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Local government interview - any tips
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Getmehome · 27/06/2020 08:46

Been shortlisted for a first stage panel interview for a relatively senior position in a local authority. It’s been years since I’ve done a formal interview and I REALLY want this job so I’m more than a bit nervous.

Any tips or ideas on what to expect? What form do the questions take? As in, are they “tell me about a time when you...” or are they a bit more abstract?

If anyone wants to throw me a few sample questions to help me prepare, that would be marvellous too. Thanks in advance.

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Getmehome · 27/06/2020 18:13

Hopeful bump!

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WineIsMyCarb · 27/06/2020 18:17

Don't know about local govt but I just interviewed for 2 civil service interviews and was offered both jobs. This is after 4+ years of applications, rejections, interviews etc.

You need to play 'buzzword / bullshit bingo". Pick all the keywords out of the job description (stakeholder engagement, budget management, cross-departmental, team working) etc and make sure all your answers contain at least two or three of those. Be smiley and enthusiastic and if you're stuck for an answer, make up the perfect one and give that.

Good luck!

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teacuptale · 27/06/2020 18:19

In my experience, they may well ask you competency based questions. “Tell me about an occasion when you worked with others to achieve a goal” - that sort of thing. I’d look carefully at your job description and try to prepare a bit from that. As it’s a senior position I’d also be tempted to have some knowledge of the financial pressures on local authorities. I would also read up on the Council’s ‘goals’ or however they put it. Good luck.

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ToLiveInPeace · 27/06/2020 18:25

I've done a lot of recruitment across two local authorities and for both, the person spec is more important than the JD, as we match all interview questions to those criteria. This includes always asking an equal opps question - a lot of candidates don't know the protected characteristics, so it's worth looking those up.

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ToLiveInPeace · 27/06/2020 18:26

Also agree with understanding financial position of the council, inc recognising extra pressures due to pandemic

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BikeRunSki · 27/06/2020 18:38

What’s the field? If it’s anything vaguely related to environmental impact, I’d brush up on the UNESCO sustainable development goals. They are the buzzword in the Quango I work for and all the LAs I engage with. Envision 2030. I doubt that there would be a W specifically about them, but a nod to them in yiur interview tk show that you are aware would not hurt.

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Splitsunrise · 27/06/2020 18:39

Depends a lot what the kind of role is and which department?

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ProfMcGonigle · 27/06/2020 18:52

Have they shared a list of competencies you'll be marked on?

If so, prep an answer for each with a couple of different examples you can slot in, depending on the question.

If they haven't provided competencies, call the recruitment dept and ask if it'll be a competency based interview and what the competencies are.

They'll be along the lines of team working, problem solving, communication, leadership, management, etc.

Base your answers on STAR - a quick google will help if you're not familiar.

Good luck

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BikeRunSki · 27/06/2020 19:31

local government competencies this document may help, particularly if you know what the competencies are. Different local authorities may interpret slightly differently, but trying googling “local government competencies Anytown”, obvs where Anytiwn is the name of the local authority.

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MagdaS · 27/06/2020 19:43

I am both senior at a LA and have interviewed for senior staff.

Read their website, find their corporate plan, look at their Twitter account, see what they’re doing. One of my favourite questions is ‘this is a project we’re looking at starting, how do you think we should go about it’. Forewarned is forearmed.

Covid has junked LA budgets so be prepared for a question about doing more with less.

Have lots of examples of when you have done things which match or can be aligned to the job spec.

Mine are keen on soft skills - what your leadership style is, that kind of thing. But also technical knowledge about your area.

When I got my job in preparation I wrote down every skill I had and how I demonstrated it.

If you know someone who works there already, ring them up and mine them for information. Then buy them a pint if you get the job.

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Iggly · 27/06/2020 19:46

What area of the council?

Do your research. My interviews fed back that they liked the fact I’d been able to reference things I had picked up from reading relevant literature (eg cabinet reports etc).

Make sure you have competency based examples. Use the job description to sketch out the key areas.

Prepare some questions to ask.

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Getmehome · 27/06/2020 21:12

Amazing stuff, thank you very much. The role is broadly operational leadership.

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