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National Probation Service Recruitment Process Watch

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    Hey everyone.

    I thought I would write a post about my experience with the NPS recruitment process and hopefully shed some light on what to expect from it, should you be considering applying.

    Firstly, if you don't have a degree in Criminology or the Criminal Justice System, don't worry too much, they're looking for the right calibre of people, i.e. character, emotional intelligence, objectivity, information processing. A piece of paper that says 'I'm quite good at Law' doesn't move them. It may help in your application initially, but the assessment centre is really where they get to see if you're what they're looking for. So, relax, you have a chance.

    Second, I came from a medical background and studied cardiology at Swansea University; although some of you might think that is irrelevant, what they want are candidates who can show they can handle pressure and people who have experience of working with others who exhibit challenging behaviour. In a hospital, emotions can be high and behaviour can vary, so if you have any experience of working in a hospital, or just directly with members of public where you are exposed to challenging behaviour, you have a chance.

    However, being a Probation Service Officer or Probation Officer is not an easy job to have. It's pressure, and lots of it. Which leads me to the NPS Assessment Centre mentioned previously.

    If you manage to get here, well done! It is a very difficult application process. The first step is an online application, including vetting. You will then be asked to answer a series of scenario-based questions, requiring you to use your analytical and problem solving skills. There will also be a question or two where you will be asked to write a report on a given set of information. If you successfully navigate through this, you will progress to the Online Situational Judgement Tests. These assess your ability to interpret information and also assess your team-working and observational skills. You are presented with 20 questions and have 30 minutes to complete the test. You do not have long on each question and there is a lot of information given to you, so look for the key points and choose the answer that YOU feel would be the most constructive, not what you think the assessors feel would be, YOU. If you're successful here you will be invited to the NPS Assessment Centre in London.

    The NPS Assessment Centre consists of 3 parts:

    1. A written exercise - you are assuming the role of a public sector organisation advisor and will be asked to produce a report with a quite substantial amount of information. You have 50 minutes to read through and then write your report.

    2. A competency-based interview - this is timed and you will be asked 4-5 base questions, of which the interviewer will then lead off of your answers with further questions relating to your response.

    3. An assessed group work exercise - once again you assume the role of working for an organisation and have to read through a series of cases, make notes, and then as a group, present your thoughts, concerns and recommendations for each. Assessors will be in the room taking notes on your contribution to the group work and the points made. *Don't be scared to point out things that others haven't - it might just get you a job*

    This is a half-day assessment centre, which sounded odd to me considering what they want you to do in such a short space of time. But, that is the whole idea. They want you under pressure. There is very little time between each element of the assessment - so drink plenty of water, try and remain calm and be yourself

    I recently had my Assessment Centre slot (13/01/2017) and I was offered a position as a PSO on 3rd of February.

    I chose to write this post because I had seen a lot of negative posts about how it is near impossible to get into the Probation Service and that you will be 'extremely disappointed'. Yes, it's tough. But if it was easy everyone would do it. So just apply yourself properly, research the service and be yourself. If anyone would like to ask any further questions then PM me and i'll be happy to help.

    Good Luck!
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    Hey!

    First off, thanks a million for taking the time to sit down and write this. I'm shocked no one has responded to this yet. Anyway, what I was wondering was about the amount of experience you had before your application? You said you worked in a hospital, did you have anything else under your belt? I've done some volunteering prison volunteering and within the Citizens Advice for about a year. I'm looking at getting involved in the Homeless shelter within the next week or so. My worry is that I don't have anywhere near enough experience especially because my main job for the past four years has been working in a restaurant, which I feel might hold me back in applications. :/

    The idea of never doing anything 'meaningful' and getting paid for it haunts me...dramatic.

    All replies welcomed
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    Oh, and I have a degree in Criminology btw. I'll be looking at taking the PO route but would more than happily settle for PSO.
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    Hi there!

    Don't worry about your restaurant antics, it's all experience with people at the end of the day and that's how you should sell it.

