Interview tips in the public sector

Stephen Ridley
Stephen Ridley

Got an interview coming up? 

Job interviews can be daunting. But they don’t need to be. Understanding that job interviews are not designed to trip you up will put you in the right mindset going in.  

That doesn’t mean that it’s easy. That’s why we’ve compiled some top interview tips for public sector professionals to get you interview ready. 

1. Do your homework

Yup, we thought we were past homework, but for interview preparation, it’s key to do your research. It’s more than just knowing top level information; you want to delve into a bit more detail. Find out more about the organisation’s mission, vision and values or their upcoming projects or recent initiatives. 

This research will help make sure that you feel that the organisation is the right fit for you by being aligned to what you believe in. And, by knowing more than surface level information, it could inspire some great interview questions when you get the chance to raise them. Showing not only your interest in the role but that you’re invested in contributing to the overall vision of the companyorganisation. 

2. Shout about your skills

Self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to everyone. We get it. But you can’t assume that your interviewer knows about all your experience and key achievements. Yes, they might be in your CV, but it’s great to add context to give them a real feel for your approach as a future employee. You’ve read the job description, so you know what they’re looking for. Right? 

Therefore, highlight your skills that you know make you the perfect candidate. By doing this, you are demonstrating not only your knowledge and expertise but you’re offering real life examples of when they are used, by sharing stories of how you tackled challenges or overcame obstacles in past roles.

3. Be prepared for the unexpected

Be prepared for behavioural questions. Many public sector interviews may include competency-based assessments, which test your skills and abilities in specific areas. Make sure you're familiar with the key competencies required for the role and practice your responses to assessment questions.

In addition, you might get asked a curveball question that isn’t relating to the role at all. Because it is a way to gauge how interviewees react and respond in situations outside of their comfort zone. These interview questions present an opportunity to the interviewee. The opportunity is that interviewees can highlight their creativity and knack at handling challenging situations. So, don’t be nervous. Just breath in, take your time and think about your response. 

4. Talk the talk

The public sector can be complex, with different rules and regulations. In essence, it has its own language and jargon. Make sure you understand the challenges and opportunities of the public sector, and be ready to speak to specific policies, initiatives, and regulations that relate to your role

5. Be yourself

The public sector places a lot of emphasis on values like honesty, transparency, and accountability. Be sure to demonstrate your own values and integrity during the interview. For example, when you’re demonstrating your skills or proficiencies in certain areas, tie it back to your personal values, where you can. This will give the interviewer insight into the real you and not just your skills. 

Practice makes perfect

If you’re not an ‘off the cuff’ individual, it’s worthwhile doing a few practice runs. Practice your interview skills with a friend or mentor. This will help you feel more comfortable and confident during the real thing.

The public sector often places a strong emphasis on values such as accountability, transparency, and social responsibility. Make sure you can demonstrate how you share and embody these values in your work.

Last but not least, remember to be yourself! Smile, be friendly, and show your passion for the work you do. After all, you got this far for a reason!

There you have it - some tips to help you rock your next public sector interview. By following these tips, you'll be well-prepared to demonstrate your expertise and fit for your next public sector role. 

Good luck with your interview!

Stephen Ridley
Business Director – Arch Resourcing

Recent Posts
Interview tips in the public sector
Interview tips in the public sector
Job interviews can be daunting. But they don’t need to be. Job interviews are not designed to trip you up. Here's our interview tips in the public sector.
The contribution of unpaid carers in the UK
The contribution of unpaid carers in the UK
Unpaid carers play a crucial role in providing care and support to people with illnesses, disabilities, or other needs in the UK.