Frequently asked questions
How long does the recruitment process take?
As a guide, if you were to apply and were successful, we endeavour to complete this process to the point of offer within approx. four weeks.
When can I expect to hear from you after my application has been submitted?
Whilst we will try and get in touch with you as quickly as we can after you apply, as we typically advertise vacancies for 2-3 weeks, if you happen to apply toward the beginning of the application window, you will appreciate it may be that we can’t make any final decisions until we’ve reviewed all applications, which is likely to be a few days after the closing date.
How/where will interviews take place?
Initial interviews are often via telephone although these might take place online using Microsoft Teams, a video platform we primarily use.
Like many organisations, we have in recent times been using Teams for many of our final interviews/assessments and this is likely to remain the case going forwards, However, we also know there can be a great benefit to both interviewers and interviewees to meet in person so where safe and sensible to do so, interviews may take place at one of our 30+ offices across England.
When will interviews/assessment take place?
Within most of our vacancy adverts we include a timeline that we aim to work towards. Sometimes we give specific dates if we can, otherwise it might be a range of dates.
What if I can’t make the stated interviews/assessments dates?
Don’t let this discourage you from applying and perhaps include a note/comment within your application to let us know. We’ll always try to be flexible and accommodate people although you’ll appreciate, we have to balance this with impact on other applicants and our need to try and complete the process as efficiently as we can.
Why are their two salary values on your adverts?
We operate a simple pay structure where each salary band has only two salary points; a ‘commencement’ and a higher ‘target’ salary. If you join at the commencement rate for your pay band, subject to satisfactory performance you can expect to progress to target after no more than 18 months in post.
If we offer you a role starting at target salary, then we may ask you for evidence of your previous earnings. We’ll provide further information on this if this is relevant to you.
In addition to your salary, we also offer a range of financial and non-financial benefits and further information is detailed within our careers pages and within our vacancies. If you have any specific questions around this that you would like to know more about, please feel free to either refer to this in your application or ask us about this at the first opportunity.
Do you offer any financial incentives to join Cafcass?
On occasions we may offer an incentive, such as a ‘Golden Hello’ payment for specific vacancies. If this applies, it is clearly stated in the advert. Further information payment frequency and conditions attached to such payments will be communicated as part of any formal offer to you.
How long will it take to apply?
In terms of our system, we anticipate most applications can be done comfortably within 5-10 minutes, depending on your preparedness.
We purposefully keep application forms as short as possible and allow you to upload your CV. Those questions we ask we try to make it as quick and easy as we can to answer (i.e. yes/no questions or select answer from list). However, we also encourage you to take advantage of opportunities to give more detailed information, whether this is in your responses to open questions or providing a supporting statement, so that your application really stands out.
Similarly, we encourage you to make sure your CV is up-to-date and reflects the skills and experience we are looking for in the role for which you are applying, which you can identify from the job description/person specification.
How can I apply?
We only accept applications online, not by email. The main reasons for this are a) to ensure we receive your application and process it fairly (emails don’t always reach people, get lost, deleted by accident) and b) by applying online you will have the opportunity to view relevant privacy statements about how we will process and manage your data.
You need to have an account on our recruitment system using either an email address or by using your Facebook, LinkedIn or Google profile. Once you have set-up your account you will be able to monitor and manage your application (e.g. withdraw your application, book / view interview details, access relevant documents) and your profile / account (e.g. set-up and manage email vacancy alerts, delete your account and raise subject access requests).
If for any reason you cannot apply online due to accessibility issues and there isn’t someone who can support you with this, then please get in touch and we will endeavour to help you overcome this.
Can I talk to someone about a vacancy I’m interested in?
There is a lot of information on the careers pages about some of the roles we most frequently recruit for that might answer any questions that you have. However, we also understand that a conversation with either a member of our Recruitment team or the Recruiting Manager prior to applying can help you to decide if you want to apply.
On many of our vacancy adverts we will include a named contact and their email address so you can send an email with your contact details and best days/times to be contacted. If we don’t include a named contact, this is normally because we’re anticipating a lot of interest in the role and there is a risk we won’t be able to respond to requests before the deadline and anyone thinking of applying but hoping to speak to someone first, might miss out.
If there isn’t a named contact or if you’ve got in touch but haven’t heard from us and the application deadline is imminent, please ensure you apply before the vacancy closes and if you have any specific questions, consider detailing these in your ‘supporting statement’. As in most cases the initial interview is quite informal, there will be an opportunity to answer any key questions.
Can I change my application after I’ve submitted it?
