll get in but willing to give it a go and looking forward to the process!

    Here's hoping we all hear back soon about the next stage :)




  • Anyone know if the exam stage would be similar to the recent EO one? Should I assume it would be much harder as it's AO level?




  • blithe wrote: »
    Hey everyone. Applied to the 3rd Sec competition a few weeks ago but only spotted this thread now.

    Haven't a lot of hope I'll get in but willing to give it a go and looking forward to the process!

    Here's hoping we all hear back soon about the next stage :)

    I hate this kind of thing where its so hard not to be outcome dependent. It just seems like such a cool position and tailor made for a type of person. If I don't get this, it'll be back on the Brussels train for me.




  • Anyone know if the exam stage would be similar to the recent EO one? Should I assume it would be much harder as it's AO level?

    I don't think any exam they could throw at us would be harder than the maths exam they made us do for EO.




  • Aleece2020 wrote: »
    I don't think any exam they could throw at us would be harder than the maths exam they made us do for EO.

    Ha!!!! I'm so impressed I passed it. That was unexpected given it was bloody awful




  • Ha!!!! I'm so impressed I passed it. That was unexpected given it was bloody awful

    God. Same. I was convinced I failed numerical reasoning. Let's hope these alleged retirements in November/December come through and clear some room for us!




  • Aleece2020 wrote: »
    God. Same. I was convinced I failed numerical reasoning. Let's hope these alleged retirements in November/December come through and clear some room for us!

    My county has hardly any Depts though so prob no vacancies..... But the DSO would be ace if that was any way possible.




  • Has anyone ever done a Third Sec recruitment campaign before? I'm looking to prepare a bit for the aptitude tests. Will it be the usual verbal and numerical reasoning questions or something else?




  • Another question: do you think the numeric test is pass or fail? Or will it combine with your situational judgement and verbal tests for an overall score?

    I expect we'll get more info from PAS soon enough.


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  • Great stuff. Tests are happening next week. Good luck to everyone!


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