So, you want to become a Conservative MP?

The list of Approved Conservative Candidates is being refreshed, with all those previously on the list being asked to complete a new application and attend a ‘Re-list Assessment Centre’, if they still want to pursue a Parliamentary career.

CCHQ has developed a distinct and new approach from the old Parliamentary Assessment Board – commonly known as the PAB. This is the first time in many years that the assessment has had a major overhaul, and indications are this has brought in much more rigorous HR assessment tools to help identify the right people to be MPs. Just having passed the old PAB may not be sufficient preparation for this new process.

The old PAB contained a mixture of group and individual exercises, an interview and public speaking exercise, all designed to see if you had what it takes to be an MP. There are no formal qualifications for the role, so the assessment was based on how well a panel of senior Party staff and activists felt you fit their view of what makes a good MP. Not all these have been carried over

Five College Green Group clients were elected as MPs in the 2019 General Election and we have revamped our candidate support package to reflect the new approach to approving candidates.

The new assessment has four elements: an elevator pitch based on your recent campaigning experience, a competency-based interview, a situational judgement test and developmental psychometrics. 

  • The elevator pitch is a classic test of your ability to get a point across in a very short time period. We can help you both define the key element of your experience that you should focus on and make sure your delivery works to leave the right impression on the assessor.
  • The key competencies of an MP, against which you will be assessed, are likely to be similar to those used previously; leadership and motivation, resilience and drive, relating to people, conviction to Conservative values and, throughout the interview, communication skills. Our personal review process can draw out of you the important events and experiences that you can use in that hour-long interview to show you have the qualities needed to be an MP. 
  • Situational judgement tests are used by a lot of recruitment professionals to drill down into the way candidates make decisions and how well they perform under pressure. We understand this is a timed test, with a series of political scenarios presented to you requiring you to make rapid decisions on how you would approach them. 
  • And finally, developmental psychometrics are a completely new feature of the assessment process. The Hogan Assessment Series is the gold standard here and their Personality Inventory, Development Survey and Motive/Values/Preferences Inventory tests would seem to be the most relevant to the approval process. 

If you want to be a Conservative MP, passing the assessment is the first step on that road. If you wish to embark on a life in public office, you will need to have a public service ethos, be capable of supporting your constituents and the government, and of being a minister in government. 

John Moss is a Councillor in Waltham Forest and works as a Campaign Manager at College Green Group. The College Green Group team also includes people who have been senior volunteers, candidates and campaign managers for multiple elections. Our approach is to work alongside you to equip and enable you to maximise your ability to be successful in both the assessment process and at every other step along your journey to Westminster.

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