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What to expect at your job interview with us, how you can prepare for it, and what happens afterwards.

What happens at your interview

  • the interview will usually last 30–45 minutes, although this depends on the type of job you are applying for

  • there will usually be a panel of two or three people at your interview to help make sure the process is fair 

  • the questions they will ask you will be about the requirements in the person specification

  • all the interviewers will take notes, so they can remember what you said and decide which candidate's most suitable for the job

Tests and exercises

Sometimes there might be another activity in your interview, for example:

  • an aptitude, typing or psychometric test

  • prioritising a workload

  • a group exercise to see how you work as part of a team

We will tell you in advance if we want you to do a test as part of your interview.

What we will ask you

  • we will only ask you questions related to the job you are applying for

  • we will ask all candidates the same questions to find out who is the most suitable person for the job

  • we will not ask questions about your private life or personal circumstances which do not affect your ability to do the job

  • we will ask you questions about what you wrote on your application form - this could be for clarification, or to get more information, for example to find out more about your employment history, or to see if your references are relevant

We want to hear your positive points. You should tell about the skills, knowledge and experience you have that makes you the best candidate for the job.

What to ask us

At the end of the interview, we will ask you if you have any questions. You might want to ask us about:

  • the role

  • what we are looking for in the candidate

  • challenges the Council or service is currently facing

  • training and development opportunities

You can write down questions in advance and bring them to the interview.


How to prepare

  • you may have interview experience from school, college or previous jobs - if not, you can often book practice interviews with careers advisers to help you understand the interview process

  • read the information in the application pack we sent you

  • read your application form again, to remind yourself what you wrote

  • read the job description, person specification and job advertisement - if there's anything you don’t understand, ask us about it at the interview  

  • look on our website to find out more about us and what we do, and more about the department you're applying to work for

  • think about any current or topical issues affecting that area of work


  • make sure you know where the interview is happening

  • work out how to get to the interview and find out how long the journey is

  • give yourself enough time to get there

  • try to arrive at least 10 minutes early to will give you a chance to relax and get ready

  • don’t worry if the interview panel is running a little bit late - we won't rush your interview

Doing well

  • relax, pay attention and look at the interviewers during the interview 

  • focus on what they're saying and don't let your mind wander

  • speak clearly and give concise answers - try not to ‘waffle’

  • listen to the questions carefully

  • if you don’t hear the question or can’t remember it, ask us to repeat it - we won’t mind; it's better than trying to guess what we said

  • answer the question that's been asked - if you don’t understand the question, ask us to rephrase it

  • make sure you understand the job fully - ask about anything you don’t understand

  • ask for the information you need to help you decide whether you want the job if we offer it to you

After your interview

How we decide

After the interviews, we will:

  • look through our notes from the interview

  • look at your test results

  • offer the job to the candidate who best meets the person specification

Hearing back from us

We will call you to let you know if you got the job. This is usually on the same day, or shortly after your interview. 

If you get the job

If you get the job, we will send you confirmation of the offer within a week. 

We might need to get certain clearances first, such as:

  • references

  • occupational health

  • eligibility to work in the UK

  • a DBS check if the job involves working with children or vulnerable adults

  • proof of your qualifications

You should not hand in your notice at your current job until we tell you we've got all the necessary clearances.

Fair recruitment

  • we try to make sure our recruitment process is fair, properly carried out and that people aren’t discriminated against

  • if you have an interview and don’t get the job, you can contact us to find out why

  • if you have worked for us before and had to retire early because you were ill or you were made redundant, we usually can’t hire you again for two years after your end date

  • we offer our employees a range of benefits, whether you are temporary or permanent


Lewisham Council recruitment (excluding schools)