Help with your application

You can apply for jobs at Barnsley Council using our Online Recruitment System.

Before you start

The following tips and information may help you with your application. Read them before you start to make sure you submit a better application and improve your chance of being selected for interview.

  • Allow yourself plenty of time.
  • Read all the instructions carefully.
  • Make sure that you understand all the questions.
  • Read the information relevant to the position, for example the job profile or job description and the employee specification.

Requirements for the role

The 'relevant experience, general and special knowledge, skills and abilities, and additional requirements' sections on the job profile or employee specification are particularly important. They set out the skills and qualities criteria that you'll need to do the job and which we'll be looking for in the following ways:

  • Application form (A): we'll look for evidence of this information on your application form.
  • Interview (I): we'll ask you questions and test you on this information at your interview.
  • Certificates (C): if you're invited for interview, you'll need to bring your qualification certificates and other appropriate documents as evidence of your achievements. If you've lost your certificates, you'll need to contact the relevant examination bodies for confirmation of your qualifications. If you hold international qualifications you can use UK NARIC to get them compared to UK qualifications. Proof of entitlement to work in the UK will be needed.
  • Presentation (P): we may ask you to give a presentation. We'll tell you when we write to invite you for interview. 
  • Test (T): we may ask you to do a test to demonstrate that you have a particular skill, for example to prove you can use Microsoft packages like Excel. 

Sometimes, we'll test criteria in several ways (application/interview/test) depending on whether they're essential or desirable requirements of the role you're applying for.

Essential (E) criteria, as you'd expect, are those that are vital to fulfilling the role effectively.

Desirable (D)/minor (M) criteria are not essential to fulfilling the role within the initial induction period, but they would be a bonus.

Remember, to be shortlisted and invited for interview, you'll need to demonstrate, by giving examples, how you meet each of the criteria in the job specification.


  • You must meet the essential criteria in order for us to shortlist you.  Desirable/minor criteria are an advantage, but not crucial.  If we have lots of applicants for a post, we'll look at all the criteria, including the desirable/minor ones, to help us shortlist candidates.
  • Include as much detail as you can in your application to demonstrate how you meet the 'essential' criteria of the role and give examples.
  • Make your examples as relevant to the role as possible and as clear and concise as you can. Remember that you can include experience from all sources, including previous jobs, school, clubs, organisations and voluntary work
  • Don't forget to keep referring to the 'responsibilities' listed on the job profile or job description and make sure that your application reflects these.
  • Don't leave any blanks. If there are any questions that don't apply to you, simply put 'not applicable' or 'n/a'


  • If you're shortlisted, we'll ask for a minimum of two work-related references.
    If you're currently employed, one of your references must be your present or most recent employer. We can't accept character references or references from relatives or friends.
  • We understand that there may be circumstances where applicants can't produce two work references, for example:
    • where you've not worked before, (such as being a school/college leaver)
    • where you've only had one previous job
    • where you've had a career break

In these circumstances, we may accept non-employment references, although they must still cover your skills and abilities. These could be references relating to part-time or voluntary work, or from your school or college, for example, if you've been volunteering in a school, whilst on a career break, you could ask the headteacher to give you a reference.

Safeguarding vulnerable people

  • We're committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults, and expect all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

  • If you're shortlisted for a role working with children or vulnerable adults, you must complete the criminal record background section of the application form. You must disclose any criminal conviction which would normally be considered to be 'spent'. (Spent convictions are those that happened some time ago and are not usually required to be revealed, as specified in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974). For more information, visit the Disclosure and Barring Service website or contact the HR Safeguarding Team on (01226) 772291 or (01226) 773796.

Disability discrimination

  • In accordance with the Equality Act (2010), we have a responsibility to remove any barriers to our recruitment and selection process. We've tried to reflect this in our job profiles/job descriptions and employee specifications. However, if you do experience any barriers as part of our recruitment process, tell us in your application form. Let us know your needs and we'll try to make any reasonable adjustments.

Final check

  • Make sure that all sections are complete. If a box isn't relevant, put 'n/a'
  • Our closing date and time is a strict deadline, so take a note of it and make sure that you submit your application form in good time.
  • Please don't send us a CV as we won't consider it.

When we receive your application

We'll check it to see if you meet the essential criteria.  If you do, we'll shortlist you for interview.

We'll email you to let you know whether you've been shortlisted or not.  



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