Interview Tips

You've applied and we’ve offered you an interview. We can’t give you all the answers, but here’s what you can do to make the best of your opportunity.

Prepare, prepare, prepare!
Do some research about the Council. It will help you tailor your responses to interview questions. Our website is a great source of information on our vision and priorities.

Review all the criteria for the role and think of the best examples of how you meet these. Practice your responses. If you can, ask a friend to interview you. Re-read your job application. Prepare a few questions for the panel too, an interview is a two-way process.

Be early – 15 to 20 minutes is a good – it shows us you’re organised and you get a chance to relax and mentally prepare.

Plan your journey. If you are not sure where the office is, find out before the interview day. Ensure you know where to park, or how to reach the interview with public transport.          

What to expect during the interview
Interview panels are made up of at least two people who ask each candidate the same set of questions. In addition you will be asked specific questions which relate to areas unique to you e.g. previous work history.

All interviewers will take notes throughout the interview. The notes will enable the interviewers to recall which candidate said what, and determine the best candidate for the job. It also provides a method of recording the interviewer’s decision in a clear and consistent way.

In addition, the Council conducts tests and written exercises in appropriate circumstances and you may therefore also be asked to undertake such exercises as part of the selection process for this vacancy. If this is the case, you will usually be notified in the interview letter.

Be ready for competency based interviews. 
There are many types of interviews and assessments. One that you are likely to come up against is the competency-based interview.

The competency based interview is not there to trick you but to help the interviewer understand if you have the skills they need and also allows them to assess how you would react in a given situation.

When answering a competency-based question, keep in mind that an interviewer is looking for a beginning, a middle and an end in the answer. It should tell a story without giving too much information and without saying too little.

The STAR Technique allows you to structure a scenario-based question into four sub-headings, ensuring you tell a story with every answer. These are: 






  • Situation: Brief explanation of the situation
  • Task: What were you tasked to do?
  • Action: What action did you take to ensure that this was achieved?
  • Result: What was the result?


What to do on the day
Leave plenty of time to get to your destination.

Check the instructions from your interview invitation and make sure you have any documents (ID/qualifications) with you that are required.

Try your best to relax and enjoy the experience. And with the preparation taken care of, there should be nothing left to worry about.

What to do if you're not successful
If you are not successful try not to be too disappointed. Attending interviews is great experience and good practice.

Always make sure you ask for feedback to try and improve your interview technique for future job opportunities.

Good luck!