Frequently asked questions

 

How can I find out about vacancies at SEPA?

We advertise all our vacancies on our website.

What is SEPA’s recruitment process?

Every vacancy is different, listed below is a general description of what you can expect from SEPA’s recruitment and selection process.

Following the closing date, the recruitment panel will review all applications based on the essential and desirable criteria in the job summary. We will contact all candidates with the outcome of their application: you should expect to hear from us within 2–3 weeks, although shortlisting may take longer for some vacancies.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend a panel-based interview, which may include a presentation that they will be asked to prepare in advance. Some posts may also involve role relevant tests. You will be given a week’s notice of the interview and selection process and told about any preparation that you need to do.

Following interview all candidates will be informed of the outcome of their application and offered feedback. The recruiting manager will indicate the timescales for this at interview.

Do you offer traineeships?

We do occasionally offer trainee posts where suitably qualified people can train to become Environment Protection Officers or Flood Risk Scientists. Any opportunities will be advertised on our website.

What qualifications do I need to join SEPA?

That depends on the job you are applying for: qualifications are required for most roles in SEPA. The job summary and person specification for the post will clearly set out the required qualifications, skills and experience.

How fit do I need to be to join SEPA?

You must be able to give regular and effective service. You will be asked to complete a health questionnaire as part of our pre-employment checking process.

How much will I be paid?

The job summary indicates the grade of the post and the salary scale. All new employees are appointed at the base of the scale.

Is the salary negotiable?

All appointments will be made at the base of the salary scale indicated in the job summary.

When do I get paid?

All staff are paid on or around the 27th of every month. Payment is made by electronic transfer directly into your bank account.

Do you offer flexible working hours?

SEPA’s workforce is already diverse, and we want to continue building on that diversity. Our roles call for a variety of skills and for people from all kinds of backgrounds with different life experiences. SEPA is happy to consider flexible work arrangements and we proudly use the “Happy to Talk Flexible Working” logo on all our job vacancies. If you want to work part-time or through some other flexible arrangement, we strongly encourage you to apply.

Does SEPA employ any staff on short term basis?

There are some seasonal opportunities in our Evidence and Flooding Portfolio. These are predominantly for Technical Assistants to help out by taking samples. All opportunities are advertised on our website.

We occasionally bring in agency workers to help take forward specific projects short periods. These workers are obtained through recruitment agencies that are part of the Scottish Government Agency Workers Framework. Agency workers remain employed by the recruitment agency and are not SEPA employees. As with SEPA employees all Agency workers must undergo Baseline Personnel Security Standards clearance procedures.

How long does the recruitment process take from application to appointment?

Generally the recruitment process is completed within three months, but there are several factors which can affect the timescales. For example, if an exceptionally high number of applications are received, the shortlisting process may take longer. Also, the timescales for completing pre-employment checks can vary from candidate to candidate.

Do SEPA reimburse interview expenses?

Yes all candidates will be reimbursed their travel expenses, within reasonable limits. The maximum claimable amount is £150 and all expenses claimed should meet with the criteria stipulated in the explanatory note which is included in the interview expense claim form. This form should be completed prior to interview, receipts attached and given to the interview panel who will make the necessary arrangements for reimbursement.

Does SEPA run a graduate scheme?

Yes. This was launched on 13 February 2017 and this closed on 24 March 2017, our Graduates commence employment on the 4 September.  Keep an eye out for future opportunities on our website.

What does equal opportunities mean to the agency?

SEPA is committed to equal opportunities. We treat everyone fairly and with respect regardless of their sex, marital status, age, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief, working pattern, gender identity, caring responsibility or trade union membership.

We believe that our workforce should be as diverse as the environment we protect. Our roles call for a variety of skills and for people from all kinds of backgrounds with different life experiences. We offer employment and training to people solely on the basis of their skills, aptitudes and attitude.

 

What training and development opportunities do you offer?

We are committed to training and developing our staff in line with the needs of the organisation. We operate a Staff Appraisal Scheme where employees meet regularly with their line manager to discuss their performance and development needs. Employees are allocated objectives, which link directly to our Annual operating plan. Employees are responsible for updating their Personal Development Plan, which should reflect their development needs as agreed with their line manager. All promotion in SEPA is based on fair and open competition.

Is the online application process secure?

Yes, all registration, application and candidate account pages are accessed through a secure connection.

Where do I find out more information on the types of roles I might be suited to?

The job summary of each role provides full details of the type of duties undertaken in that post. You may also wish to refer to the person specification within the job summary, which provides the essential and desirable criteria you should have in order to be considered a suitable candidate.


Further information is also available on the roles information page.

Does SEPA offer work placements or experience?

Whilst we recognise the benefits in offering work experience and student placement opportunities; unfortunately the demand for such placements now exceeds the organisational ability to facilitate the placements.

 On this basis, we can no longer facilitate any unsolicited requests for work experience and placements.

Does SEPA accept CV applications?

No, applications are only accepted on the standard SEPA application form. Any candidate submitting a CV will be asked to submit a completed application form before the closing date for that post. CVs submitted with application forms will be not be considered.

Does SEPA accept applications received after the closing date?

No, in order to maintain a fair recruitment process. Unless stated otherwise all posts will close at midnight on the closing date. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure their application is received before the closing date.

Does SEPA provide feedback to applicants?

Due to the high number of applications received for each post, it is not possible to provide feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful in gaining an interview. During our shortlisting process our recruiting managers use the essential and desirable criteria in the job summary to identify the candidates whose experience most closely matches the criteria. If you have not been selected for interview it is likely to be because you do not meet the criteria on the job summary or because the recruitment panel felt other candidates’ experience more closely matched the job requirements. Please contact SEPA Human Resources at hr@sepa.org.uk who will be happy to arrange this for you.