    All of that sounds really good and positive, you certainly won't do yourself any harm with the homeless shelter. Everything you are saying sounds good but just make sure your application is strong and you show how all of your work experience is relevant to the role of a PSO/PO. So the restaurant - working with people in the community. The homeless shelter - dealing with difficult situations and having the emotional intelligence to understand their position.

    Criminology degree is obviously strong and you have the background knowledge for the role...but it is definitely about the 'individual' applying rather than what they have on paper.

    Me myself, I worked in a category C prison as a volunteer for a short time, studied criminal law and criminology modules as part of my previous degree. So this all helped.

    Are you applying for the November intake for PQIP? 😁😁😁

    Charlie
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    (Original post by CharlieEllis1989)
    Hey everyone.

    I thought I would write a post about my experience with the NPS recruitment process and hopefully shed some light on what to expect from it, should you be considering applying.

    Firstly, if you don't have a degree in Criminology or the Criminal Justice System, don't worry too much, they're looking for the right calibre of people, i.e. character, emotional intelligence, objectivity, information processing. A piece of paper that says 'I'm quite good at Law' doesn't move them. It may help in your application initially, but the assessment centre is really where they get to see if you're what they're looking for. So, relax, you have a chance.

    Second, I came from a medical background and studied cardiology at Swansea University; although some of you might think that is irrelevant, what they want are candidates who can show they can handle pressure and people who have experience of working with others who exhibit challenging behaviour. In a hospital, emotions can be high and behaviour can vary, so if you have any experience of working in a hospital, or just directly with members of public where you are exposed to challenging behaviour, you have a chance.

    However, being a Probation Service Officer or Probation Officer is not an easy job to have. It's pressure, and lots of it. Which leads me to the NPS Assessment Centre mentioned previously.

    If you manage to get here, well done! It is a very difficult application process. The first step is an online application, including vetting. You will then be asked to answer a series of scenario-based questions, requiring you to use your analytical and problem solving skills. There will also be a question or two where you will be asked to write a report on a given set of information. If you successfully navigate through this, you will progress to the Online Situational Judgement Tests. These assess your ability to interpret information and also assess your team-working and observational skills. You are presented with 20 questions and have 30 minutes to complete the test. You do not have long on each question and there is a lot of information given to you, so look for the key points and choose the answer that YOU feel would be the most constructive, not what you think the assessors feel would be, YOU. If you're successful here you will be invited to the NPS Assessment Centre in London.

    The NPS Assessment Centre consists of 3 parts:

    1. A written exercise - you are assuming the role of a public sector organisation advisor and will be asked to produce a report with a quite substantial amount of information. You have 50 minutes to read through and then write your report.

    2. A competency-based interview - this is timed and you will be asked 4-5 base questions, of which the interviewer will then lead off of your answers with further questions relating to your response.

    3. An assessed group work exercise - once again you assume the role of working for an organisation and have to read through a series of cases, make notes, and then as a group, present your thoughts, concerns and recommendations for each. Assessors will be in the room taking notes on your contribution to the group work and the points made. *Don't be scared to point out things that others haven't - it might just get you a job*

    This is a half-day assessment centre, which sounded odd to me considering what they want you to do in such a short space of time. But, that is the whole idea. They want you under pressure. There is very little time between each element of the assessment - so drink plenty of water, try and remain calm and be yourself

    I recently had my Assessment Centre slot (13/01/2017) and I was offered a position as a PSO on 3rd of February.

    I chose to write this post because I had seen a lot of negative posts about how it is near impossible to get into the Probation Service and that you will be 'extremely disappointed'. Yes, it's tough. But if it was easy everyone would do it. So just apply yourself properly, research the service and be yourself. If anyone would like to ask any further questions then PM me and i'll be happy to help.

    Good Luck!
    Thank you so much for this! Would you mind telling me how long you waited between each aspect of your application? Thanks 😀
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    Firstly congratulations on your successful application!

    I completed the SJT the day after completing my application and there was no other tests- just simply a message to say you will hear back shortly.

    2 weeks have passed and the closing date was yesterday and they had already published another cohort with a deadline of 7/8/17!

