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Public/Civil Service Shortlisting Appeals Procedure

  • 03-06-2022 10:12am
    Registered Users Posts: 19 oasis fan


    I recently applied for a job with a public sector body. I felt that the job descriptions, requirements, duties and everything matched up perfectly with my own experience, education, professional qualifications to date. I actually possessed a professional qualification that was not required but one which felt would put me above a lot of the other candidates and that along with my experience and knowledge in the public sector would certainly see me as a leading candidate for the role.

    I was very surprised this morning to get an email informing me that I was not shortlisted. I received this email from an automated do not reply email with no feedback on shortlisting criteria or results which is common in the public sector if not standard for any roles I've applied for. The fact is whether I am right or wrong here, I feel I certainly felt my application should have been worthy of an interview. The standard loads of applications line was trotted out but there does not seem to be any breakdown or where my application was lacking in comparison to others which I find highly contentious.

    My own opinion is there is clearly transparency issues here with regard to the recruitment process with this public sector body and how they go about it. They basically seem to have closed communication issues with applicants after rejecting them without communicating where they fell down. This is the first job I've applied for where I feel I have been really screwed on with regard to my capabilities, knowledge, skills experience etc so I'd like to know the rationale behind why I wasn't called.

    Do people know of the procedures with regard to appealing shortlisting decisions in the Public Service. As I said an automated email from a do not reply circulated the message. The website does not contain any contact details for HR other than direct area offices, the original application was submitted via a portal. Am I entitled to get feedback on my application under any laws or guidelines and where can I appeal this outside of the organisation if they try and fob me off?

    To me, whether I am right or wrong, something stinks with regards this campaign so I'd like to get some answers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 279 ✭✭ HartsHat

    You may have met all the requirements but the successful candidates simply were stronger.

    There is an appeals mechanism and feedback is available. Details are available online.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,825 ✭✭✭ Dodge

    You mightn’t want to divulge the information but it’s be helpful if you told people how you applied and with whom. If it was PAS (public jobs) or direct to a county council / HSE / educational body etc etc

    The public service is vast and there isn’t a one size fits all answer for you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19 oasis fan

    That may be true but there is no transparency here which is the issue. If it was communicated to me that I went down on x then at least I could then see whether it was something I thought was actually fair or not. The fact that they seem to try and not communicate feedback and seem to close all channels of communication on this is what I find extremely skeptical.

  • Registered Users Posts: 863 ✭✭✭ Vologda69

    As someone who applied for specialist roles via PAS and met both the desired and essential criteria, from speaking to candidates who were shortlisted, existing civil servants certainly had an advantage over external candidates.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19 oasis fan

    Hi, I'd rather not state the exact organisation publicly but it was not the council/HSE/ETB.

    The job was advertised on PublicJobs but there was a portal that you applied through for the job and uploaded supporting documentation etc on the organisations website.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19 oasis fan

    In this particular case I am a serving public servant doing a very similar role in a different organisation, I also have a professional qualification in this field which was not a requirement for this role and a vast experience in it. I spent a lot of time on my application as I viewed in a great opportunity. I had detailed experience on every job requirement listed so in my view I'd have expected to be a standout candidate and certainly have expected to be called for interview. Hence my surprise at not getting called.

    I merely want to see the rationale behind it. I know from applying to other bodies outside of PAS that feedback is usually given from the shortlisiting phase and where you were strong and weak, scores have been given and I know from colleagues some have been able to successfully appeal some scores where they felt they marked incorrectly on. This avenue does not seem to be available here so I'm just curious to know my grounds.

    Is there a standardised procedure that covers all public sector bodies on shortlisting feedback and appeals?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,825 ✭✭✭ Dodge

    Was there a brochure or similar with the job advertisement? Check in there to see what the appeals process is because there always is one.

