We received Government Contracts – How to Get Them in reply to our article “Why You Cannot Get an IT job with the Government”.
It gives some insightful advice about the two different cultures and how to get public sector work.
Closed Shop for Government Contracts
I currently work in the pubic sector after many years in the private sector. So, I’d say Gerry is half right in what he says.
The NHS seems to be a “closed shop” usually requiring previous NHS experience to get anything of significance. It’s a chicken and egg situation.
It’s usually just certain agencies that get Government work.
Also at one time, new IT entrants to the NHS started on the minimum of the relevant salary band. This was a further disincentive to apply.
I am not sure that Gerry is right about how to get contract work rest of the public sector. However he should remember that competition is very strong even though salaries are much lower. This seems to be down to the “added value” the public sector offers e.g. index linked pensions, long holidays, etc.
The biggest difference for Government Contracts is down to culture – which includes jargon – and you need to do your homework in this area.
Every industry has its jargon, and those who understand it stand the best chance of success.
Remember, also, that in general, the public sector has little money, is not at the leading edge of technology, and they have to follow EU procurement rules. Do you really want to work there?
In my experience, selection of candidates to fill (most) Government contracts vacancies happen in a very clinical, mechanistic way. It’s usually by a selection panel matching candidates against very specific criteria, which they can deduce from the job description. In this way every decision is auditable.
Remember also that the process will take some time. For senior posts in Government contracts, you will almost certainly undergo some psychometric testing, and have to carry out some practical test (e.g. a presentation on issues relating to the post) as part of the process.
So, to sum up:
1) do your homework,
2) be prepared,
3) consider how to present yourself,
4) think like the panel thinks,
and you’ll be okay.