Our recruitment process

So you’ve decided you’d like to join our team at the Wales Co-operative Centre and have found a role on our recruitment portal which matches your skills and experiences – exciting!

See this page in: Cymraeg

Stage 1: Submit your application form

First of all, you will need to take the time to complete our online application form which asks for your personal, current/previous employment and referee information.

We then ask some specific competency-based questions about your experience which relates directly to the person specification criteria for the role. This part of the application process is likely to take the longest time to complete.  It is also the most important part, as it is where we learn most about your skills and experience in relation to the particular role., Don’t be modest here, make sure you shout about your achievements and how they apply to this role, and give us examples wherever you can!

What we’re looking for

At this stage we are looking for candidates to show how closely their knowledge, skills and experience correspond to the criteria on our person specification, but also that they will be a great addition to our fabulous team.  It is really important to us that our people share our values, so please try to show us this side of yourself too. Of course, we are also looking for an application that is well written with good spelling and grammar – so as a tip always use spell check!

What happens next?

Application forms are then reviewed by the recruiting manager, and a member of the People team, generally within 7 days of the closing date. Your responses to the competency-based questions are scored based on your how well you have demonstrated that you meet the person specification criteria. Applications are scored anonymously, the shortlisting panel are unable to see any personal details about the applicant, including names, therefore we ensure our recruitment process is completely free from unconscious or conscious bias and applications are scored solely on merit.

We communicate with all applicants through emails sent via our recruitment portal – if you are shortlisted for the role, your interview invitation will be sent via email (interviews will take place in person where possible, or remotely via Microsoft Teams if necessary).  If you are not shortlisted on this occasion, we will also contact you via email – so keep an eye on your email inbox!

We are a disability confident employer, so if you have a disability and you need us to make reasonable adjustments for you so that you are able do your best, please let us know in advance.

Stage 2: The interview

Your interview will generally consist of questions which are based on the requirements of the role and designed to find out more about you, your skills and your experience.  The questions will be prepared by our panel in advance, and we will ask all candidates the same questions in order to give everyone the same opportunity to shine.  In addition, we may ask you to complete a task – this may be something to undertake on the day, or something that that we ask you to prepare in advance (we will always let you know and give you plenty of notice if this is the case).

We always try our best to make candidates feel at ease, but the panel understand that interviews can still be nerve-wracking! Remember to be yourself, this is an opportunity for you to ensure we are a suitable organisation for you, as much as you are the right candidate for us, so come ready with any questions you might have, there will be an opportunity to ask them at the end of the interview.

What we’re looking for

Candidates need to make sure they’ve got a good understanding of the role by having thoroughly read through the job description and person specification. As many of our questions are competency based, at this stage we are looking for candidates to expand on their answers as much as possible drawing on their past work, educational, or other experience, so come prepared with some examples. But don’t worry – if you do end up struggling with an unexpected question, it’s perfectly fine to take a little time to think. We don’t want you to feel rushed and would much prefer a well-thought answer than a fast one!

By way of a helping hand – when answering competency-based questions, the STAR method is a sound way of structuring your answers:

  1. Situation – what was the background, or context?
  2. Task – what was the main challenge facing you?
  3. Action – how did you go about solving it?
  4. Result – what happened, and what did you learn from the situation?

Don’t be afraid to ask for the question to be clarified if you don’t understand it the first time around. We want to get to know you, and that will only happen if you understand what you’re being asked.

What happens next?

Candidate responses to our competency-based questions are scored using an objective scoring process with the interview panel look for demonstration of the skills and experience required in the person specification.

We aim to inform candidates of the outcome of their interview the following day, or even earlier if it’s possible! However, if there is a delay in being able to give an outcome we ensure we communicate this to candidates so they know when they can expect to hear, we appreciate that waiting for interview news can be an anxious time.

We generally aim to fill our roles in a one stage interview, however, if appropriate we will invite suitable candidates in for a second interview, or for a chat to clarify any queries with regard to their experience against the role criteria.

Stage 3: The offer

If you are successful, a member of the interview panel will call you and offer you the role! We will tell you about our main terms and conditions of employment and follow this up with a formal written offer.