    Can’t really help you further than that without the organisation (and understand why you don’t want to mention it) but the one thing I’ll say is that your comment; “actually possessed a professional qualification that was not required but one which felt would put me above a lot of the other candidates” is irrelevant. The requirements are the requirements. That *you* think your qualifications are worth extra doesn’t really matter

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,414 ✭✭✭ Augme

    If the position falls under the Codes of Practice for appointment to civil and public service then you are entitled to feedback and to appeal the decision.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,439 ✭✭✭ Jim_Hodge

    Your 'extra' qualification is meaningless if other candidates surpassed you on the required qualifications.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19 oasis fan

    Why should it be meaningless? As I said I ticked every box on the requirements and experience and I had additional professional qualifications pertinent to the role so it certainly should matter and I'd imagine should give me a lift to candidates who did possess that.

    My issue is nothing has been communicated to me on why I didn't qualify which seems to be common if not standard across public sector bodies, or at least you have a person to follow up with or procedures outlined or contacts provided. Communications seem to be fully closed off with this body once you are rejected with zero feedback or basis to their decision, which IMO, utterly stinks.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19 oasis fan

    Thank you, how would I ascertain this? It is a state body so should this automatically mean this automatically should comply with the Code of Practice?

    If I am getting nowhere with the organisation in question, who can I escalate this with? PAS?

  • Registered Users Posts: 19 oasis fan

    Nope, nothing on job description. Application was done through a portal too.

    As I have said previously I ticked every box on the requirements and duties, there was nothing there I did not have relevant and extensive experience in so if I have additional professional qualifications in pertinent to the job then I certainly think it matters. On the application process there was a box where you could outline any additional bits you deemed relevant to this so it very much was relevant.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,414 ✭✭✭ Augme

    Depends on the state body tbh. Not all state body works would be public servants or come under the codes. The body themselves would have the answer to that. Otherwise the next port of call would be the CPSA who are responsible for the oversight of bodies who recruit for civil and public service.

    Sounds like PAS had no involvement in the recruit process and simply advertised the competition so they wouldn't be the ones to contact.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19 oasis fan

    Thanks for that.

    Looking at other jobs advertised there currently it doesn't seem to state that roles are bound by the Act whether this should be stated or not.

    I read something there about organisations pre 2004. From a quick google search, this organisation was set up in 2003.

  • Registered Users Posts: 279 ✭✭ HartsHat

    Because perhaps you were qualified but simply not as good as the other candidates.

    The criteria are the minimum, they're not a guarantee of shortlisting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19 oasis fan

    So why no transparency?

    As I said, I've applied for plenty of public sector jobs before. Some I've qualified for, some I've not. Feedback was generally always available either immediately and on request.

    This was a job that came up that when I look at the spec, said I every box here and I should have a great chance. I don't say this about many jobs. Yet I didn't qualify for this, was given no reason and communication channels are closed.

    So it's only natural that I have severe reservations on the integrity and impartiality of the selection process.

    Remember the whole Seamus Wolfe judicial appointment was it last year or the year before? That is how I feel about this. I have contacted the organisation requesting feedback and appealing the decision, if they ignore my requests I feel strongly enough about how it's been handled to raise it further. Right now I'm just trying to find out what statutory rights there are in relation to feedback being furnished.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,414 ✭✭✭ Augme

    Have a look at the commission for public service appointments (CPSA) website and the codes of practice and you'll get a better idea. Also worth just asking the state body if the job did come under the Codes.

    Also on the CPSA website you will get a list of organisations that have a recruitment license from the CPSA. I'd definitely check to see if they are on the list as my next step.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19 oasis fan

    I emailed the CPSA asking them if the body comes in under the CSPA and apparently it doesn't. I guess that leaves me with little grounds here?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,414 ✭✭✭ Augme

    Pretty much. It's up to the body themselves then to determine how they manage recruitment process. If you ask for feedback they might oblige but doubt they would have any appeal process.

  • Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭ mtb_sends

    @oasis fan What sector did the role fall into? Business, ICT, Education, Management etc

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  • I've had very similar experiences across internal (my own dept) interdepartmental (another CS body) comps

    ive always done ok in open comps, as a rule

    feedback can be like pulling teeth. meaningful feedback is nigh on impossible.

    i dont think its necessarily a sign of funny business so much as poorly-run comps once the bodies themselves get too involved