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Civil Service EO/HEO Grade Experience Requirements

  • 08-05-2022 2:18pm
    Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm just wondering if people know if theres any leeway regarding the experience requirements with EO and more specifically HEO grades. I have 2 years experience in an IT role where I was responsible for all aspects of the project including research, design, specification and development.

    Am I wasting my time applying for HEO grades which typically require a minimum of 3 years of experience. Has anybody got in at this grade with less than the 3 years of experience required?

    Any help would be appreciated. Cheers.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,283 ✭✭✭Augme

    To be eligible for the interdepartmental/internal HEO you need to be a civil servant for two years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭mtb_sends

    Hi @Augme,

    Thanks for your answer. I presume if thats the case for an internal position I would be better not applying to HEO positions open to the public given my shortfall in experience and that I'm not in the civil service currently.

  • Registered Users Posts: 43 dat6

    At a minimum, you will need to meet the essential requirements. For EO, I believe you need 1 years relevant experience and for HEO, 3 years relevant experience. The definition of experience is defined in the booklet. If you’re in doubt, throw in an application and the worst thing that’ll happen is a PFO.

    Typically, a HEO is a promotional grade and you need to be an existing civil servant to apply. This doesn’t apply for specialist posts however.

    ICT Specialist HEO posts are normally recruited via an open competition for anyone to apply.

  • Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭mtb_sends

    Hi @dat6, yeah I think I'll chance an application and see. Also the roles in question were all ICT hence why they are open competitions. FYI In relation to the experience requirements for the EO positions I have seen (all ICT ones) look for two years experience minimum.

    I'm also slightly confused why AO and HEO are considered the same on the civil service grade structure on publicjobs. It says AO is the main graduate recruitment role but its on the same level as HEO which seems to need 3 YOE minimum from what I can see. I know theres a difference in pay scales between both but the expectation seems similar enough which was why I asked my original question whether I should place a huge amount of focus on the years of experience for HEO positions.

    Post edited by mtb_sends on

  • Registered Users Posts: 43 dat6

    No, the latest ICT EO was unusual and required 1 years ICT experience. There have been a few EO panels so perhaps you looked at another panel?

    The questions you are asking HEO vs AO relates to how general civil service grades have come about over time. It is long established that an AO and a HEO are equivalent grades (even if many civil servants might think otherwise). This is because the end of both pay scales end up with the same salary. That doesn’t mean they do the same job, even though in many cases AOs are doing what was once seen as HEO work. A generalist AO is seen as the fast track to AP, and they don’t normally stay more than 5 years.

    I can’t comment on ICT AOs, I think Revenue are the only Dept that recruit them. They also recruit AOs for other disciplines.

    Typically an AO should be part of an AO programme (sort of like an induction) and is more policy based, designed for graduates, expected to network and get to know other fellow AOs in other Departments.

    ICT HEO roles are more established, and can be very varied. They could be responsible for carrying out system administration duties, managing a data centre, developing a new web application, project management or sadly in some areas, doing non ICT tasks. It is not uncommon to find ICT HEOs with no staff, yet for generalist HEOs this is unusual. The sad reflection of Civil Service ICT is that pay is just not competitive enough, so many graduates don’t apply and now there is going to be huge difficulty in filling EO panels as it cannot pay as well as the private sector, so many graduates don’t bother applying.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭xeresod

    Chance an application for the experience of the process by all means, but essential requirements are only checked/validated at job offer stage not the start so you could end up going through the whole process of the long application form with competencies, psychometric testing, interviews, etc, and pass each stage finally thinking you have a job only to fall at the end when they see you don't have the minimum relevant experience.

  • Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭mtb_sends

    Hi @xeresod is it common practice to only check for relevant experience at the end of the process? It seems like a considerable waste of time for the people doing the hiring as well as the candidate. I would have thought that if someone has got through all the rounds successfully they are deemed suitable for the role irrespective of their experience or at least that seems a reasonably logical approach.

    Hi @dat6 appreciate the detailed answers. I got the two years of experience figure from the EO panel for the Health and Safety Authority that was advertised this week(not ICT though). Out of curiosity why do individual authorities/government departments need to form their own panels when there are nationwide panels created every so often. Taking the current Health and Safety Authority EO panel as an example, why would they not just use the panels formed from the last nationwide EO recruitment campaign to fill any future vacancies? I presume those panels would be big enough to last a considerable amount of time.

    Edit: I've just seen that a nationwide EO recruitment campaign is due to start on the 12th.

  • Registered Users Posts: 43 dat6

    The HSA is not a Civil Service Organisation, so they wouldn’t pull from the PAS panels.

    CS Organisations can seek to run their own competitions. For example, the Courts Service did this recently for ICT roles. In some cases there is no appropriate panel to pull specific skills, they might not want to wait for PAS to do another panel etc

  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭xeresod

    Yep, seems completely pointless and a waste of their time (& taxpayers money) but the information booklets are clear on the process and say that requirements will only be checked at job offer stage so the onus in on the applicant to make sure they meet the eligibility criteria before they apply.

    Although I can't help but wonder is it an additional test to see who actually reads everything!

    But plenty of people know they're not remotely qualified for a role and "throw their hat in anyway" - you just have to read through the threads here to see that - and others have their eye on another role so they're applying for the practice, so you'd think PAS would check that eligibility is met at the start.

    I reckon the only way to stop this would be to say eligibility will be checked first thing and those that don't meet the essential requirements will be banned from future competitions for say 5 or 10 years!

    An internal competition in one department recently did state that they would check the 2 years service requirement (general grade, nothing else required other than 2 years service in the dept) at the start and emphasied that in the circular, email, reminder email, email to managers, etc and still people ignored it and got pissed off when they were told they were out.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    your qualifications and references are checked at the end.

    you will be shortlisted on the relevant criteria well in advance of that and not get through

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  • Registered Users Posts: 43 dat6

    Even then, I’ve known people to pass interview, panelled and then be disqualified based on essential criteria not being met!