Tips for attending a job interview

If you have been shortlisted for interview, you will be contacted within 14 days of the closing date. We have several different offices, so make sure that you are clear about where you are being interviewed.

What will the interview involve?

The length of the interview will depend on the job, but you should be given an indication of how long you will be with us when you are invited for interview.

You will usually be interviewed by a panel of two or three interviewers. One of these will usually be your line manager, if you are appointed. The interviewers will ask you questions which relate to the job and the requirements needed to do the job. Feel free to ask questions about the job at the end of the interview or to staff showing you around. Remember that the interview is your chance to find out as much as possible about working for us and about the job. In this way you will be in a better position to decide whether it is the right job for you.

In addition to an interview, other methods may be used to help us choose the right person for the job. Common methods include work related exercises, maybe using a computer, testing writing or numerical skills, giving a presentation or undertaking a practical task. It all depends on the job, but you will be advised in advance what to expect.

Here are some tips for your interview:

  • before your interview, read through all the job details again because the questions at interview will relate to them
  • have a go at trying to predict some of the questions and practice your answers
  • do some research beforehand if there are gaps in your knowledge - especially so that you understand the job, the role of the section and the role of the council
  • think about any questions that you might want to ask at interview and keep a note of them in case you need to refer to them when you are in the interview
  • arrive a few minutes early so that you have time to compose yourself
  • bring a pen and paper and some notes with you if you want to - the interviewers will not mind if you want to write down part of the question or refer briefly to your notes
  • all applicants are nervous in interviews, and your interviewers will make allowances for that
  • some people may talk too much, and others may talk too quickly - if you identify how you react when nervous, then you will be able to address it on the day
  • at the start of the interview, one of the interviewers on the panel will explain the interview structure to you - if anything is unclear, please ask
  • the interviewers will take it in turns to ask you questions - listen carefully to them and if necessary, pause for a few seconds to make sure that you understand exactly what you are being asked before you start to answer
  • remember that it will not reflect badly on you if you ask for the question to be repeated or explained
  • if you have difficulty in answering a question, then the interviewers will try to prompt you - for example, they may ask, “would you like to say a bit more about ….”
  • don’t assume that the interviewers know everything about you or your work, even if you have written about it on your application form
  • give details and examples of how you meet the person specification and take every opportunity to sell yourself even if this feels rather artificial
  • don’t worry if you get stuck at any point in the interview and can’t think what to say - ask if you can leave the question for the moment, and come back to it later in the interview

Was this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you. You can provide further feedback on this page using our feedback form.