We used Workable to post ads on free nationwide job boards, then shortlisted candidates and held interviews by Skype or face-to-face. The personal attributes and technical skills we listed were equally important, so we looked for candidates with both.
- An understanding of politicians’ work and the problems they face. During interview we asked applicants what they felt were the biggest challenges facing MPs and we were looking for some thoughts on the communications changes that digital tools and services have created.
- Clarity of expression. Language that was jargon-free, acronym-free, helpful and clear.
- A hands-on approach to change - the ability to set things up quickly, trial, test, evaluate. This was more important than theoretical knowledge, which we found was more common in those with a technical consultancy background.
- An ability to be politically neutral, which would allow them to work with any MP.
- Experience of training or teaching and the ability to influence and persuade.
- Experience of crisis management either online or in a live environment. We asked for an example of a problem, and the solution.
- Platform and software agnostic.
- An excellent and up-to-date working knowledge of the landscape of tools, apps, and software services that may help MPs to better represent their constituents. During interview we asked applicants to come up with one or two products or services that they would test in an MP office environment.
- A basic knowledge of HTML and CSS.
- Experience of agile development and processes.
- Experience with customer support software, community building and/or managing social media accounts.
- The ability to travel between constituencies and Westminster.
We deliberately recruited a diverse group of mentors (geographically, culturally, and politically) to reflect the varied attitudes across the UK. Each mentor was quite different with their specialism - bringing something unique to the project and to the MPs.