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Trying out a new application process for developers at GDS

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: GDS team

We’ve had a lot of feedback on our recent call for developers to join us at GDS. The biggest message by far was that the application process wasn’t very user-friendly. We agree, it needs to be improved. So we’re going to try out a simpler application process, with less jargon and fewer questions, for the jobs we are now advertising for.

The most recent round of developer applications closed last Monday and we’re setting up interviews in the next few days with the best candidates. But even if we hire all of the people we’ve called for interview we’ll still need more people if we’re going to get to full strength.

We’ll keep the new job adverts open for 1 week (from yesterday) and then see how many high quality applications we get. If it looks like it’s working then we’ll carry on using this process - and start using it for other GDS roles as well.

If you’ve got any thoughts on how we can improve the process further, please let us know in the comments section below.

How does the new application process work?

This time we’re asking candidates to only send in their CV and a written Statement of Suitability. Just download the job description for the role and look for the key competencies and skills that we want candidates to have.

When we read your statement we’ll be looking for evidence that proves you have these specialist skills. Make sure you give us examples of things you personally have done that tick all the boxes, and explain in detail any of the projects and/or products you’ve worked on recently to help show you have the right expertise.

What’s it like to work at GDS?

The second biggest message from our recent recruitment round was that people were a bit unsure about what it’s actually like to work at GDS - what’s a typical day, what are the offices like, do you have up-to-date equipment and software?

That’s why we are creating a whole new section on our website to explain why you might consider working for GDS, whether as a developer or any of the other Government Digital Service roles now available on the Civil Service Jobs website (listed under 'Cabinet Office excl agencies').

If you have any questions on applying then Thayer Prime ( can help.

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  1. Comment by Anonymous posted on

    So its been almost a month since I applied. At first when I saw these positions I was very excited about the GDS. However, I have not heard absolutely anything back since. I haven't even received a simple confirmation of my application. How long does it take for a simple "no" or "we're still considering your application" email?

  2. Comment by Devi Lozdan posted on

    Would someone be able to clarify whether this new process only applies to developer roles or whether it also applies to any other role being advertised in GDS at the moment?

  3. Comment by uklotterynews posted on

    So reading the part about the Written Statement of Suitability suggests that the Government may for once be willing to take on applicants from some of the less conventional fields. I myself have worked in the lottery industry for many years and actively work with a number of developers who are completely self trained and yet run some of the UKs largest lottery results websites handling hugely complex data and queries. It would be great to think that some of these developers may now have an opportunity to work for the Government in improving the UKs digital services but despite what I read I still doubt that genuine skill will ever be put before educational pieces of paper.

  4. Comment by Weeknotes 1: predictive vs adaptive – Roo Reynolds posted on

    [...] lining up a delivery team (we need more developers and hopefully a few developers who can work on innovation projects [...]

  5. Comment by Blurring boundaries | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] receive an offer, and just over a week later had signed paperwork and was ready to start. I gather the application process is even smoother now, replacing the long Word document with a more conventional CV and covering [...]

  6. Comment by Liz Court posted on

    This is so refreshing! Good call guys. Hope it pays off.

  7. Comment by Alex Coley posted on

    I think the key questions here are:

    1. Could you spend 90k a year?

    2. Can you high five?

    I welcome this simplification of process.

  8. Comment by Adam posted on

    Love the new section - great to get an idea of the different people, what they do, how they feel about what looks like a fantastic organisation to work for (as well as producing a great 'product').

    An addition I'd find really useful would be something on how you guys and gals got to where you are - the background in which you developed your skills and how us mere mortals at the entry level can get there (unless you're recruiting for trainees to learn from the best at GDS). I do some freelance web design but just reading about all you do don't think I'm anywhere near the level you're looking for ... and don't know how to reach it!

  9. Comment by Devi Lozdan posted on

    That's great to hear. It's really nice to see such a quick response to the existing process.