Written Response Best Practises

Rules for Writing Responses

When writing responses for applications it's important to follow some basic rules:

  • Be specific about what you did and what was the outcome.
  • Try to use 2-5 example consultative engagements across all of the questions.
  • Only use 1 example for each question. The exception is when the question specifically asks for a certain period of experience that would be unreasonable on one engagement.
  • Make every word count - you have a maximum of 100 words for each response. Responses are validated before being accepted. Use of hyphens to link phrases does reduce the word count but don't be excessive.
  • Use close to 100 words for every response; everyone else will.


  • 0 - does not meet expectations, evidence not supplied.
  • 1 - partially meets expectations.
  • 2 - meets expectations.
  • 3 - exceeds expectations.


  1. You must score a minimum of 2 on all Essential Skills to have any chance of progressing.
  2. You should answer all questions because the client will progress only the top scoring candidates to the next stage.

Exceeding Expectations

To exceed expectations you should give more than the questions is asking for:

  • If it asks for 5 years experience, show that you have 10.
  • If it asks for you to deliver something, say how you delivered it and provided added value; examples include: trained in-house personnel, made the process more efficient saving time/money, reduced risk, promoted reuse, solved a wider problem.

Standard Example

Using One Example Per Response


Microservice architecting experience


Our Consultant delivered a short-notice/time-critical Government-Service-Standard-System; extracting European-Union(EU)-systems-data and propagating to HMRC-legacy-systems:

  • Designed/led implementation of containerised/MicroServices-based-Architecture; aligning to HMRC-Strategic-plans/Domain-Driven-Design.
  • Championed Microservice design-patterns/principles including:
    • Designing/implementing event & command-based-services based on message consumption/production.
    • Unidirectional flow of data for API-services.
    • Model-Service-Pattern for Validation/Transformation/File-Transfer-Services.
    • Denormalizer-Service-Pattern for subscribing to model-services; utilising Job-Schedule for File-Transfer and Eu-data extraction for Multi-Annual-Strategic-Plan-project.
    • Gateway-Service-Pattern leveraging WSO2-API-Gateway connections.
    • Ingestor-Service-Pattern for retrieving external-Eu-data into MASP-system.
    • Adapter-Service-Pattern for connecting MASP-database to multiple-backend/legacy-systems/File-Transfer-service to AWS-S3-Bucket or Fujitsu-Private-Cloud hosted-repositories.
  • Configurable job-scheduling Microservices for data-extraction/manipulation/distribution; future-proofing solution.
  • Canonical-data-model; aiding future-migrations/reuse/extensions.
  • Fully automated-testing (functional/non-functional)/Continuous-Integration using: SOAP-UI/JMeter/SonarQube/Maven/Jenkins/Git/Artifactory.

Long Time Period Example

Using Multiple Examples Per Response


Solid development experience (5+ years)


Our SC-cleared-consultant has 15+ years development experience in Public/Private-sector; including HMRC/Scottish-Government/DTG/Owen-&-Minor-Europe:

  • Actively promoting/training development-teams integration-best-practices/patterns and building tools to boost development process using factory-model.
  • Part of testing team defining testing approach (e2e/service-contract) and testing-framework design/implementation, evaluating test-doubles tools including: Restassurance/Wiremock/Postman/SoapUI.
  • Designed/developed ESB and Microservice architectures using WSO2/ApacheCamel/Mule-ESB/Spring-Boot/Apache-Kafka/Angula-JS/Node.js.
  • Designed/Developed 50+ REST/SOAP-based Webservices (HMRC)
  • Designed/Developed 2 End-to-end Order-Tracking systems (Owen-&-Minor) 
  • Designed/Developed Flu-vaccine-ordering application (Owen-&-Minor)
  • Designed/Developed Client-facing Spring MVC and RESTful web-services for Multi-million-pounds AFRC-project (Scottish-Government)
  • Designed/developed complete Automated Continuous-Integration/Deployment environment for HMRC; leveraging GIT/Maven/Jenkins/JIRA/SoapUI/SonarQube.