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Jobs and careers

Application guidance

We receive thousands of job applications each year. Your application form is the first impression you’ll make with us, so make it count. This guide will help you to submit a strong application.

If you need help to complete the application form, or need the form in an alternative format please email us:

Applying for a job

Reading the job description

Read the job description carefully. This provides you with information to help your application, as well as the salary, hours and location. Look at any attached documents too – especially the job description and person specification which tell you the detail of the job, plus the skills, experience, knowledge and qualifications you need. Note the deadline and give yourself plenty of time to complete the application form.

Completing the online application form

Start your online application going to the online application form in the job description. We’ve provided guidance on some of the sections of the application form to help you answer the questions in the best way possible. You can save your application at any time and come back to complete it later. 

Personal details

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

This section asks you to provide details of any criminal convictions you may have. Having a criminal conviction doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be offered an interview. It’s important that you honestly answer questions about any conviction, caution, warning, reprimand or bind-over. If you don’t, this is fraud and any job offer may be withdrawn, or in some circumstances you could be dismissed from a job.

Application questions

Supporting information

The supporting information section is the most important section on the form. We use the information you provide here to decide whether or not to invite you for an interview. You may want to prepare your answers in a document before copying and pasting them into this section.

During the shortlisting process, we will assess your skills, experience and knowledge against the essential criteria in the job description. You should clearly and concisely explains how you meet each of the essential criteria. If you don’t, we might easily assume you aren’t right for the job.

Each essential criteria has a code associated with it (such as E1, E2, E3). Address each of these criteria in order. 

When explaining how you meet the essential criteria, we recommend providing examples. Think about relevant skills and experience you’ve gained in a paid job, volunteer role, work experience placement, school, university, or another area of your life. 

For example, if we’re looking for someone who works well in a team, you could say: “I worked on a group project in my previous work experience placement. My role included working with others to develop and deliver the final presentation. Teamwork was crucial to its success.” 


All offers of appointment depend on references. They must cover a minimum employment period of three years and you must provide at least two referees that have had managerial or supervisory responsibility for you. One of them must be your current or most recent employer. If you have not worked before, provide the name of someone who can comment on your ability to do the job for example, a teacher.

Requests for references will normally, but not always, be sought after the interview when a conditional job offer has been made. However, for posts with substantial access to children and/or vulnerable adults, requests for references may be made prior to interview. 

We will specifically ask if disciplinary action has ever been taken against you or was pending, and details of your sickness record. You may ask to see these references, however, some of the information may relate to a third party, e.g. authorship. This type of information cannot be disclosed to you unless:

  • The third party has consented for it to be released 
  • Or your right to know this information and its source outweighs the right of privacy of the third party. 

Obtaining references can often causes long delays. Help us to speed this up by:

  • Including up-to-date contact details for your references, including an email address
  • Contacting your references to check that they are happy to give you a reference

Informing them that we’ll be contacting them

Equal opportunities

This information will be saved and can be used again for future applications. We use this information to make sure adverts and jobs appeal to a wide range of people. It’s never seen by managers that shortlist and interview, only our HR team. 


The council is committed to ensuring that employees who have a disability are given every possible assistance in the workplace and we operate a guaranteed interview scheme for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria. We are committed to providing support to applicants who request reasonable adjustments to be made during the recruitment process and throughout their career with us. 

If you’d like us to make any adjustments for your interview, then please make sure you complete the relevant section of the application form. 

You don’t have to discuss your disability or health condition at interview, but we encourage you to if you might need adjustments making for work. 

Submitting the online application 

  • Make sure you’ve answered all of the mandatory fields. 
  • Double check your application to make sure you haven’t made any accidental spelling mistakes or provided incorrect dates. If possible, ask someone else to proof read it.
  • Make sure the information you have provided is correct. An application form is a legal document, so it’s vital to complete it honestly and accurately. 
  • When you’re happy with your application, submit it before the closing date. We can’t accept applications after the deadline. 

About our selection process

We select applicants based on their experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for the role. The council has a duty to ensure the integrity of the selection process and to follow the correct procedures. Everyone involved in recruitment and selection receives appropriate training. Wherever possible, interview panels are a diverse mix of genders, ethnicities, ages and where appropriate, may include a representative service user. Applying these principles in practice means that: 

  • All appointments are above suspicion of patronage
  • Selection is fair, transparent and objective
  • Those appointed have the necessary experience, knowledge, skills and abilities.

Good luck!

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Data protection: We will handle your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with the council’s Fair Processing Notice.