Interview Guidance

Congratulations on being invited to interview.

We want you to do well and see you at your best on the day, so the following guide is designed to help you prepare for your interview and understand what will happen on the day.

What to expect on the day of the interview

  • When you arrive you may be asked to provide the ID and proof educational qualifications which you were asked to bring. If this is not done at this stage, you may be asked for this information at the end of the interview.
  • You will normally be met by the line manager for the post, who will take you to the interview room and introduce you to the other ‘board members’.

There will normally be 3 Board Members – normally consisting of the line manager, and 1 or 2 other operational managers/members of staff. For middle manager level posts and above there is also likely to be a representative from HR.

  • The interview will be competency based with some technical questions depending on the type of role you have applied for. Make sure that you provide specific examples to the questions you are asked. You may also ask some technical questions depending on the role you have applied for. You must meet all the essential parts of the person specification in order to be considered successful for the post.
  • Interviews will normally last approximately 30- 60 minutes depending on the level and nature of the job you have applied for.
  • For jobs at middle management level and above and for some specialist jobs you may also be required to take part in additional assessments. These will be communicated to you before the interview and are likely to comprise of one or a combination of:

Competency Based Interview – What is this?

At the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) we use competency based interviews to evaluate your competence. Competency based interviews (sometimes known as situational or behavioural interviews) give us a valuable insight into your preferred style of working and behaviours, to help us determine if you fit the values and culture of SCTS.

The questions will focus on the values and behaviours contained within the Person Specification you will have seen when you applied online.

When answering competency based questions apply the STAR model below to the examples you provide:

  • Situation – Describe the situation and explain what happened
  • Task – Outline the task you had to complete and describe your responsibilities
  • Action – Explain the steps that you took or the decisions you made
  • Result – Explain the outcomes of your actions and what you learnt from the experience

Each Board Member will be responsible for asking you a set of questions relating to the values and behaviours they are responsible for. The values and behaviours you will be assessed on are the same as those noted on the Person Specification which you used when applying online.

You may notice that "board members" are making notes whilst you response, this is totally normal and you should not be put off. We are simply recording key information from your responses so that we have accurate information when we discuss your interview at the end. It is also useful for us to be able to give you constructive feedback if you are unsuccessful.

The Board will be assessing you against the Person Specification for the job and a 0-4 scoring mechanism will be used for each of the values in the person specification.

At the end the interview you will get the opportunity to ask any questions and to add anything else you feel may be of relevance

Handling Questions

You should:

  • Think before you answer a question; take the time you need to collect your thoughts
  • If you need to think, just say so.
  • Ask for clarification if you do not understand a question; if you feel you need to, explain why you did not understand it.
  • Answer the question asked, answering as fully as you can using specific examples from your past experience
  • Stick to the point and do not deviate
  • Say if you don’t know the answer
  • Stop and start your answer again if you think you are on the wrong track, but don’t do this too often. Explain your reasoning.
  • Speak up at the end – but only if you have something that needs to be said, for example to change or add to any of the answers you have given.

You should not:

  • Give just one word answers – speak up, this is your opportunity to convince the Board you meet the criteria for the job.
  • Talk in generalities and give unfocussed examples – This is the most common reason why people are unsuccessful at interview. In order for us to be able to measure your suitability for the post we need to knowWho, What, When, Where, Why! not ‘What you think you would do or could do!’
  • Try to bluff – if you don’t know the answer to a question say so
  • Try to evade questions – again, if you can’t answer, say so
  • Ramble – when you feel that you have given an adequate response, stop. The Board will ask you follow up questions if we want to know more
  • Make exaggerated claims or oversell yourself, we will find out.

A few things to remember

  • Plan to arrive early, giving yourself plenty of time to get to the interview
  • Try to relax – the Board wants to see you at your best; if you are nervous they will understand and make allowances
  • Be prepared, having assessed yourself against the Person Specification and have thought out specific examples relating to each value and behaviour.
  • Try to relax before you go in, listen to your breathing for half a minute or so and try to compose yourself
  • Think and act positively; project confidence and give a good first impression.

Good Luck!

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