User Researcher


Bristol or London.


About the job


We in the Recruitment Digital Services are looking for an experienced user researcher to join our teams based in Bristol or London. This is an exciting opportunity to join an Agile multidisciplinary service team and help us deliver a great experience to everyone applying for a job in the Civil Service.

We design, develop and run cross-government digital services for recruitment used by over 165 organisations. We’re working on a range of products focussed on improving the experience of recruitment for candidates, vacancy holders and recruiters. It’s an important service with many different components and more than 3 million users visiting our products each month, over 1 million job applications submitted each year for around 100,000 posts. Your role will be to make sure the services we deliver meet user needs, support all our users equally and give candidates a positive introduction to the Civil Service.

You will be embedded in a variety of products - the first is our Public Beta Online Tests and Assessments service which is transforming how the Civil Service uses online tests. Our users span four groups: applicants, hiring managers, recruiters and test creators, each of which has complex needs to be met.

Job description

The Online Tests and Assessments (OTAP) service currently offers online psychometric tests. The Public Beta service launched in 2019 with new online tests developed internally on a software as a service platform, by digital specialists, psychologists and subject matter experts, designed to reflect the needs and culture of the Civil Service. The tests have been very successful with around 750,000 tests completed a year. They are an excellent recruitment tool which helps recruiters and candidates go through a fair and efficient recruitment process. By combining digital and psychometrician specialisms we’re developing tests that far exceed previous standards for accuracy, usability and inclusivity.

In 2021 the service will launch two more skills based assessments, for Customer Service and Caseworker skills. The service also has an ambitious programme of discoveries to explore how we can improve Civil Service recruitment further, for example around virtual assessment centres, developing further tests or linking with other services like talent management. The User Researcher will have a leading role in both improving the existing service but also guiding these new discoveries. As a User Researcher you will join a multidisciplinary Agile team combining digital experts and occupational psychologists/psychometricians, and you will have a chance to showcase your skills as well as learn new ones. Alongside tests you’ll also be involved in the end-to-end Civil Service recruitment journey and be part of the wider team that delivers CS Jobs, which supports the whole Civil Service.

We are part of Government Business Services (GBS) and work closely with colleagues in Civil Service HR, policy and operational delivery. As part of the wider Digital, Data and Technology profession, you will join the user research community, offering an opportunity to develop your skills and share your experiences with colleagues across the Civil Service.

GBS is part of the Cabinet Office, which is vast and therefore presents opportunities to develop your skills and experience in a variety of critical government agendas. An organisation of approximately 7,000 employees, the Cabinet Office is a vibrant, modern and exciting place to work, attracting a diverse workforce which represents the people we serve. Our core values are Respect, Collaborate and Trust, and we have an aspiration to become the most inclusive employer across the Civil Service.

The role involves:

- working as part of a multidisciplinary agile digital team, leading on planning, advising and carrying out user research activities, to deliver insights that drive real improvements to service users

- devising well thought out research strategies using analytical and problem-solving skills to understand the business problem

- planning and designing user research sessions, testing both high-level concepts and specific aspects of the service as it is designed and built

- conducting research with a diverse range of participants which captures the breadth of our users and championing their needs to make sure we deliver services that are accessible and inclusive

- conducting user research sessions using a variety of techniques including pop-up testing, moderated usability sessions, contextual research and interviewing. These will be delivered at pace, within 2-weekly sprint cycles

- taking responsibility for the delivery of end to end user research tasks including user recruitment briefs, test moderations, analysis and report writing

- working with the Product Manager, Delivery Manager and other team members to build a user research iterative roadmap that will ensure continuous service improvement

- working with the Head of User Experience to ensure the end-to-end recruitment journey meets user needs including the individual products you support

- working with designers, developers and other functions to lead on producing wireframes, prototypes and other tools that will facilitate usability sessions

- leading on the creation and implementation of continuous user feedback loops e.g. surveys, web feedback tools, customer/user satisfaction measurements; leading on monitoring, analysing and making recommendations based on qualitative and quantitative data

- explaining user needs to colleagues, and act as a persuasive advocate for those needs both within the team and the wider department

- working with senior stakeholders, product owners and delivery managers to help inform the service vision and priorities, across the Department’s different functions

- working with web analytics and other insight colleagues to integrate customer data and research findings

- presenting research findings in compelling and innovative ways, making both business and design recommendations based on the sound analysis which persuade teams to take action based on research findings


The User Researcher is an essential (Digital, Data and Technology) DDaT specialist role to ensure our current service provision meets users’ needs, by leading on extensive research on how users and customers interact with the service. This enables our team to continuously gather feedback when creating and improving the service according to Government Digital Standards. Apart from iterating on our existing service, the User Researcher is a key requisite to implement our next discovery phases, which involve extensive customer and user research engagement, and need to be led by an experienced User Researcher who can guide the team, apply the appropriate methodology, conduct analysis and make data-driven recommendations for service creation and improvement.

- Experience of conducting user testing and the research process, including drafting discussion guides; recruiting respondents; organising test venues and mobilising resources; carrying out guerrilla/pop-up testing; interviewing; and moderating focus groups and usability (lab) test sessions

- Demonstrable knowledge, experience in and passion for user centered design practices for web, service or software development

- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, with the ability to see the bigger picture and translate business issues and user needs into relevant, actionable research plans and objectives

- Proven experience of understanding user needs for web content, tools and transactional services, especially those with the most complex user journeys

- Proven experience of designing, facilitating and analysing a wide range of qualitative and quantitative user research methods

- Strong understanding of strengths and limitations of different research methods

- Proven experience introducing and establishing user research practices in an organisation

- Excellent communications skills and the ability to present research findings in a creative and compelling way, tailored to the needs of the audience

- An ability to quickly deliver, with a commitment to agile and continuous iterative development, and the ability to work both independently or as part of a team

- Knowledge or familiarity with digital tools to prototype or wireframe, to support user research

- Proven experience of working in an agile development environment with designers and developers and product managers to create new digital products and services

- Knowledge and understanding of GOV.UK digital service standards and what this means for government services

No formal qualification is required for this sole, however we encourage applicants who will have either:

- Degree in HCI/Usability/Cognitive Psychology/Market Research or related field

- Degree in another discipline, with a strong emphasis on Research Methodology

- Professional experience and training to demonstrate solid knowledge of user research methods, digital delivery and human-computer interaction


- 25 days annual leave on entry, increasing on a sliding scale to 30 days after 5 years’ service. This is in addition to 8 public holidays.

- This will be complimented by one further day paid privilege entitlement to mark the Queen’s Birthday; a competitive contributory
pension scheme that you can enter as soon as you join where we will make a significant contribution to the cost of your pension;
where your contributions come out of your salary before any tax is taken; and where your pension will continue to provide valuable
benefits for you and your family if you are too ill to continue to work or die before you retire;

- Generous paid maternity and paternity leave which is notably more than the statutory minimum offered by many other employers;

- Childcare benefits (policy for new employees as of 5 April 2018): The government has introduced the Tax - Free Childcare (TFC)
scheme. Working parents can open an online childcare account and for every £8 they pay in, the government adds £2, up to a
maximum of £2000 a year for each child or £4000 for a disabled child. Parents then use the funds to pay for registered childcare.
Existing employees may be able to continue to claim childcare vouchers, so please check how the policy would work for you here;

- Interest-free loans allowing you to spread the cost of an annual travel season ticket or a new bicycle;

- The opportunity to use onsite facilities including fitness centres and staff canteens (where applicable); and occupational sick pay.

Apply now!