Additional Guidance for Candidates



At the Council we focus on our customers, so your recruitment and selection experience is important to us.

In this section you will find some useful information about how you may expect to be assessed as part of our recruitment and selection process and how to get the most out of it.

An understanding of various approaches will not only help you to be better prepared, but also to be more relaxed and confident. Our selection process will also allow you to gain a realistic understanding of the nature of our work. Remember that selection is a two way process in which both YOU and Epping Forest make a choice - and the choice has to be right for both of us.


Understanding our selection process 

Here at Epping Forest, our aim is to select people who can fit with the requirements of the job. We consider behaviours/attitudes; skills and experience that demonstrate successful job performance.

To measure these, we use interviews, tests and other relevant assessment tools. However, some selection methods are better at measuring particular things. For example, an application form gathers information on your qualifications and work experience, but it wouldn’t be the ideal method to use to demonstrate how you might communicate with customers. A role-play exercise or even a structured interview is much more appropriate.

Depending on the role, our selection process may involve several stages. Every stage of the process is designed to clearly assess your suitability for the job, which you are applying for. There may be a number of different assessments to complete. However, it’s your overall performance which is important.

In the next pages, you fill find the different types of assessment you may come across when applying for a job in Epping Forest. Where many selection and assessment methods are used together, this can be referred to as an ‘Assessment Centre.’

You will be informed about the types of assessment to expect prior to the assessment day.

 About the Epping Forest Interview 

Your interview will usually be structured with questions that relate directly to the requirements for the role. Most of our interviews are based on the premise that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour, where we can seek to obtain information about your past behaviour in certain situations.

Depending on the role, Epping Forest interviews should take no longer than 30-45 minutes. Two or three panel members will usually interview you. They most likely will consist of service line managers or experienced team members. All panel members are fully trained in conducting fair recruitment and selection.


What will the interviewers are looking for? 

The interviewers will be looking for specific examples about exactly what you did in such situations, not what the team's role as a whole was, or what you would do in a hypothetical situation.

The key is to remember to be honest and to use relevant examples, which can be taken from any aspect of your life. For example: your work, your family or home responsibilities, your leisure activities or voluntary work. Recent work examples tend to be the strongest indicator of your abilities, so we would recommend that you use these if possible. You may be asked to discuss your example(s) in some detail.

The interviewers may follow with some probing questions, possibly clarifying a particular area. They will be interested in the outcome of the situation, and perhaps whether there was anything you learned from the experience.

Most interview questions are likely to start with “Please give me an example when…” “Please describe an occasion”… or “Tell us about a situation… “.

For example:

"Tell me about a time when you had to work together in a group or a team"

·         What did you do to keep a good relationship?

·         What problems or difficulties did you face?

·         How did you overcome these?

·         What was the result?

·         What did you learn?

The interviewers may also want to ask you questions about the information you have provided in your application form.



A good way to prepare for the interview practice is to think of past situations and your responsibilities regarding tasks, actions and results. To make it easier to remember use the acronym STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result)

A useful guide might be S.T.A.R.

S – Situation or – give a specific example

T – Task - briefly describe the task/objective etc.

A – Actions - tell us what action you took

R – Results - describe what results were achieved.


Work Sample Tests 

These types of tests vary as they are specifically designed to measure a particular task. For example, some administrative jobs may require you to complete a Microsoft Word/Excel computer test, or an in-tray exercise where you have to respond to memos, emails and letters.

Other work sample tests could include written analysis exercise and a presentation, where you have to interpret information and then write a report or present back to a panel. More detail about these types of tests is given prior to the assessment day.


Ability / Aptitude Tests 

Ability / Aptitude tests look at the extent to which you are able to carry out various aspects of a job; for example, your verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning abilities. These tests are not tests of general knowledge. They are administered in exam conditions and are strictly timed. The questions have definite “right” and “wrong” answers, which you often have to select from a range of alternatives.


Work styles / personality questionnaires 

How successful you will be in a job depends not only on your abilities/skills, but also on your personal qualities or behavioural preferences.

Interviews and role play exercises can be used to assess a number of interpersonal skills, but work style questionnaires can further explore the way you tend to react to, or how you deal with different situations.

These tests are usually administered online and a profile is drawn up from your responses to a number of questions or statements. There are no rights or wrongs in behavioural style, although some behaviour may be more or less appropriate to certain job related situations.

The best way to approach these questionnaires is to answer the questions as honestly as possible. Try not to respond in a way you think others would like to see you.


Interactive exercises 

These exercises are designed to simulate a particular skill/scenario needed for the job.

Role-play exercises replicate the kind of activities you might be doing in the job and provide us the opportunity to observe your ability to interact with another person.

For example, a typical scenario could be where you meet with a customer or staff member to tackle an issue and provide a solution.

On the other hand, group exercises requires, you to work together with other candidates to make decisions about work-related situations or scenarios.


Hints and tips 

We understand applying for jobs and going through any recruitment and selection process can be daunting, but there are several actions you can take to give yourself the best chance of success.

We need to assess you against the job requirements but remember that you need to make a choice here too – take the opportunity to ask questions and be sure that if you are offered a role in Epping Forest, it is the kind of place you want to work.

Take a look at these hints and tips for the recruitment process and good luck!


·         Spend some time thinking about whether the job is really suitable for you.

·         Read through your application form and the relevant job documentation again. You may want to research the subject area or service you are applying for. The Council's website has lots of useful information and links.

·         Assess yourself against the job requirements.

·         For the interview, try to anticipate what questions may be asked. The interviewers will usually ask questions related to the requirements of the job.

·         Have extra examples prepared. Consider the job you are applying for and think about the issues and responsibilities that might be related to that job. Practice some interviewing with your colleagues, friends or even family members.

·         Make sure all practical arrangements are clear so that you do not arrive feeling flustered or unprepared.

·         Make sure you bring with you anything you might need during the assessment, such as reading glasses.

If you have any special requirements or if you are still unsure about the selection process and need further clarification, Please contact in advance to discuss the best ways to meet your needs.



When using examples in the interview, ask:

 ·         What did I do?

 ·         What was my role?

 ·         How did I do it?

 ·         Were there any potential barriers or pitfalls?

 ·         What was the outcome?

 ·         Is there anything I would have done differently?

 ·         What did I learn?

You may not be asked these particular questions during interview, but they will prepare you for possible questions and encourage you to think about these areas.

Listen carefully to the questions asked or test instructions, and if you are unsure about anything, don’t be afraid to ask.

Don’t make assumptions about the way you should respond. If you try and guess what the selection panel is looking for, you may be wrong. It is usually best to be yourself, and respond honestly. Remember that it’s not in your interest to get a job to which you are not well suited.



Regardless of whether or not you have been successful in the recruitment process, you will be able to request feedback on your assessment performance. This may give you a clearer insight into your strengths and areas of improvement as well as your future development areas.

There are many ways in which you can improve your performance; however it is your responsibility to find out more about these ways so that next time when you apply for a job at the Council or else where, you will be in a better position to demonstrate your skills and behaviours.


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Telephone: 01992564291

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