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Preparing for a job interview with us

What to expect at your job interview and how you can prepare for it.

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 during the interview. This helps the interviewers remember what you said and to decide which candidate is the most suitable person for the job.  

Tests and exercises

Sometimes there might be another activity in your interview. Some examples include:

  • an aptitude, typing or psychometric test

  • a workload prioritisation task

  • a group exercises 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. It could be 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.

Interview tips

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. They will help you understand the interview process.

  • Before the interview, read the information in the application pack we sent you. Read your application form again, so you can remember what you wrote. 

  • Read the job description, person specification and job advertisement. If there is anything you don’t understand, you can ask us about it at the interview. 

  • Look on our website to find out more about the Council and the department you are being interviewed for.

  • Think about any current and topical issues affecting that area of work.

Arriving at the interview

  • 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.

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

  • Don’t worry if the interview panel is running a little bit late. We will not rush your interview. 

Performing well in the interview

  • Relax, pay attention and look at the interview panel during the interview. 

  • Focus on what is being said and do not let your mind wander.

  • Speak clearly and answer concisely – 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 if you do this. Don’t try and guess what we said.

  • Answer the question that has been asked. If you don’t understand a question, ask us to rephrase it.

  • Make sure you understand the job fully. Ask about anything you don’t understand.

  • Get any information you need to help you decide if you want the job if you get it.