Getting Selected is a tough and demanding process.
Getting Selected is tough – but first you have to decide whether you really want to go through with this. You have to decide whether you are seriously ready to turn your life on its head.
Then you contact the Candidates department at CCHQ who in turn arrange for you to meet someone in person who assesses your level of insanity.
That is the easy bit. Then, suitably certified, you apply to go on the parliamentary assessment board – the PAB. This can be incredibly tough and consists of an interview, a speech, two essays, an in-tray exercise and a group exercise.
CCHQ have an unusual marking process for the PAB and there is (allegedly) no appeal process. They have got the judging criteria spot on, though, so you have to demonstrate that you possess them all.
Opinions vary as to how good the PAB process is and, like anyone, I have my thoughts on the process. But it is what it is and CCHQ isn’t going to change it anytime soon, so consider it as hoops that need to be jumped through. Being an MP is tough and has many challenges, but at least as an MP you have real people and real situations to deal with.
Getting past the PAB and being able to apply for real seats is a huge breakthrough. The stakes are now higher and, depending on the seat, you are now within spitting distance of becoming a Parliamentary Candidate and even an MP.
Now you have to wait until CCHQ releases the next tranche of seats which you need to assess in terms of winnability, doability and whether you have any affinity for the seat. Then the next stage of your journey to getting selected starts.
Then you have to summarize all your life’s details in an attractive and compelling way and set them out in a 2 page formatted Word document CV. This CV is incredibly annoying and time consuming to work with as the formatting keeps moving around like a sulky, scowling, arm-folded kid having a strop. But you HAVE to get this bit right as the ‘paper sift’ is often the most brutal stage and is aimed at excluding rather than including.
Then CCHQ and the association officers meet in London where your CV will be coldly assesses and eyebrows will be raised and discreet nods will be nodded, in ways eerily reminiscent of Sir Humphrey.
Get past this stage and you are nearly in the Getting Selected game. All you have to do now is pass two selection interviews consisting of a 5 minute “Select Me – I am Wonderful” speech and 20 minutes of questions – one in front of the Association Executive and one in front of the full membership.
Then you are a Parliamentary Candidate. All you have to do now is get elected. Easy huh?
This can be a long and emotional roller-coaster of a journey that can take a huge amount of time and money. It also can impose a significant amount of pressure on your partner, family and personal relationships. But if you are doing it for the right reasons, you will manage it. If you want to know more about my Getting Selected and Getting Elected courses please email on firstname.lastname@example.org. (You will have to prove to me that you are genuine here btw!) Feel free to have a look at my track record here.
Here is what one of my clients wrote to me today – he has just been selected for his home patch of Sutton and Cheam.
Thank you again for your help in getting me through the Parliamentary Assessment Board and getting selected for a seat first time of asking.
So many potential candidates have to tear around the country repeating that process before perhaps securing a winnable seat. I know that I would not have done anywhere near so well if it wasn’t for you.
Years ago I was told that like when taking medication, it was better to respond than to react. Building up an armoury of stories and responses helped me do just that, responding in a way that allowed me to answer the unasked questions as well rather than simply batting back the original question.
The key lesson for me was to have succinct responses that go beyond simple platitudes.
The simple question “Why do you want to be an MP?” has started a process across my borough of ensuring that our local council candidates each have a positive vision to share rather than simply to beat the other guy. The former leads to the latter but follows a different, more productive path.
You certainly put me through my paces but by the time of the interviews I felt ready for pretty much anything. …. I look forward to seeing you soon. Paul— Paul Scully. Conservative PPC Sutton and Cheam