Meeting business needs through workforce planning
A Foreign & Commonwealth Office case study

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Page 4: Selection

The FCO has a policy of fair and open competition for posts. The process of selection involves identifying the most suitable candidate for each job. Usually external candidates must:

  • submit a written application
  • undertake group exercises and presentations at an assessment centre
  • sit a job interview.

Each stage of this process helps the FCO to explore the capability of each candidate for the vacancy. It also provides an assessment of the future potential of applicants.  The process helps the FCO develop diversity within its workforce by being more open to individuals from different ethnic and social backgrounds.

Managing a career

Once working within the FCO, people are encouraged to manage their own careers. Rather than managers or the Human Resources department allocating new jobs to individuals when they want to move sideways or win promotion, people can choose which direction they want to take.

The internal recruitment process for jobs has become more open with all posts filled on the basis of job interviews. To gain promotion and be eligible to apply for jobs at a higher grade, staff must apply for and pass an assessment centre.

Joanna joined the FCO as an Executive Assistant in 2001: 'The great thing about the FCO is that you never get pigeonholed in one particular career path. I joined with a degree in geography and a background in recruitment, I'm now working as a diary secretary for one of the ministers. Your options are wide open. We move jobs every two to three years, taking our new skills from one job onto the next. If you want to try something completely different, you can.'

Foreign & Commonwealth Office | Meeting business needs through workforce planning