Preparing for your interview

Students practicing in pas de deux class

We want to help you present your best possible self during an interview for a role with The Royal Ballet School. We have provided some information about how we approach the shortlisting process, and some tips and advice on how to prepare for your interview.

Shortlisting

Once the vacancy has closed, the recruitment panel will shortlist each of the applications based on how the values, skills, knowledge, and experience detailed in their application meets those of the person specification for the vacancy. We review applications against the essential and desirable criteria in the person specification, to assess how well each applicant might be able to perform the job advertised, and those scoring the highest will be invited to interview.

Our decision is not influenced by any protected characteristic (age, disability including long-term conditions, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity). Your name is not shared with the recruiting manager until they have completed their shortlist, and your monitoring information will not be seen by them at any stage of the process.

In most cases, you will be notified by email if you have been shortlisted for the next stage of the selection process, within seven days of the closing date. Please note it may sometimes take longer to notify successful applicants of the next stage, if there are a high volume of applications. Further details on the next stage of the selection process will be detailed in the email.

The interview

We will tell you the date and time of interview, where it is being held and let you know if you will be required to undertake any additional tests or assessments.

There is some helpful information on our contact us page about getting to our Covent Garden and Richmond Park sites.

We want to see the very best of you come out in your interview, so here are our top tips for presenting your best possible self when you visit our School:

Do

  • Come prepared. Spend some time learning not just about The Royal Ballet School but about the job you’re applying for. Review your work history before the interview — and make sure what you say matches what’s on your application
  • Quiz yourself in advance with practice questions so that you feel confident on the day of the interview
  • Be polite and friendly with whoever you meet, starting with the Front of House staff that you meet when you arrive
  • Remember to be professional and attentive throughout the interview process, make eye contact and express yourself clearly and concisely
  • Consider your career goals and clearly define your reasons for wanting the job
  • Take some time to consider your answers and respond thoughtfully. You shouldn’t feel pressured to answer each question in rapid fire
  • Ask questions about the job, the School, or anything else that you’d like to know more about.

Don’t

  • Be late because you get lost along the way or encounter some unexpected circumstance. Plan for delays and make sure you read the invitation to interview thoroughly
  • Leave your outfit to the last minute, make sure you are dressed appropriately for the role you have applied for
  • Simply recap your application form. An interview is a chance to demonstrate all the qualities a written form cannot
  • Let nerves paralyse you. Try to relax, act naturally and remember to breathe
  • Be over-confident. Being confident in your abilities and expressing why you’re the right fit for a role is fine, but don’t overdo it.

On the day

Interviews will usually be with a panel of two members of Royal Ballet School staff, including your prospective line manager.

Many of the questions we ask will be behaviourally oriented, where you will be asked to describe a past situation when you demonstrated a particular quality. These questions indicate how you may handle similar situations at a new job. An example of a behavioral question is ‘Describe the toughest challenge you faced at your last job. How did you handle it?’

A situational question, on the other hand, is one in which we would describe a hypothetical situation and ask you to explain how you would handle it. An example of a situational question is ‘Imagine you have an important report due at the end of the day and your line manager has given you an urgent piece of work to complete. What would you do?’

We are looking for you to respond by describing the situation, task, the action you took, and the result. We will be assessing your relevant skills as well as how you fit in with what The Royal Ballet School stands for. You will also be tested at interview about your motivation and suitability to work with children in line with our Safer recruitment policy.

You may also be set a challenge relevant to the role you’re applying for – your invitation email will include details so that you can prepare in advance, if needed. This might be a presentation on a given topic, or a written task like writing a blog post or a work-sample test, or an observation of you teaching.

If it’s difficult for you to attend our offices in person, we may be able to accommodate interviews via Zoom and some assessments may also be able to be administered remotely. This will be discussed in more detail with you prior to the event.

We usually ask candidates back for a second interview. The purpose of this interview will be to clarify any areas that the panel weren’t able to fully explore at the first interview or for you to meet another member of staff.

The offer

If you’re successful, we’ll inform you by telephone as soon as possible (usually the following day). We will discuss with you the terms of the offer – salary, hours, benefits, provisional start date and the conditions of the offer.

If another candidate better meets the criteria for the role, we’ll inform you by email as soon as possible. On request, Human Resources are always happy to provide individual feedback about your interview.

Any offer of employment will be conditional on the signing of a contract incorporating the School’s standard terms and conditions of employment, and the following checks being completed satisfactorily:

1. Verification of:

  • Identity
  • Address
  • Right to work in the UK
  • Qualifications (if a requirement of the role)

2. A minimum of two satisfactory references, one of which must be from your current or most recent employer
3. Assessment of medical fitness via a confidential health questionnaire
4. An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) with barred list
5. Completion of the School’s Child protection training
6. Sign off of the School’s Safeguarding policies

And if applicable to the role:

7. A prohibition check will be undertaken on anyone employed to carry out teaching work by the Department for Education.
8. A prohibition check will be undertaken on anyone appointed to a management role subject to a direction under section 128 of the Education and Skills Act 2008.

Your conditional offer email will confirm what documentation we need from you. It’s vital that you return your documentation straight away so that we can arrange your start date once all checks have been satisfactorily completed.

For full details of our pre-employment checks please refer to our Safer recruitment policy.

Any questions?

Please visit our FAQs page about interviewing for a job at The Royal Ballet School.

You can also contact [email protected].