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Information for Candidates

The Forestry Commission reports to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on England and GB issues, and Scottish Ministers on Scottish issues.

We lead the way in encouraging a strong forestry industry based not just on commercial success, but on a much wider appreciation of the many values that people attach to the nation’s forests and woodlands.  Broadly, we are concerned with the formation and management of national forests, the encouragement of forestry on private estates, and research development. Multi-purpose use is an important aspect of forestry policy. The emphasis has widened from encouraging timber production to the provision of social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as, productive woodlands.

Recognised as a Crown Body, our staff are Civil Servants.

Reward and Benefits

The core package includes;

  • Choice between a Civil Service pension or stakeholder pension scheme
  • 25 days annual leave (rising to 30 days after 5 years service) and 10.5 days public and privilege holidays 

Salary is paid monthly in arrears by credit transfer.

Candidates who have the relevant qualifications and experience required for the role will start at the minimum of the pay band. On the recommendation of the Selection Board, a higher starting salary will only be authorised if you have qualifications and/or experience considered to be of exceptional special value.

We reserve the right to set the starting salary but will give fair and reasonable consideration to position and status in a current Department when making an offer.


In the 2011 Autumn Statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the public sector pay awards will average at one percent for two years.  This policy will apply in the Forestry Commission in the financial years 2014/15 and 2015/16.

Our Approach to Recruitment And Selection 

Having the right person in the right place at the right time is crucial to organisational performance. We are committed to ensuring that all stages of the recruitment process - writing the job profile and person specification, advertising, attracting and managing applications, selecting candidates, making the appointment and inducting the new employee - are conducted fairly and effectively.

Line managers are responsible for recruitment with support from Human Resources. Everyone involved in recruitment and selection has a responsibility to make sure that this policy is followed. 

Selection methods will be reliable, objective and guard against bias. Essential and desirable requirements for roles will be published in the role profile and person specification. The selection process normally consists of a (paper) short list and if successful, applicants are invited to interview. Some positions may require additional assessments (task/test or assessment centre). If this is the case, details will be included in the application pack.

Any test used will have been validated in relation to the job, free of bias and administered and assessed by a suitably competent person. All members of recruitment panels will have received guidance/briefing on recruitment and selection techniques and best practice.

As part of our commitment to customer care, we offer feedback to all unsuccessful interviewed candidates on request.

Equality and Diversity in recruitment

We recognise the positive value of diversity and promotes equality. We aim at all times to recruit the person who is most suited to the job and welcome applications from people of all backgrounds - men and women, people with disabilities, people of all ages, sexual orientations, ethnicities, religions and beliefs.

Selection for employment will be fair and equitable and based solely on the basis of the applicant’s abilities and individual merit assessed against the criteria for the job. We will not discriminate or tolerate discriminatory behaviour on the grounds of race, colour, sex, gender identity, disability, ethnic origin, religion or belief, marital/partnership or family status, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy and maternity, social class, educational background, employment status, working pattern, trade union membership or any other irrelevant factor in any aspect of employment.

Our roles are open to discussion about flexible working, which would include arrangements such as part-time working, formalised flexi time, fixed (non-standard) working hours, working from home and job-sharing subject to business needs.

Monitoring recruitment and selection procedures is one way of helping us to ensure that there is no unfair discrimination in the way that we recruit people. To do this we ask about the diversity profile of people who apply for jobs with us. This information is given in confidence, separate from the application form, and is not seen by any person involved in making selection decisions.

If any candidate feels they have been unfairly discriminated against during the recruitment and selection process, they may contact us to raise such concerns.

Applicants with additional requirements

Reasonable adjustments will be made to the recruitment procedure as required in consultation with you to ensure you are not disadvantaged.

For example: our recruitment documents and forms can be provided in alternative formats, for example, large print, audiotape, Braille or Easy Read and we are happy to receive applications in alternative formats.

We invite candidates to indicate on the application form if they need us to make any reasonable adjustments during the shortlisting process. Only shortlisted candidates are asked if they need us to make reasonable adjustments to interview or assessment arrangements. When an offer of appointment is made, successful candidates will be invited to discuss their requirements for reasonable adjustments to support them to do the job.

Applicants may discuss their requirements for reasonable adjustments at any stage of the recruitment process with the recruiting manager or Human Resources.

Completing the form

We use a competency based process to help us recruit the best person for each job.  This process asks for more than a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and seeks to find out more about your skills. When completing the application form, demonstrate that you have the skills (through your employed, domestic or academic life) that we are looking for in the Person Specification element of the job description: 

  • Address all essential and desirable elements of the person specification with a specific example of competence in that area. Use Headings that reflect the competencies asked for in the person specification to assist the Board members when they are reviewing your application. 

  • It is not enough to provide your Curriculum Vitae (CV).  For certain jobs within the Forestry Commission, you will be specifically asked to provide a CV, but where a CV has not been requested, it will not be considered.

  • Write out the examples for each competency in the person specification.  For example – it is not enough to say ‘I am a real team player’. You need to demonstrate that you have the specific skills we are asking for in the person specification by giving examples of when you used those skills.

  • Keep it simple.  If you can clearly show competence for several indicators in one example, do so.   Do not try to elaborate your examples with flowery speech.

  • Ensure you address all essential elements of the person specification.  Remember the board members considering your application can only make a decision based on the evidence you provide in your application.

  • Don't be afraid to use negative events in your examples.  Showing how you have overcome an issue and learned from it is often a good indicator of how you deal with problems or conflict.  Do balance the negative with more positive examples.

  • Consider using the CAR acronym to outline the examples you use in your application:
    • Context - Describe the task in general terms 
    • Action - What action did YOU take not just what the group accomplished.
    • Result - What results did you achieve/what did you learn from the experience 


The Selection Board will normally consist of two interviewers who will question you on subjects connected with your academic and/or work experience and your job-related achievements and interests based upon your application. The Board’s main aim will be to gain an insight into your ability to communicate, your personal and interpersonal skills, your intellectual and professional ability.

Reserve Candidates

Applicants who are unsuccessful following interview may receive a Reserve Letter. This means that that they may be offered a similar role in another location within the Forestry Commission in the near future.

Pre-Employment Screening

If you are successful, we will carry out pre-employment screening to ensure that you are qualified for the appointment. This will include verification of identity, a written health assessment and a criminal records check. To enable completion it will be necessary to see original copies of documents such as a birth certificate, passport and education certificates. Upon completion of satisfactory checks we will make a formal offer of employment.

Open and Fair Competition 

Our recruitment processes are underpinned by the principle of selection for appointment on merit on the basis of open and fair competition as outlined in the Civil Service Recruitment Principles.

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, you should contact Gail Young ( or care of HR, Silvan House, 231 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 7AT) in the first instance.  If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you can contact the Office of the Civil Service Commission.

Our Missions and Values

Details of our Missions and Values.

Standards of behaviour

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of all civil servants.

Further Information

We aim to offer diverse and satisfying career opportunities. Movement between the different divisions of the FC is encouraged. Commitment is given to ensuring that all staff are trained and developed to meet the needs of their respective roles.

HR management procedures, structures and conditions of service are common to the Forestry Commission as a whole.


Looking for a rewarding and worthwhile career, and feel you have the necessary enthusiasm and skills - see our Current Vacancies



Last updated: 27th October 2015