    It's not looking too promising! I know from the Facebook group - nobody has said they have heard back yet, so I'm not sure either way.

    I hope they let us know shortly so that if we was unsuccessful then we can look at our SJT and questions to see if we can improve!

    You didn't mention if you took the role? If you did are you still going through the process or have you started? How have you found it all so far?

    Thank you for gettting back to me also, very helpful!
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    Congratulations and well done for your continued determined!
    I am still waiting to hear back from the PSO application but like you said there are thousand of applications. I guess a message on Facebook or an email saying they was looking into everyone and everyone would hear back within ?? Weeks - might have stopped the many repeat questions they keep getting on the group.
    Patience is definitely needed.
    How did you find the assessment day? I think from PSO advert, it's a half day for us? With a test, a group activity and then face to face interview.
    I know about vetting - I saw it can take up to 8 weeks to complete but this cohort of PSO that I've applied for don't have a start date until October.
    Are you looking forward to the role?
    Do you have any tips for asessment day?
    Thank you anyway for all your answers...so informative and really put my mind at rest 😁
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    Hi,I'm through to the assessment day for a PSO position (this Friday). Within the emails they mention completing the online questionnaires, including one for the countersignatory. I can't seem to find this. Is this done once we have passed the assessment day, which in my mind would make sense. Do we just bring the original and copies of the documents the stated. Hope that makes sense!Thanks.
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    Hi twinmum2, I was just wondering when you found out that you have been successful? My application is still saying application under consideration. Any insight would be great. Thanks :-)
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    (Original post by a.m.a.n.d.a)
    Hi twinmum2, I was just wondering when you found out that you have been successful? My application is still saying application under consideration. Any insight would be great. Thanks :-)
    Possibly a different cohort? I'm cohort 2 and my closing date was 3rd July and I'm still waiting to hear back today!

    Cohort 3 is running now also and they have a closing date in august so think people are all on different cohorts
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    (Original post by Twinmum2)
    Hi,I'm through to the assessment day for a PSO position (this Friday). Within the emails they mention completing the online questionnaires, including one for the countersignatory. I can't seem to find this. Is this done once we have passed the assessment day, which in my mind would make sense. Do we just bring the original and copies of the documents the stated. Hope that makes sense!Thanks.
    Well done! How was the assessment day? Can you give any pointers? I'm currently waiting to hear about my application and would love to hear about your experience at the assessment day. When do you expect to hear back? Fingers crossed you had the news you wanted. 😁
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      (Original post by Twinmum2)
      Hi,I'm through to the assessment day for a PSO position (this Friday). Within the emails they mention completing the online questionnaires, including one for the countersignatory. I can't seem to find this. Is this done once we have passed the assessment day, which in my mind would make sense. Do we just bring the original and copies of the documents the stated. Hope that makes sense!Thanks.
      How did you find the assessment centre??
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      Well I'm just back from London. The assessment was well managed but quite fast paced. I started off with the written exercise which took 50 mins, then had a 5 min break before heading off to the individual interview. The interviewers have a script to work through and prompt you until they get the information they require. This was followed by a 20 min break before have a group discussion.

      I've no idea how I did and won't know till the middle of August. I would say just go in and be yourself. The day passes very quickly so no time time ponder on matters.