I applied for a post but haven’t heard if I’ve been selected for interview.

This could be because the recruitment panel has not completed the shortlisting process. It is SEPA policy to inform all candidates of the outcome to their application. Please check that you have provided the correct email address when you registered and submitted your application.

I need to rearrange my interview date.

Unfortunately, as stated in the invitation to interview email, SEPA interviews are panel based and as such it is very difficult to reconvene the panel on an alternative date. Please contact SEPA HR (hr@sepa.org.uk) at your earliest convenience if you are unable to attend an interview.

If I am successful then when will I start?

We will carry out pre-employment checks before confirming your start date. Once these checks have been completed satisfactorily you will be allocated a start date to coincide with our corporate induction programme.

What security and pre-employment checks does SEPA carry out on prospective employees?

We adhere to the Government Personnel Security Standard which requires us to verify a prospective employee’s identity, nationality and immigration status (including their entitlement to undertake the work in question), employment history for the last 3 years and criminal record (unspent convictions only).

You will be asked to bring your qualification certificates (and other documentation to verify your identity and eligibility to work in the UK) to interview. The successful candidate will be offered employment subject to satisfactory pre-employment checks. Following an offer of employment, we will contact any employers and/or academic institutions where you have worked or studied over the last 3 years, to verify your employment and/or study dates. You will be asked to apply for a Basic Disclosure Scotland certificate and to complete a health questionnaire.

Certain posts in SEPA are subject to enhanced security checks; this will be stated in the job summary if applicable. We do not routinely request employment references but may do so for certain posts. If employment references are required, we will ask you to provide the names and contact details of two referees. Your start date will only be confirmed once all pre-employment checks have been completed and are deemed to be satisfactory.

Does SEPA sponsor migrant workers under the points-based system?

We are committed to equal opportunities in our employment practices. We are happy to receive applications from candidates with a valid work permit who have permission to live and work in the UK. A small number of our posts may meet the requirements for Tier 2 of the points-based system. However, in order to sponsor a migrant worker under Tier 2 we would have to satisfy the UK Border Agency that we had met the resident labour market test for the vacancy or that the post was currently listed on the shortage occupation list. It would be very challenging for us to meet the resident labour market test as most of our vacancies can be filled by a settled worker.
 
We require all candidates to provide original documentation at interview to prove their eligibility to work in the UK. This includes a valid passport and/or work permit where appropriate. If the successful candidate has limited time to remain in the UK they will be offered employment on a fixed-term basis to the date that their current work permit is due to expire.

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I want to apply for a job but after the first question I am told I do not meet the critieria.

SEPA have a number of pre-selection questions that we use to ensure all candidates meet the essential criteria for the post. These can be different for each vacancy but some are standard such as:

“Under the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 SEPA are required to ensure all employee's have the right to live and work in the UK. Do you have the right to work in the UK?”

If a candidate answers “No” to one of these questions they will automatically be told that SEPA are unable to accept their application.

I have received an email inviting me forward for interview but it doesn’t provide a date or time.

Please log back into your candidate account via the website where you will be able to select your interview slot. To do so firstly go into your account and you should be able to view all jobs you have applied for and the stage they are at. Find the vacancy that you have been invited to interview for and there should be an option on the right hand side to book your interview slot. Click on that option and select a time from those available by clicking on it. You should receive confirmation that your interview is booked.

I can’t remember my password

Go into the jobs section of the website and select the Login option from the left hand menu. Select “Have you forgotten your password?”. You will be asked for your email address. Once you have provided this click on Send and a password reminder will be sent to your email.

I haven’t received any updates on the outcome of my application?

All candidates will be informed of the outcome of their application as soon as the recruiting manager has made a decision. If you have not received an update it may be because the manager is still reviewing your application and will be in touch shortly.
Some email account providers may allocate emails from our team into your Spam or Junk email folder. To ensure this does not happen please add our email address to your address book in your email account. 

I have applied for a post but keep receiving email updates informing me to complete my application?

These updates are sent when a candidate has begun an application but has not completed it. Please log back into your account where you will be able to view all applications you have made. If your application has not been completed it should state “Incomplete Application” below the job title for the vacancy. On the right hand side you will see the options Resume or Withdraw. Click on Resume and you will be taken back into your application form where you will be able to complete it.

I need to withdraw my application for a post

Please log back into your account. To the right hand side of the vacancy there is the option to Withdraw. Click on that option and click to confirm your withdrawal. We will not contact you with further updates regarding this vacancy.

I’ve made a mistake on my application form

If the closing date for the vacancy has not been reached you may be able to log into your account and select the Edit facility. If the closing date has been reached we will be unable to amend your application form but can pass a message to the recruiting manager on your behalf.

I have recently applied for a post with SEPA and wondered if there was any way to be informed of future similar vacancies?

You can either select the Register for Updates button at the top of the Jobs page of the website or log into your account, go to View all Jobs and at the bottom of the first page will see the option Email me jobs like these. Complete the details and SEPA will contact you by email when any posts are advertised that meet the criteria you have specified.

Is there any way I can see all the jobs I’ve applied for?

Yes. Go into your account and select View Your Application History where you will be able to see each application you have made and the status.

Why do I need to provide you with my equality monitoring information?

Organisations have a legal duty to gather employee equality monitoring information and SEPA is no exception. 

Gathering monitoring data helps SEPA as an organisation to understand the makeup of their staff and job applicants. The information is then used to determine whether the right policies, practices or support is in place.

Your data is owned by you and you can update it through our on line recruitment system. Your information is only visible to you and HR. When the data is used is it used as a set of numbers and so it is not attributable to any individual. 

If you don’t wish to give any detail, there is an option in the drop down menu for ‘Information not provided’.