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How to apply for a job with Ordnance Survey

Apply for a job with OS.

To help you prepare your application, we’ll give you as much information as we can about interviews, specific requirements for each role and the kind of person we’re looking for.

So that you know what’s happening right from the start, we will include key dates in each job advert where we can, so that you know the closing date and when to expect an interview.

Sometimes though, we may leave an advert open until we find a suitable candidate. In these cases, apply as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.

How to apply

Send us your:

  • CV – give details of your employment history and your experience; and
  • Covering letter – include specific examples that demonstrate your suitability for the role and make sure you address all of the essential criteria.

Please tailor your CV and covering letter to the job to give yourself the best opportunity to go through to the next stage. We will be looking for evidence of how your experience meets the key criteria outlined in the job advert. The information you provide must be based on real examples within the last 12–18 months of what you have done, how you did it and what the outcome/result was.

If you have a disability that prevents you from applying online, please email us.

What happens next?

Once you’ve submitted your application it can’t be changed so please only submit it when you are completely satisfied that you have answered all of the relevant questions. Unfortunately we can't accept late applications.

We try to review all applications in the week after the closing date and to let everyone who applies know whether they are going through to the next stage as soon as possible. 

Tips for success

First impressions do count and this is your opportunity to tell us why you’re the person we’re looking for, so:

  • Read the job advert carefully. It may sound obvious but you’d be surprised at the number of applications we receive that don’t tell us how the applicant meets the criteria.
  • Tell us about your major achievements and fantastic results.
  • Tell us how you demonstrate the competencies and values we’re looking for. How people do their job and how they fit in with our values is just as important to us as what they do.

Finally, keep a copy of your application. If you’re invited in for an interview we will ask you about what you have told us.

How you're assessed

Whether we ask you to come in for an interview, complete an online questionnaire or invite you to an assessment day, the key things that we’re looking for are:

  • That you can do the job.
  • That your behaviours and the way you would approach the job fit with our values.
  • To understand your motivation for wanting the job.

We have different ways of assessing people and we may use some or all of these depending on the role.

We will always offer feedback from any assessments that you do for us.

Personality questionnaires

We may ask you to complete a personality questionnaire which helps us find out a bit more about you before we meet. Don’t worry, there are no right or wrong answers. We just want to understand the way you think, feel and work with other people and how you might behave in certain situations. In most cases, you’ll be asked to complete the questionnaire online before you come in for an interview or assessment day.

Ability tests

These are online questionnaires that measure your performance by focusing on what you know or can do, or what you are capable of knowing or doing. They may be verbal, numerical or abstract reasoning tests.

The tests give you problems or tasks and you need to choose the correct answer. They also look at how quickly you’re able to process different types of information.
If you’d like to find out more about ability tests and even try some practice tests similar to ours, visit the SHL Talent Measurement website.


Where we think it will help, we may arrange a phone interview with you to find out more about you and to tell you a bit more about the job. It’s also an opportunity to decide whether a face-to-face interview is appropriate.

For most jobs, we will invite you to a face-to-face interview. This will normally be with a panel of up to three people and will last up to an hour. The interview will be evidence based and we might also ask you to give a presentation relevant to the job or to complete some psychometric questionnaires. This just gives us more information about how you think and process information. We will let you know in advance if we will be asking you to do any of these things so you can prepare.

Tips for success

We use evidence-based interviews to help us make the right decisions. This also gives you the opportunity to give us relevant examples that demonstrate the things we are looking for. These useful tips should help you to get ready for an interview:

  • Prepare. Find out about us, re-read the information you have about the job and about the type of person we’re after.
  • Read your CV and covering letter. Think about what questions we might ask and how you might answer them.
  • Think about examples of when you’ve demonstrated the skills and competencies we’re looking for. The interview is your chance to talk about your experience by giving strong, relevant examples. You can also elaborate on some of the examples you have already provided in your application.
  • Be sure you know details about the interview such as:
  • The time
  • The date
  • The location
  • The names of the people interviewing you
  • Whether you need to do a presentation. If you do, make sure you know what
    format you need to present it in.
  • Think about any questions you might have – it’s your opportunity to find out more about us, too.

On the day:

  • Have a copy of your CV and covering letter to hand.
  • Bring all of the documents we’ve asked you for.
  • Make sure you have your presentation materials with you.
  • Arrive 10–15 minutes before the time of the interview – we’ve got waiting areas where you can relax, have a drink and compose yourself.
  • Talk to all the interviewers – they all want to know what you have to offer.

Final interviews

It is rare, but sometimes if we are recruiting for a key role or the competition is really strong, we might want to meet you again before we make a final decision. We won’t always know this when we advertise a role, but if we do want to meet you for a second interview we will give you as much notice as possible.

Technical skills

Where we’re looking for some specific technical skills we might ask you to carry out a work-related exercise where you get the chance to show us what you can do. This is usually done on the same day you come in for interview and is assessed by someone who also has those technical skills.

Assessment days

For some key roles we might ask you to come to one of our assessment days. The idea is that the day will help us get to know you and understand a lot more about how you work, think and deal with situations. Typical tasks you’ll be asked to do include:

  • Interactive exercises such as one to one simulated meetings or presentations.
  • You may also be involved in group tasks.
  • Written exercises where you need to analyse information and come up with
    recommendations to scenarios.

We offer feedback to everyone who comes to an assessment day to help with your personal development. We’ll tell you about the great things you did and what you might want to explore as a result.

Tips for success

  • Don't hide your light – assessors can’t read your mind. If you think something’s
    important to the exercise you’re doing, either say it or write it down.
  • Be yourself – you’ll be invited to an assessment day because we’re interested in finding out more about you. It’s important that we gain a true picture, so be yourself.
  • Relax – assessment days aren’t designed to trip you up. We want everyone to make the most of this opportunity.