      Good luck for those who will be part of the next assessments!
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      Hi everyone, I have booked my place for the assessment day next week. I appreciate everyone's feedback on their experiences as is it so helpful. I am just trying to prepare as much as possible and want to know what exactly the group task involves? Do I need to brush up on anything in particular? I appreciate any information you can give me. Thanks guys
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      I also just booked for the assessment centre. does anyone have any advice or tips
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      Hi everyoneI attended the assessment day last week, I found it well organised and interesting. It is intense though and I think you can just be yourself throughout.I need to send two more document to the vetting company, I cannot read the email address they wrote down to send my documents to, does someone know what the email address is?Thanks and good luck to those in the next round
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      I have an assessment day coming up in London and have found this thread really helpful thank you so much. To say I'm a tad nervous is an understatement but I shall keep referring back to this to try n calm myself!
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      Hi guys,I just finished the PO assessment for the nov. Intake and just wanted to know if anyone could shed some light for me on how likely i am to pass.I've worked as a student mentor at uni and a prison researcher in UK prisons for the last year. A lot of people in my assessment group were current PSOs and I'm worried im at a severe disadvantage because I haven't taken the PSO route. Is anyone able to reassure me it's not a complete loss? I thought the day went well but now I'm panicking haha.Thanks!
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      To all the girls who have already had an interview can you give a rough idea on what kind of questions to expect for the individual interview? Would be really appreciated as I want the job more than anything and i'm so so nervous!
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      Hi I was wondering if you could advise me regarding the 1st question on the Probation Services officer application form. When sending my reply to the student, I was wondering if I should mention in a subtle way about concerns he may be taking drugs again and that he can still get support with it?
      Thank you in advance
      Sonya
      (Original post by CharlieEllis1989)
      Hey everyone.

      I thought I would write a post about my experience with the NPS recruitment process and hopefully shed some light on what to expect from it, should you be considering applying.

      Firstly, if you don't have a degree in Criminology or the Criminal Justice System, don't worry too much, they're looking for the right calibre of people, i.e. character, emotional intelligence, objectivity, information processing. A piece of paper that says 'I'm quite good at Law' doesn't move them. It may help in your application initially, but the assessment centre is really where they get to see if you're what they're looking for. So, relax, you have a chance.

      Second, I came from a medical background and studied cardiology at Swansea University; although some of you might think that is irrelevant, what they want are candidates who can show they can handle pressure and people who have experience of working with others who exhibit challenging behaviour. In a hospital, emotions can be high and behaviour can vary, so if you have any experience of working in a hospital, or just directly with members of public where you are exposed to challenging behaviour, you have a chance.

      However, being a Probation Service Officer or Probation Officer is not an easy job to have. It's pressure, and lots of it. Which leads me to the NPS Assessment Centre mentioned previously.

      If you manage to get here, well done! It is a very difficult application process. The first step is an online application, including vetting. You will then be asked to answer a series of scenario-based questions, requiring you to use your analytical and problem solving skills. There will also be a question or two where you will be asked to write a report on a given set of information. If you successfully navigate through this, you will progress to the Online Situational Judgement Tests. These assess your ability to interpret information and also assess your team-working and observational skills. You are presented with 20 questions and have 30 minutes to complete the test. You do not have long on each question and there is a lot of information given to you, so look for the key points and choose the answer that YOU feel would be the most constructive, not what you think the assessors feel would be, YOU. If you're successful here you will be invited to the NPS Assessment Centre in London.

      The NPS Assessment Centre consists of 3 parts:

      1. A written exercise - you are assuming the role of a public sector organisation advisor and will be asked to produce a report with a quite substantial amount of information. You have 50 minutes to read through and then write your report.

      2. A competency-based interview - this is timed and you will be asked 4-5 base questions, of which the interviewer will then lead off of your answers with further questions relating to your response.

      3. An assessed group work exercise - once again you assume the role of working for an organisation and have to read through a series of cases, make notes, and then as a group, present your thoughts, concerns and recommendations for each. Assessors will be in the room taking notes on your contribution to the group work and the points made. *Don't be scared to point out things that others haven't - it might just get you a job*

      This is a half-day assessment centre, which sounded odd to me considering what they want you to do in such a short space of time. But, that is the whole idea. They want you under pressure. There is very little time between each element of the assessment - so drink plenty of water, try and remain calm and be yourself

      I recently had my Assessment Centre slot (13/01/2017) and I was offered a position as a PSO on 3rd of February.

      I chose to write this post because I had seen a lot of negative posts about how it is near impossible to get into the Probation Service and that you will be 'extremely disappointed'. Yes, it's tough. But if it was easy everyone would do it. So just apply yourself properly, research the service and be yourself. If anyone would like to ask any further questions then PM me and i'll be happy to help.

      Good Luck!
     
     
     
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