Applying for a job – our recruitment process

Before you submit your application, you’ll need to register on our recruitment system using this register on this site link or via the Register button at the top of the page. You’ll be asked to create a profile and upload a CV. This will save time when you’re ready to submit your application.

If you’re already registered with us, and would like to apply for a role, you won’t usually need to complete your personal details again, as your details should be pre-populated from your previous answers.

Before you apply for the job you’re interested in, it’s important that you read the whole page below, for instructions on how to complete and upload your application. Please note that you should only begin the application process if you’re intending to submit your full supporting statement, as the system doesn’t save your progress.

Please let our recruitment team know if you require any reasonable adjustments to our recruitment process.

Our Values

The Scottish Parliament is an inclusive and diverse organisation. Our central values underpin our working culture and our people management processes. They are used to recruit, manage and develop our staff.

To apply for our roles, you’ll be asked to write a values-based supporting statement based on the job description of the role you’re applying for. The job description will detail the main recruitment selection criteria under each value, in the sections titled “And in delivering these, you will have”

You’ll need to provide one or more examples to cover each bullet point in all the sections entitled “And in delivering these you will have”

You’ll provide examples from your background or career, of where you have demonstrated that value.

When completing the values-based statement for your application:

  • Please provide evidence against each of our four values, a maximum of 400 words is allowed per value
  • Please use the STAR format (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to address the key requirements under each value in the Job Description. More information on STAR is in the How to Prepare for Interview section below
  • You can provide one or more examples to evidence the bullet points in all the sections entitled “And in delivering these you will have”
  • Each value should be clearly formatted, and your examples may include specific skills, experience, abilities, knowledge and strengths you have
  • Focus on your most relevant skills and experience for the role and provide detail in your examples
  • Mention any academic qualifications you have, and the roles you’ve had, if you would like the panel to know
  • We have a separate box on our system for you to input each value
  • Please do not input anything into the values boxes until you’re ready to submit your application
  • Please complete your answers to the questions offline, perhaps in Word, and then copy and paste your answers into the system when you're ready to submit your application
  • We recommend that you check your answers once you've copied and pasted the information into the system, just to ensure it's all there
  • Please only click 'Next' to submit your application when the statement is complete. Once you've submitted your application, you won't have the option to go back
  • If you 'cancel' then your work won't be saved
  • The system will time out after an hour and your work will be lost if you don’t complete it in that time. You don't have the option to save your application and return to it later
  • If the system times out, you can go into your ‘candidate profile’ to access and complete your statement

The application page will look like this:

Please note that only your supporting statement will be submitted to Hiring Managers, without any personal details, and they will then select candidates for further assessment or interview.

We review your application at various stages throughout the recruitment process and we may assess your skills via a number of different ways including:

  • Values based supporting statement
  • CV
  • Interview
  • Presentation
  • Written analysis / exercise
  • Technical testing
  • Psychometric testing

We’re a Disability Confident Leader employer and we’re committed to the employment and career development of disabled people. If you have a disability defined by the Equality Act, you're eligible to apply through the guaranteed interview scheme.

Under the scheme we guarantee to interview anyone with a disability, being recruited for a role employed by The Scottish Parliament, whose application meets the minimum criteria for the job (described in the job advert). If you have a disability and would like to talk to us about any aspects of the recruitment process, please get in touch with the HR Office via email [email protected]

Next Stage

You may be asked to complete some online testing at this stage such as a psychometric assessment, helping us to assess your personality traits. You could also be asked to complete a skills test or a timed written exercise. We’ll contact you with further information and provide notice if this will happen.


Each application is reviewed thoroughly and given a score, with a final shortlist agreed by the selection panel. Candidates who receive the highest scores will be invited to interview. Candidates who apply under the Disability Symbol Scheme will also be invited to interview if they receive the minimum acceptable score.

In most cases you’ll be told the outcome of your application within 3-4 weeks of the job advert closing date.

