I just needed to have another go at applying

31st August 2017


I was really disappointed when I got the email saying I hadn’t made it through the assessment centre for the Frontline programme. I was totally committed in my desire to become a fantastic social worker. I knew I wanted to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable children, and I genuinely believed that I had what it takes. So the email was a bit of a knockback to say the least.

I didn’t even consider reapplying at first; I figured if they don’t want me, they don’t want me. I stayed on with my job in a local community working with children and families, putting the future on the back burner.

Later in the year I took a trip to London to do some work and met up with a wise and intelligent old friend who asked me if I was going to reapply. I told him I wasn’t – something along the lines of “I wasn’t good enough” or “they didn’t want me”. In his wonderful way he refuted my ridiculousness hastily.

His message was this: it isn’t personal. I knew that, but it took him to tell me straight. They didn’t know me and I didn’t know them, all I knew is that I didn’t perform well enough on the day. But I genuinely did believe I was good enough for the Frontline programme and I still really wanted to be on the forefront of working with children and families. I just needed to have another go at applying.

The second barrier to reapplying was how lengthy and rigorous the whole process is, from the first step of the application all the way through the tests, video interview and assessment centre. Could I really put myself through all that again? To be perfectly honest I sailed through it from beginning to end. My initial application to the Frontline programme was the first time I had been involved in any kind of recruitment process like this. It amazed me how much simply knowing what was coming put me in such a stronger position, and I was a lot more relaxed when going through the process.

When I finally got to the assessment centre I knew where it was, the space was familiar, I knew what each step was like throughout the day and what they wanted from me. My feedback from the previous year had been very helpful with that. It just felt much more natural and straightforward. I only realised once I’d completed my second assessment centre how comparatively badly I had done on my first! Honestly, so much of it is down to technique and experience.

The year in between applications definitely helped, during which I spent much more time getting experience with children and families and thinking about social work and why I wanted to join the profession. A combination of that, and the experience of having been through the assessment centre before, enabled me to put forward a much more natural version of myself.

So if you haven’t been successful at first, but you still want to be a social worker and make a difference in children’s lives, then I would definitely recommend that you have another go at applying to the Frontline programme.