Guidance for applicants

Preparing to apply

If you’re interested in working for the Office for Students (OfS), you will need to make sure your application stands out and gives us all the information we need to understand why you’re the best person for the job.

First, do your research. You will need to reflect in your application your understanding of the OfS as a regulator and as an employer.

Look at our website, especially the careers pages but also information on core values and behaviours. This should help you to identify why you’re attracted to the role and also inform your responses.

Make sure you read the advert carefully. This sets out the specific skills and qualities we’re looking for. It is important for you to show how your experience, knowledge and skills are relevant to the role.

Know when the deadline is and give yourself plenty of time. We cannot accept late applications and you will not be able to access the application page for a job after the closing date.

The OfS approach

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are a key consideration in recruitment and selection and we only recruit on merit, by fair and open competition.

The OfS is committed to ensuring that we do not discriminate on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation at any stage of the recruitment process or in the terms and conditions offered to new employees or promoted employees.

The OfS takes its responsibilities on diversity very seriously and we are working to ensure the make-up of our employees is as diverse as it can be, welcoming applicants from underrepresented groups. All our recruiting managers must also take part in training on equality and diversity.

The OfS enablers

The OfS currently uses a set of ‘enablers’ to evaluate candidate strengths.

The enablers are listed in the job description under the headings:

  • knowledge and learning
  • planning
  • communications.

This is your opportunity to expand on what you have achieved in your career by describing what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. It is here you should use detailed examples to explain how you meet all the requirements of the job description.

We are looking for how you made your own contribution to a scenario, why you made that contribution and what was the outcome. Assertions without evidence will, in contrast, make it difficult to evaluate your skills and how you apply them.


Most assessments are made by interview. Interviews are generally with a panel of three people and will be face-to-face or by video call.

We might ask you to prepare a presentation on a given subject for which you will have advance notice. Some assessment will also involve a test which might be on the day or become part of the decision-making process following interview.

We will always describe the assessment process in our invitation to interview.

Reasonable adjustment

We want to help you show your full potential however we assess your application. If you have requirements in relation to any part of the recruitment and selection process, including access, please let us know immediately so we can discuss any equipment, facilities or adjustments you may need.

We are requesting this information to make the process as equitable as possible for each candidate. Examples of adjustments include providing documents in large print, putting questions in the chat function during video call, or allowing more time for a test or interview.

Published 22 June 2021
Last updated 10 May 2022
10 May 2022
We have made minor revisions throughout the page.

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