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Help with your application

HS2 Staff working together in the Snow Hill Office.
We want to help you understand our process so that you can perform at your best.

Why should I update my CV?

We ask for a variety of detail in your online application, however we perform the first assessment of suitability for a role based solely on the information in your CV. So make sure you include evidence directly related to the criteria in the role profile.

Help with your application

Help us to understand you

Make sure you read the job advert carefully. To give you a clear idea as to knowledge skills and ability we are looking for.

  • Don’t assume we don’t know anything about you. Decisions on who we invite for interview are based on the information you share in your CV.
  • Give specific examples of projects, activities and outcomes.
  • Think about how your skills and experience relates to the job.
  • Where you haven’t got specific experience, think about how you can demonstrate the same skills in different situations or sectors.

Stay relevant

  • Stay on track and focus on the knowledge, skills and experience that will help us select you for interview
  • Try to keep your CV to a maximum of 3 pages.
  • Don’t attach a photograph.

Brevity is the sister of talent. ― Anton Chekhov

Be clear

Once you’ve done this, sit down and rewrite your CV to make sure that the specific experience that you believe is relevant to the role is clearly described by examples.

Laszlo Bock who was Head of People at Google has a simple formula for quantifying any experience that will transform your resume from a list of duties into a clear picture of your achievements and skills: Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z].

Start with an active verb, numerically measure what you accomplished, provide a baseline for comparison, and detail what you did to achieve your goal,

For example, take this sentence from a sample resume:

  • “Studied financial performance of companies and made investment recommendations.”

Bock rewrote it to say this:

  • “Improved portfolio performance by 12% ($1.2M) over one year by refining cost of capital calculations for information-poor markets and re-weighting portfolio based on resulting valuations.”

How we assess your CV

The role profile includes the knowledge, skills and experience that we are looking for.

We use the scoring matrix below to enable us to measure and align measurements.

Scoring Matrix

This is why re-writing your CV is critical.

By quoting examples of when, why and how you demonstrated the skills, knowledge and other qualities in the past, you show that you have the potential to apply them in a new job in the future.

Online application

  • Search and apply for any of our roles that interest you.
  • You will be able to see your progress through the steps along the top of the screen.
  • You can save your application by clicking the save as draft button at the bottom of the screen as you go along in case you lose your internet connection;
  • Ensure that you update your CV for the role that you are applying for.
  • Complete all additional application questions and click confirm to submit your application. If you do not confirm then the application will not be submitted for shortlisting;
  • To support our commitment to equality and diversity, we would like you to complete a confidential diversity questionnaire.
  • Once you submit your application, you will not be able to make any changes to it.
  • When you have submitted your application, you will receive an automatic confirmation email from the HS2 Careers Portal.  It will come from the [email protected] address to let you know we have received your application.
  • Once we have received your application we will review your CV and get back to you as quickly as we can.

Setting up job alerts

A great way to be automatically notified about suitable new roles as soon as they are advertised is to set up job alerts on the HS2 careers portal.

There are two different methods of setting up job alerts

At the bottom of Personal Information page there is a checkbox which will share vacancies based on keywords in your CV. You need to select the check box at the very bottom of the personal information page which will match your profile to new positions.

There is also the capability to set up saved searches when you are in the front screen of the HS2 jobs portal – you can save up to three searches.

Interview Guidance

Depending on the role you have applied for, there may be a range of technical, role-specific or psychometric tests to assess your knowledge, skills and experience.

How to prepare for your interview

How to prepare

  • Remind yourself of the criteria required in the role.
  • Create a list of your experience, projects, responsibilities, the things you are good at etc. These might come from your work experience, home life, social life, or if you’re a recent graduate, your experiences in education.
  • Consider how your list might be related to the role profile. For example, does your work on a volunteer project in Brazil provide good evidence of team-working?
  • Once you have an idea of which examples you might use as evidence, think about how you would structure an answer. For example, we might ask: “Tell us about a time when you…” or “Give us an example of a situation where you…” or “How have you managed to overcome challenges such as…”
  • Describe a carefully selected example from your previous experience.

The STAR format

To give yourself the best chance of a high scoring answer, the STAR technique can help you think clearly about identifying a situation, task, action and result and provides useful guidance on structuring your answers so that they are clear and easy for the interviewer to follow.

Situation: how, when, where, with whom? (Set the scene and context for your action).
Task: what was the situation or what task were you faced with? (Explain what your responsibilities and objectives were and where relevant what resources you used).
Action: what action did you take? (Describe what you did, thought, felt and why. Focus on your specific involvement in the situation and how you went about achieving what you set out to do).
Result: what results did you achieve/conclusions did you reach? (Describe the outcome(s) of your actions and the impact of your actions on others and on the situation).

Write your answers down in the STAR format or practice your examples out loud. Check that your answers are clear and comprehensive by trying them out on your family, friends and anyone who’ll listen!

Try and anticipate the interviewers’ follow-up questions and be ready with your responses. The interviewer might follow up a main question with probes like: what difficulties did you experience, what resistance did you encounter, what might you do differently?

We will be looking for your evidence to be clear, comprehensive and to display positive behaviours that are consistent with our values.

The interview panel

If you are invited to interview you will meet with a panel of 3 HS2 employees including the line manager, a representative from HR and a third individual, potentially from outside the team or function. A diverse interview panel helps us to consider candidates from a broader range of perspectives and this makes our roles more accessible and our decisions better. Our interviews are designed to measure behaviours, skills, knowledge and experience. If you’re selected for an interview, consider how your experience demonstrates your ability to do the job. It’s likely we’ll also ask you about the HS2 project, our Leadership framework and our corporate values.

