Job application tips

When you apply for a job with us, we decide who to interview by the information on your application form. It is very important that your form contains all the information we need to be able to make a decision. If you have any difficulties understanding or completing the form, contact us for help and advice.

Application forms

  • Look carefully at the job description and the advertisement. Check that you can carry out the duties described, and explain how in your application. Refer to actual experience, or your potential to learn
  • Look at the essential and desirable criteria for the post. These describe the skills, experience, qualifications and abilities needed to do the job. We use these to shortlist. You must be able to clearly show how you meet any essential requirements. You must explain how you meet the criteria by providing evidence from your previous experience, not just by saying that you can. You might find it useful to organise your information under the headings used in the essential and desirable section, rather than repeating details of your employment history
  • Always fill in the application form. Don't send a CV unless we ask for one
  • Read the application form through carefully before you write anything. It's a good idea to make a draft of what you want to say so that you don't make a mess of the form. If you are filling a paper form in, remember that crossings-out, spelling mistakes and liquid paper do not give a good impression
  • Fill in all sections of the form which apply to you as thoroughly as possible. Remember that skills and experience gained outside work - like organising community activities or involvement in sports - can be valuable examples of skills such as team-working, organisation and communication
  • Write your answers in a concise, well-organised and positive way, and try not to use abbreviations or jargon
  • If you gained your qualification in another country, tell us what level of British qualification it is equivalent to
  • Always ask referees if they are willing to give a reference for you. Make sure that at least one of your referees can comment on your skills at work, home, school or college as well as commenting on your character
  • You must say on your application form that you can meet and carry out any special conditions of service detailed in the job description, for example, a willingness to work on Bank Holidays or to work out-of-hours
  • Read through and check your completed form carefully. Keep a copy of it, and remember to return it by the closing date. Forms that are late are not eligible for consideration


  • Find out as much as you can about the work area and the organisation you've applied to
  • Try to imagine the sorts of questions you might be asked. practice your answers out loud - ask a friend to help
  • An interview is your chance to ask questions too. Write them down so you don't forget them
  • Try not to arrive too late, or too early (10 minutes before is ok)
  • Do a trial run to the interview building to time your journey
  • Wear clothes you are comfortable in, and which you think will make a good impression
  • Expect to be interviewed by more than one person. You might meet other candidates for the same job
  • Be aware of your body language. Try not to fidget. Speak clearly, and make eye contact with the people interviewing you
  • If you're not sure about a question, ask for clarification
  • Interviewers are looking for specific knowledge, skills or experience, so try to give direct answers. Offer evidence where you can, for example, documents, newspaper clippings
  • Try not to waffle. If you don't know the answer to a question, say so. This is better than pretending you know something when you don't
  • Mention everything you feel is relevant, such as voluntary work or hobbies
  • Don't be put off by the interviewers taking notes. They are keeping a record of your interview so that details aren't overlooked
  • The law protects you from discriminatory questions. For example, questions about your domestic responsibilities like child care arrangements can be unfair and unlawful. If you think you have been treated unfairly, contact us for advice. We have a grievance procedure for candidates who feel they have not been considered fairly
  • Remember, the interviewers don't want to catch you out! They just want to find out if you're suitable for the job.