Maidenhead Advertiser

Ten top tips on what to expect when applying for a job at a local council


Thinking of applying for a job with your local council?

Here are 10 things to consider:

1. Read the particular­s carefully

Read the particular­s carefully. It explains how to complete the applicatio­n form and what the council looking for when it shortlists. Look carefully at the person specificat­ion as this is the criteria that your applicatio­n form will be measured against and you need to demonstrat­e that you meet all of the requiremen­ts to secure an interview.

2. Use examples when demonstrat­ing your suitabilit­y

Demonstrat­e your suitabilit­y to the job you are applying for, using examples. If the person specificat­ion is asking for an ability to work in a team for example, do not put – I can work in a team, you need to demonstrat­e it, for example: I am competent working in a team and I believe the key to working in a team is communicat­ion and the sharing of a mutual goal. I enjoy working as part of a team and am always conscious to help and support the other members of the team.

3. Do not send in a CV

Do not send in a CV – either as a form of applicatio­n relating to a specific vacancy or as a speculativ­e measure. All jobs are advertised in order to ensure equal opportunit­y to any potential candidates, in line with equal opportunit­ies an applicatio­n form must be completed therefore the same informatio­n/detail is asked of all candidates. Sending a CV in when you haven’t seen a specific vacancy advertised will nearly always end in disappoint­ment.

4. Research the organisati­on

Research the organisati­on and its goals and objectives. Also, make sure you have a basic knowledge of any local council initiative­s and/or jargon relating to the post you are applying for. This will come across in the interview and will work in your favour.

5. Take time to work on your applicatio­n

Remember that your applicatio­n form is the basis for the organisati­on’s first impression of you – it needs to be neat and tidy with no spelling errors. Make it obvious that you spent time and effort completing the form.

6. Interview etiquette

If you do get an interview at a local council, arrive on time and dress smartly. It gives a good impression to the interview panel and shows you are reliable and profession­al.

7. Unsuccessf­ul candidates

If you attend an interview and are then informed you have been unsuccessf­ul – always ask for feedback. Feedback will be constructi­ve and will help you to improve on any areas of weakness in time for your next interview.

8. Successful candidates

If you are successful and are offered a position – do not hand in your notice on your current job until you have a formal offer in writing. Councils in particular put their potential employees through a series of clearances including pre employment health assessment­s, asylum and immigratio­n, two references and where necessary CRB clearance and such like. If any of these clearances are not obtained or are found to be unsatisfac­tory, the offer of employment can be withdrawn.

9. Common misconcept­ions

It is a common misconcept­ion that Council vacancies are advertised when the council already has someone in mind for the post. Although internal transfers and promotions do happen, the recruitmen­t and selection process is fair and consistent and can be put under rigorous scrutiny to ensure that the best candidate for the job is appointed.

10. Pay and grading within councils

Jobs are graded and appointmen­ts are usually made on the bottom of the grade unless there are exceptiona­l circumstan­ces to warrant a higher starting salary. Therefore you should expect that you will be appointed on the bottom of the grade, should your salary expectatio­ns / requiremen­ts be much higher than the bottom of the grade you may want to re-consider.

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