Following a six-year external recruitment freeze, the Crown Prosecution Service was nearing a 30 per cent reduction in headcount and had to rise to the challenge of updating a rusty recruitment process, as well as improving awareness of the attractive career opportunities the CPS could offer.
Highest in demand following the recruitment freeze were barristers and solicitors. New branding was required to attract talent, and dispel unhelpful beliefs held about working for the CPS, such as that it is only a career path for those who can’t ‘make it’ in the private sector.
Following detailed research including stakeholder interviews, staff focus groups, and conversations with current and prospective employees, a new Employee Value Proposition was created. The new offer had its own visual style to help communicate the emotional and professional fulfilment offered by the CPS as an employer.
The hiring process itself also needed to be smoothed out, as the CPS had previously struggled with a high candidate attrition rate and longer than average time to hire.
This year, the older application process was replaced with ‘Success Profiles’, which allows those in charge of hiring to tailor application processes to each individual vacancy. First-stage video interviews were used for the first time, before inviting successful candidates to a face-to-face interview. The wider range of skills and aptitudes tested in the new process improves both performance and inclusivity.
Innovative remote legal teams have been established in three UK locations to address the difficulty of filling vacancies in areas such as London and the south-east.
Since introducing this new recruitment processes, the CPS has filled over 1,000 vacancies, and reached an average time to hire of 35 working days – seven fewer than the Civil Service average.
The scheme has also attracted record numbers of apprenticeship candidates, and the CPS now has the highest proportion of apprentices of any government department.