Unfortunately, once you’ve submitted your application you can’t change it. It is worth noting that you can start your application, save it and come back to it and make changes either to your responses or your CV before you submit. If you do start an application, you will automatically get reminder emails to complete your application by the deadline.
Will you acknowledge receipt of my application?
You will see an on-screen confirmation that your application has been submitted, receive an email (please keep an eye on your junk / spam) and you will also be able to login to your candidate account to view your application and the status of it.
Will I get informed the outcome of my application even if not successful?
Yes, you will always be informed of the outcome. The method of contact is likely to reflect the stage in the process your application reaches; if we don’t progress your initial application then this is likely via email (check junk / spam) whereas if you reach the final interview / assessment stage it is more likely by telephone.
Can I apply for multiple roles?
We understand that with flexible working this can mean you’re able to consider roles not in your immediate vicinity meaning you might be interested in more than one vacancy at any time. If this applies to you, then we encourage you to apply for whichever roles interest you.
If you apply for 2+ vacancies but for the same role (e.g. Family Court Adviser) then, if possible, we will try to manage your interest in those roles in a joined-up manner to avoid duplicating steps. Of course, if they are two (or more) different roles then each will have its own separate process.
If you do apply for a role quite far away from your home address, our Resourcing team may contact you to clarify and confirm your interest in the opportunity.
What if I have a technical issue applying?
Our recruitment system is provided by an external provider and therefore is you have a system/technical issue, please contact them on [email protected] with as much information as you can (e.g. your email address, vacancy reference number/title, relevant screenshots, etc.) and they will support you.
While we hope you don’t have any technical issues, they do from time to time happen and so we encourage all applicants to try and avoid submitting their applications at the last minute, therefore in the event of a problem hopefully this can be resolved prior to the deadline.
What is the selection process?
The stages will depend on the role you’ve applied for and as well as dates, adverts will typically indicate what the process will be. But whatever the process, the aim of it will be to give you the opportunity to demonstrate you have the experience, skills and values required.
As a guide, you may be asked to participate/attend/complete some of the following:
- An initial interview perhaps for 20-30 minutes on a 1-2-1 basis, with the main aim for us to find out more about you, your career to date and understand your motivation to apply for the role and join Cafcass, whilst also being an opportunity for you to ask key questions and find out more about the role/organisation.
- A one-way video interview which is where we ask you to access a secure portal and record responses to some key questions for relevant Managers to review.
- An online assessment such as verbal/numerical reasoning, a situational judgement exercise, a specific skills exercise or perhaps a personality assessment.
- A role-based exercise that simulates a task or situation that you may have to complete or manage in the role.
- A relevant group exercise alongside other applicants.
- A final interview/assessment with a panel of interviewers (likely to range from 2-4 people and may also include a Family Justice Young Peoples Board member).
- The final assessment may also include a presentation or other exercise that will be completed either before or after the interview element.
How will I book interviews?
Sometimes we may allocate you a specific interview date / time – we’ll of course liaise with you first to ensure you’re available – or quite often we invite applicants to book their interview from specific slots on a first come, first serve basis online via your candidate account.
If there are relevant documents that we think you either need to have access to (e.g. a presentation brief) or just information you might want to refer to (e.g. job description) these will be shared via email and also available in your candidate account.
What if I can’t attend any of the offered interview slots?
Get in touch with the member of the Resourcing team who is managing the vacancy indicating when you will be available. If we can identify an alternative date/time that suits all concerned and within an acceptable timescale then we will arrange this. However, as you will understand, there may come a point where we have to accept it isn’t possible to arrange an interview with you and we may have to continue the recruitment process as delaying may unfairly impact other applicants.
What if I need to can’t attend my interview?
Please let us know a.s.a.p. Our interviewer’s time is very precious so if you aren’t able to attend then the sooner we know the better as this will allow interviewers to have this time back. If you remain interested in the role but it’s just that you can’t attend, please liaise with our Resourcing team about making alternative arrangements.
What should I do to prepare for an interview?
As a minimum, we encourage you to read and understand the job description / person specification, which is normally shared with you again prior to interview and is also available within your candidate account online.
For the roles we most regularly recruit to, such as Family Court Advisers, as well as information within our careers pages, you may also benefit from looking at the resources we make available on the website for professionals. If you know people who work at Cafcass – or have worked previously – then a conversation with them may be helpful. If not, think about what other research can you do to either develop your understanding of the organisation and role you’re being interviewed for.
Whilst you may not be able be guess what specific questions you are asked, you can probably anticipate the general experience / skills / behaviours that we will exploring with you. Therefore, you may benefit from allocating some time to think about this and in turn thinking about examples or situations from your career to date that might be relevant, or just generally thinking about how you might respond to such a question.