At interview

  • Please contact us in advance if you need any reasonable adjustments in place for your interview
  • Listen carefully to the question. If you don’t understand the question don’t be afraid to ask us to repeat or rephrase it.
  • If you find it useful, make a note of the question before responding; this can help ensure you stay on track.
  • Remember – the interview is your opportunity to get information from us, so come prepared with your questions for the panel but avoid questions about salary.
  • Our selection processes vary according to the role. Whatever the process we will let you know what to expect in advance:
  • We will confirm how long the selection process is likely to take when you are invited to attend and will provide you with plenty of information and detail for you to prepare in advance.
  • If you are successful at this stage, we will give you a call to let you know. If you haven’t been successful at interview stage, you will be informed and given the opportunity to obtain feedback.

Background and reference checking

If you are successful and we offer you a role with HS2, then we will go through a number of background and verification checks before you start.

These include: Previous employment verification, education verification, finance checks and a basic check of unspent criminal convictions.

Some roles may require more in depth background checking, but we will discuss this with you during the application process if this is the case.

Contact and feedback

For careers-related enquiries, please email us at [email protected].

For any general enquiries, please see our contact and help page for more information.

Our Values and Behavioural Framework

Safety, respect, integrity and leadership are central to HS2 successfully delivering our vision. They don’t build the railway but they absolutely shape the environment we all work in while we're doing it. For this reason we look to include our values as part of our assessment process.

Our Values and Behavioural Framework


Caring for our workforce, passengers and the public by creating an environment where no one gets hurt. That means making safety our first consideration and speaking up and intervening if something is unsafe.


  • We take care of ourselves and others by making safety a consideration in everything we do.
  • We look after our own and others well-being.
  • We address every hazard whenever we notice them to minimise harm.
  • We speak up and ask questions if we are unsure about any issues concerning health and safety.
  • We learn from safety and well-being issues to make sure they are not repeated.


  • We take care of each other, regardless of relationship.
  • We seek opportunities to surpass current thinking on safety, health and wellbeing.
  • We make safe decisions and choices as second nature.
  • We recognise and praise good safety practice and talk positively about our experiences.
  • We maintain the highest safety standards possible.


Understanding others, recognising their value and behaving accordingly. That means listening and being open-minded; explaining decisions clearly; working flexibly; and appreciating the impact of our actions.


  • Where we affect people, we involve them as early as possible and seek their opinions.
  • We listen to others. We invite, provide, and respect challenging views.
  • We identify and address conflict in our teams before it becomes a problem.
  • We treat people with empathy and compassion.
  • We appreciate the strengths of others and support them to grow for everyone’s benefit.
  • We treat people with respect independent of their status or views of us.


  • We explore different ways of working, asking ‘why not?’ instead of ‘why?’.
  • We help people to work together across different areas.
  • We develop an inclusive working environment where everyone feels valued and involved.
  • We ask for feedback and give constructive, evidence-based, and fair feedback to others.
  • We treat people with empathy and compassion, fairness and dignity.


Acting fairly, transparently and consistently. That means using the powers we’ve been given wisely; acknowledging the impact of the HS2 programme; and doing the right thing, even in difficult circumstances.


  • We are committed to the goals and objectives of the project.
  • We follow our policies and practices to maintain our high standards.
  • We agree results and goals with stakeholders and work together to achieve them.
  • We are honest and communicate openly.
  • We are dependable and follow through on our commitments.
  • We develop positive and productive relationships with all stakeholders.


  • We create an environment where people feel free to raise issues and have them addressed without negative repercussions.
  • We are clear on what we expect from each other.
  • We take time to explain why we are making decisions in a certain way.
  • We spot competing priorities and seek to reconcile them in a transparent way.
  • We anticipate our stakeholders concerns and priorities and share information to keep them informed.
  • We encourage everyone we work with to live up to our values


Using innovation and challenging to lead by example. That means making the most of the unique opportunity HS2 offers; having clear direction to deliver excellence; and setting new standards for mega-projects.

using innovation and challenging to lead by example


  • We are committed to delivering excellence.
  • We share best practices and innovative ideas with others so everyone can benefit.
  • We learn from mistakes and apply lessons learned to avoid them happening again.
  • We demonstrate self-awareness, recognise our own limitations and seek to address these.
  • We maintain a results focus even in challenging situations and seek support from others when struggling.


  • We foster an environment that encourages creativity and innovation, where existing assumptions can be challenged.
  • We turn challenges into opportunities and apply creative thinking to address them.
  • We act as coaches and mentors for others and support them wherever we can.
  • We consider different methods and demonstrate willingness and flexibility to change plans as needed.

Click on the image above to open a larger, accessible version

Our Leadership Framework

At HS2 we all have a leadership role – in setting standards, expectations and investing into the development of teams and colleagues around us. We use the framework below to assess and develop our leaders.

Our Leadership Framework


The people leadership element is about getting people to follow you as a leader, and executing the delivery of projects through people.


​Relationship leadership includes suggestions and ideas for developing your skills in influencing others and ​​collaborative leadership.


Business leadership includes ideas and learning around making sustainable business decisions, and conveying a vision consistently.


Entrepreneurial leadership includes content and resources on innovating and leading major change, and developing and growing talent around you.

Click on the image above to open a larger, accessible version