The interview

If your application has been shortlisted, you’ll be invited for an interview. The selection process can vary depending on the role you’ve applied for, but as a minimum you can expect a face-to-face interview. We’ll offer you a selection of time slots and you’ll have the opportunity to select your interview time.

We’ll send you all the information you need in advance of the interview, such as:

  • Who you’ll be meeting
  • How long the interview will be
  • Whether the interview will be held at The Scottish Parliament or online
  • Any specific information that may be part of the selection process

Your interview will either be held online via Microsoft Teams or in person at The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. If your interview is online, we’ll send you the link the week before the interview takes place.

If your interview is at the Scottish Parliament, please allow at least 20 minutes of extra time to go through security. On entering the building, please report to the Visitor Desk and ask for the contact name provided. Please note that we do not normally reimburse travel expenses for interviews held at Parliament.

How to prepare for the interview

In addition to the face to face interview, we may also ask you to:

  • Complete a written exercise, which is usually timed
  • Prepare something ahead of the interview, like a presentation or portfolio, to present to us on the interview day, to showcase your experience, capability and potential. If we ask you to deliver this, we won’t ask you to present this with Powerpoint or via technology

Whatever the situation, we’ll let you know what to expect from your interview in advance, giving you enough time to prepare.

If you need adjustments to be made due to a disability, let us know well in advance of your interview so that we can make the necessary arrangements.

Our interviewers will assess your responses to their questions from a values-based perspective. We ask that you review and understand our four values and how they relate to the role you’re applying for.

Interview Tips

During your interview, we’ll ask you four questions, please answer these in the STAR format:

S – Situation. Where were you working, what was the situation or issue. You should be brief in discussing this

T – Task. What was your solution, what did you consider should be done

A - Action. Who did you propose your solution to, what did you do to implement this and how did you do it. How did you include other people’s feedback into the solution. You should focus most of your time on this section

R – Result. What were the results of your work and how was this received

Reflection. Would you have done anything differently if you did it again – please note that reflection is only used in the interview. You should ensure that you’re providing a comprehensive answer to the Result section


  • Prepare several examples in advance of the interview, based upon the four values
  • Answer in the STAR format
  • Listen to the question fully – if it’s a long question, write it down
  • Say “I”
  • Only evidence your own experience and contribution, even if you’re working in a team
  • Choose an example which is at the right level for the role
  • Consider your timing when you answer the questions
  • Remember to explain how you did something, not just tell us what you did
  • Listen out for interviewers probing while you’re answering. This means they need specific additional information. They do this to keep you focused on answering the interview question fully, to allow you to score maximum points


  • Be negative
  • Say “we” – we can’t score your answer if we don’t know you did it
  • Be too brief
  • Choose an example where you can’t reflect on the outcome

After the interview

We’ll aim to let you know the outcome of your interview as soon as we can. This will normally be within 10 working days. If you’re unsuccessful at interview stage, you can ask us for feedback. We want to ensure a positive candidate experience, so we’ll also contact you to ask for your feedback on the whole recruitment process.

Onboarding Process

If you’re successful at interview, you’ll be asked to complete our onboarding process. This includes security clearance and may include a health assessment carried out by our Occupational Health provider. You will also be asked to provide proof of your eligibility to work in the United Kingdom.

We will provide you with details of our security vetting policy and you will be required to complete a security questionnaire. Some of our roles will require membership of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. For further information, please see our Policy on the employment of ex-offenders and use of disclosure.


If you’re successful, we’ll approach previous and/or current employers for a reference. If you have no employment history we may approach any school, college or university you have attended.

We can only make a formal offer of employment once we have received your security clearance, eligibility to work in the UK and references. Your health assessment will be used to inform us of any adjustments you require before you start with us.

Contacting the recruitment team

If you have any questions or problems using our recruitment system contact our recruitment team [email protected] or call us on 0131 348 6500.