If you are someone that has previously struggled with interviews – we understand that no matter how much we try to put people at ease, it can be a nerve-wracking experience – then being prepared may help reduce the nerves a little. For example, you might ask friends / family to ask you questions and listen to your answers give you general feedback, or maybe you could record yourself and review how you think you came across.
However, if something you have really struggled with in the past then think about the things you can do in the lead up to the interview (e.g. 24-36 hours); eat healthily, stay hydrated, set yourself up for getting a good night’s sleep, meditate, listen to music, undertake physical exercise, etc.
No matter how prepared you are, you are still likely to be nervous. And feeling nervous can be a good thing, because you can harness this energy to positively improve your interview performance.
Can I refer to notes?
Yes, you are more than welcome to refer to any notes that you have made in preparation. However, we encourage applicants to be selective about how they use notes; sometimes people can end up reading them and this can mean they disengage with the panel. Furthermore, by relying too much on notes it can be easy to forget to actually answer the question asked.
I have a disability - will you make reasonable adjustments to the process? And how will you know I need them?
As part of your application, you are invited to indicate if you have a disability and if this applies to you, we hope you will feel confident enough to do so. And if you do you indicate you have a disability, we will contact you to invite you to provide us with further information and help us understand what, if any, reasonable adjustments you may require so that you are not disadvantaged. Any information about an applicant’s disability will only be shared with Recruiting Managers at a point in the process where it is necessary (i.e. reasonable adjustments are required).
It is also our policy that candidates indicating a disability that also meet the criteria for the role they are applying for are guaranteed to have their application progressed to the next stage of the progress.
What happens next after I’ve been offered the role?
Once our Resourcing team have been notified by the Recruiting Manager, a member of our team will get in touch to arrange to speak with you, either on the telephone or via Teams. The purpose of this call is to talk you through the next steps and answer any questions that you may have. We aim for this to take place within five working days of learning you will be joining us. This is a really important step so ensuring you are available to speak with us will be really helpful.
How long after I’ve verbally accepted an offer to join Cafcass will I receive my written offer?
We know that you will be excited to join us and receiving your formal offer will be a key milestone in making that happen so we’ll try to get this to you as quickly as we can and generally this will be within 5-7 working days of the Recruiting Manager confirming your acceptance and providing all the necessary information for us to generate your offer. We will probably be able to update you on when you’ll receive your offer when you speak with our Resourcing team (see above).
When should I resign from my current role?
We can understand you probably can’t wait to get started and we’re looking forward to you starting with us. All offers of employment are subject to pre-employment checks so this must be your decision but if you decide to resign before checks are complete (i.e. on receipt of formal offer) then we will work closely with you to make sure everything is done as quickly as possible.
What pre-employment checks do you do? And how long do they take?
First of all we have to have see and copy documents to prove that you are Eligible to Work in the UK. We will also request an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, which unless you are on the DBS Update Service, we will apply for a new check, irrelevant of the date of your last check.
We need at least 2 references covering a minimum 3 years’ employment, including your current or most recent employment. However, occasionally we may seek references from further back than this either instead of or as well as those stated above. If you have any gaps in employment in this period, we may ask you for further information to substantiate this.
We also ask everyone to have an Occupational Health check, which in the first instance requires new joiners to complete a medical questionnaire. It may be necessary as a follow-up to ask you to attend a medical assessment to ensure you are fit to carry out the duties of the post, but we’ll provide more information about this if, and when, necessary.
Finally, we will also need to see evidence of relevant professional qualifications and memberships (e.g. Social Work qualification and confirmation that registered with Social Work England).
What if I have concerns about the pre-employment checks?
First of all, we encourage you to be up front and honest with us about this, provide us with as much information as you can, and we will give you our view on whether it might be an issue. In many cases there are steps we can take to gain any reassurances we may need.
For example, if one of your references was less than satisfactory, we might seek references going further back so that we have more information at our disposal. Similarly, if your DBS check identified a conviction/caution/reprimand/final warning, it isn’t simply a case of withdrawing an employment offer. Any final decision would take into account the nature of the offence, timescales involved, the context and the work you would be doing at Cafcass.
How long do the pre-employment checks take?
As we are reliant on a number of things outside of our direct control (e.g. DBS, previous / current employers, etc.) it is difficult to put a definitive timescale on this. However, as a guide in most cases we see checks being completed within 4-5 weeks and where new joiners are responsive and provide us with the necessary information we need, it can sometimes be sooner.