We will request the necessary references and proof of your eligibility to work in the UK, along with any required DBS checks (see below), and once we have agreed a start date we will issue a formal contract of employment.

We will then begin preparing your induction programme, which includes access to an online induction portal that you are welcome to review prior to your start with us. We hope that this will familiarise you with the organisation, and provide the support needed to get you up to speed and comfortable in your new role as soon as possible.

If you are unsuccessful following an interview with us, we will also let you know as soon as possible. Don’t let an unsuccessful interview dishearten you, we are happy for you to contact us and request feedback for you to take on board for the next role you apply for.

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Checks

Occasionally a role may be subject to a successful candidate undertaking a DBS check.

Should a DBS check be necessary for the role, it will clearly be stated on the job documents so you will see this before starting your application process.

Our DBS checks are undertaken using an umbrella organisation. Umbrella organisations act on behalf of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to process all criminal record applications for businesses and private and public organisations. Employers cannot apply to the DBS directly for a criminal record check, which is why umbrella bodies exist to process DBS checks.

A DBS check will only be carried out where the reasoning for its requirement for the role has been submitted to the DBS umbrella organisation and verified as justifiable for the role.

What is a DBS check?

A DBS check is an official record stating a person’s criminal convictions. They help to ensure that we as an employer are making the right decisions during the recruitment process.

DBS checks are especially important in finding suitable candidates to work with vulnerable groups, including children. Upon completing the check, we will review your DBS certificate and decide on the next steps.

Types of DBS checks

There are three levels of DBS checks: basic, standard and enhanced. It is essential to know the various levels to ensure that candidates go through proper screening.

Basic DBS check

A basic DBS check is a criminal record check that individuals and employers can request. This is the lowest level check and is available for all individuals and employers living within the UK. A basic DBS will check a person’s criminal history, convictions and cautions from the Police National Computer (PNC).

Employers from all types of industries, such as construction or hospitality, can ask for a basic disclosure to check a candidate’s criminal record to help them decide if a candidate is fit for employment. However, for certain roles, you may need a higher level of DBS check.

Standard DBS Check

A standard DBS check is an in-depth criminal record check used by employers on behalf of applicants to ensure they are suitable for the role in question. At this level, it shows information of all cautions, warnings and reprimands a person has. It will also reveal any unspent convictions held on a person’s criminal record in England and Wales and convictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The standard DBS check is required for lawyers, accountants and other positions of high responsibility. This check will ensure that employees or candidates have no prior offences, such as fraud or financial misconduct.

Enhanced DBS Check

Similar to the standard DBS check, this level is only available to employers, who will have to request it on their applicant’s behalf. An enhanced DBS check has all the information contained in a standard DBS check.

However, with an enhanced check, an employer can also request to see whether a potential or current employee is listed on the Children’s Barred List or Adult First list. This ensures that a candidate is not barred from working with vulnerable groups but can only be requested if the candidate or employee will be involved in a regulated activity. Most roles in education and health care will require the Enhanced DBS Check.


What is the dress code?

We don’t have a formal dress code, we trust people to dress appropriately for their day.  When we have meetings with outside organisations, some people choose to wear formal business wear, and others choose “smart casual” dress.  We would recommend that an interview candidate takes the same approach, but the most important thing for us is that our people feel comfortable whilst maintaining a professional appearance.

What do I need to bring?

If you have been asked to prepare a presentation and you have an in-person interview, it’s important to bring a copy of the presentation with you on a memory stick.  It can also be helpful to provide handouts or copies of the presentation for the panel. A pen and paper whilst not essential can be useful in order to jot down any notes you may wish to make during the interview.  Feel free to also bring anything which demonstrates some of your skills.

I’m really nervous, what can I do?

Interviews can be nerve wracking, but remember the interview panel are human, and want to get the best out of you, and therefore both they, and any existing staff you meet during the interview process will try to put you at ease as best they can. Interviews are a great opportunity to talk about your skills, so be prepared, try to be yourself and don’t worry. Remember, interviews are as much about you making sure that the role and the Centre are right for you as it is us making sure that you are right for us!