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Our recruitment process

Making your application

Please view our information on The Application Process page.


We base our selection process on each individual’s own merits and abilities. We compare the information in your application against the criteria on the Role Profile. We will contact you using the email address that you have used to create your account.

We have committed to upholding the Disability Confident standard. You can read more about this on our The Application Process page.


Interviews maybe held face to face or via Microsoft Teams.

Panel Interview

This is a structured interview, conducted by at least two people. Questioning is relevant to the role and will consist of competency-based questions. You should specify examples of work you have undertaken, or situations you have experienced. Further information and suggestions for how to prepare for your interview are below.


Along with a panel interview, there may be an assessment to assess your suitability for the role. This could be a presentation, a test, role play, for example. Below are details of the different assessments that we may use. Further details will be available where appropriate.


The presentation subject is sometimes provided in advance and asked to deliver it on the day. Or you may be advised of the topic on the day and given time to prepare for it in advance of presenting it to the panel.

Occupational Personality Questionnaire

We sometimes use personality questionnaires in our selection process because they provide us with objective information on your preferred and typical ways of behaving, which is relevant to successful performance in aspects of the job. The questionnaire is completed online and will take no more than 45 minutes. You will be asked to select which statement is most and least like you. There is no right or wrong answers. It is concerned with personality style and not abilities. You will be given instructions in the interview invitation and full details about the questionnaire will be provided also. You will be provided with a feedback report prior to interview.

Ability Tests

We use a range of ability tests such as in tray exercises, typing tests or online numerical and verbal reasoning tests. You may be required to sit a verification test for the online tests.


You may be required to complete an exercise on the day either individually or as a group.

What are competencies?

Behavioural competencies

These outline the expected performance in the role, and behaviours used to undertake the activities and tasks.

Functional competencies

These are role specific, job-related skills and knowledge.

Qualifications, training or other requirements

Details of training/experience required to meet the basic criteria of the role.

How do competency-based questions differ from "normal" questions?

Normal interviews

Also known as an unstructured interview. This is a conversation where the interviewers ask a few questions that are relevant to what they are looking for. Yet there is no specific aim in mind other than getting a general impression of you as an individual. Questions are typically random and can sometimes be quite open.

For example, a question such as "What can you offer our organisation?" is to gather general information but does not test any specific skill or competency. The candidate is judged on the general impression that he/she leaves. This means the process is likely to be more subjective.

Competency-based interviews

These are also called structured or behavioural interviews. this is more systematic, with each question targeting a specific skill or competency.

Questions asked will be relating to behaviour in specific circumstances, supported with examples. The interviewers then dig further into the examples by asking for more detail.

A helpful approach to preparing yourself for a competency interview is the STAR approach. The STAR model is a good structure on which to build your responses and will provide an effective way to structure your thoughts.

  • Situation - what was the context/situation?
  • Task - what was required of you; what were your aims, objectives and challenges?
  • Action - what did you do (not your colleagues)?
  • Result - what happened/what was the outcome of your actions?

You will need to bring

  • All original qualification certificates relevant to this post.
  • Proof of Eligibility to Work in the UK. A detailed list of documents are available on request.
  • Some of our roles need a criminal record check. You will need to bring the relevant identification documentation for checking and recording. A list of the accepted documents is available.

During the interview

  • Evidence should be based on present/previous role(s) within the past two years.
  • Evidence from previous paid/voluntary employment and/or experience can be used.
  • You can have aide memoirs/prompting information.
  • You can and should ask for clarification where necessary.
  • Be yourself - try to relax!

Pre-employment checks

All offers of employment are made subject to the pre-employment checks being satisfied as stated above.

Cornwall Council is committed to provide equality of opportunity to both our employees and applicants. Please help us to ensure your application is treated fairly and equally. This can be done by completing the equal opportunities section when filling in your online application.

Read more about equality and diversity.

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