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.

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

Take a look at our website, especially the careers pages but also information on our 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 job description carefully. This is the key indicator of the specific skills and qualities we’re looking for.

It is important for you to demonstrate in your application how your experience, knowledge and skills are relevant to the role.

Know when the deadline is and give yourself plenty of time to make your application ahead of the deadline.

We are not able to accept applications after the deadline and you will not be able to access the application page for a job after the closing date.

Anonymised applications

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 are required to undergo learning on unconscious bias, equality and recruitment and selection. We also ask all candidates not to include personal information that identifies them.

This means we can recruit regardless of age, disability, race and ethnicity, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and socio-economic background.

Other than in mandatory fields, for instance the application form and personal statement, you should exclude reference to:

  • name or title
  • educational institutions
  • age
  • gender
  • email address
  • postal address
  • phone number
  • nationality or immigration status.

The OfS enablers

The OfS currently uses enablers to evaluate your strengths, although we plan to move to a competency-based assessment in due course.

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

  • knowledge and learning
  • planning
  • communications
  • relationships.

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 by giving evidence.

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, with the results discussed during the interview, or in advance of the interview.

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

Reasonable adjustment

We want to help you demonstrate your full potential whatever type of assessment is used.

If you have particular 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

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