Public Sector Interview Questions

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  • Civil service Fast Stream - Operational Research Service

    4.2857/5 | Interview date: February 2017 | Job offer? Not yet |

    Was this helpful? Yes 11

    Sectors: Public Sector

    Difficulty rating 80.0 / 100

    Interview process

    The video interview took place after successful online tests. The interview was based around the civil service key competencies asking for evidence of leadership, collaborating and partnering, innovation, diversity and working under pressure. 8 questions asked from a pre recorded video and then was given 2 minutes to answer each immediately after. This process was nerve wracking initially but the interview was set up well to ease you into it and feel as comfortable. This allowed me to give accurate answers detailing my experience to the best of my ability.

    Most difficult question

    To what extent are you effective at adapting to changing circumstances? And what evidence do you have?

    Interview tips

    Take your time and try not to concentrate on what anybody else is doing. You are put in a room with 40 other candidates all typing at the same time and can be quite off putting. Try to zone out and concentrate on what you are doing. Also have strict time management. The day is designed to pressure you so try to not think about the last exercise of it went worse than expected.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    The assessment centres are held in both London and Newcastle. Mine was held in London and was given expenses for traveling and staying over the night before. The centre itself was a half day event held in parliament street and consisted of 3 separate tasks. The first was an hour and a half report writing test in which I was given detailed proposals for 2 new government schemes. From this information I had to create a report and a data sheet detailing my advice on the pros and cons of each proposal and my concerns and recommendations. The second task was a group task where we were all given information on 6 different schemes and told separe tasks to argue for. After this we attended a 40 minutes meeting with other candidates and had to decide together which 2 would be implimented. The final task was a leadership expercise/ role play where I had to present for ten minutes to my "senior manager" my plans for taking over a new team and project. This was followed by 30 minutes of questioning and a self assessment.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 3/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 4/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 4/5
  • Graduate Trainee Social Worker

    4.1429/5 | Interview date: April 2016 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 12

    Sectors: Public Sector

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    My one to one interview went really well. It felt quiet informal and mainly centred around my motives and ambitions, and I was asked a lot about my personal experiences that had led to me wanting to train as a Mental Health Social Worker. I had to discuss why I felt Mental Health is an important area of health and social care, and then it was very clear to me that they expected us to ask questions ourselves at the end so it was lucky I had prepared for this and had a few questions ready to spark some discussion at the end of the interview.

    Most difficult question

    "Should a service user be able to chose who their social worker is?"

    Interview tips

    Make sure you've got some relevant work experience before you apply as much of the activities you do will be centred around how you would handle tough situations which you only learn to do by having that background knowledge. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask and really research the area so you have examples and statistics to draw upon when you're in the group discussion and so on.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    The assessment centre day consisted of each of us being give a personal timetable of the day's activities. The first thing was a 1-2-1 interview discussing my motives for applying and my career goals. This was followed by a role play where an actor played the role of a service user and I played the role of the social worker. She played the role of an alcoholic woman who had Bipolar and had had her daughter removed from the family home and I had to try and get her to engage with me despite her hostility and mania. After the role play I went to a reflection room with an assessor to discuss what I had done right and what I could improve on. There was then a written task where you were given a scenario to read and have to answer exam-style questions in the allotted time highlighting key points and actions that could be taken to resolve the scenario. We then had a group debate based on different case studies, and then went off in pairs to be simultaneously interviewed by a service user.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 4/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 4/5
  • Trainee Investigator

    4.4286/5 | Interview date: March 2016 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 4

    Sectors: Public Sector

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    The telephone interview was a relatively straightforward one. It was competency based with many questions probing your previous experiences. Relating to your communication, team work skills. questions ask where what do you understand of the job? Why do you want the job? Tell us about a time you worked with a diverse group of people with conflicting views.

    Most difficult question

    Tell us about a time when you had to resolve a conflict what was the outcome and what was your role in that.

    Interview tips

    I didn't get the job, i'm not sure what they required. However, the assessment center was really well set up, everyone was very friendly and helpful. Prepare as much as possible. for the role play and written test.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    The Assessment center interview was much harder with questions relating to your 10 year plan, what you were doing presently to work towards your ten year plan?
    The assessment center was difficult as it was hard to understand what was really required of you and what was being assessed during the role-play and written exercise.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 3/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • Trainee Investigator

    4.1429/5 | Interview date: January 2016 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 5

    Sectors: Public Sector

    Difficulty rating 60.0 / 100

    Interview process

    The interview starts off with why you want to work for the IPCC, and then there are questions about what you know about the company and its aims - so it is good to do your research. You are also asked questions about what kind of things you expect the role to incorporate, and about your experiences working with people of different backgrounds. You are also asked about examples of problems with communication in your life. BEWARE: They want very specific examples so make sure you have some case studies ready.

    Most difficult question

    Can you tell me about a time when you have learnt something new and then been asked to apply it in your work?

    Interview tips

    Overall, the interviewer was friendly and helpful - but there are times when she was writing notes and so you feel as if you're talking to yourself. Also, be prepared for them to stop you in the middle of an answer in order to get a concise answer from you if you are going off topic.

    Also, the whole process - from applying to being rejected - was just over two months. The next stage of the process was to be an assessment centre, in Quinton, Birmingham, I believe.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    You are given a pin number in the invitation email, which is then used when you call the given number on the day of your interview. After a quick identification check you are put through to your interviewer who explains the process. Subsequently, she said that she did not have the information to answer many of my questions about the role, so I imagine that the interviewers are outsourced and not directly employed by the IPCC.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 5/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 2/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 4/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • Case administrator

    3.2857/5 | Interview date: December 2015 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 5

    Sectors: Public Sector

    Difficulty rating 60.0 / 100

    Interview process

    Arrived at main entrance and after a short wait I was greeted by a home office employee and taken upstairs to an interview room. After they sorted some paperwork I was called in to face a panel of two. They were competency based questions and were quite similar to those I had answered in the initial online application. They asked around the civil service competency framework and asked for examples of how I have shown to have a particular quality.

    Most difficult question

    How would I use my skills and experience of customer service in this role. I found this incredibly difficult to answer as the job I applied for was administration based and mostly individual work with very little contact with other parties. I felt that this question was quite irrelevant to the job I was applying for.

    Interview tips

    Don't be disheartened if you are not selected for interview the first time. Myself and my friends have all applied for jobs here and those who were overqualified didn't get a chance at interview. The initial selection process - I believe - is just luck of the draw. They focus so much on buzzwords also, so read up on those.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    There was no assessment centre for this role.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 5/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 3/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 1/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 4/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 4/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 2/5
  • HR Fast Stream

    3.8571/5 | Interview date: July 2015 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 9

    Sectors: Public Sector

    Difficulty rating 20.0 / 100

    Interview process

    After applying online I completed several psychometric tests, including verbal and numeracy. Following this I completed an E-tray exercise where you given a fake email account and answer emails based on a fictitious scenario.

    If you are successful you are invited to attend the assessment day.

    Arrived at 7.30am to the Assessment Centre in London. There were around 30 of us being assessed that day.

    A series of different assessments judged by a variety of assessors.

    It lasted till about 4-5pm depending on the timetable you were given.

    Most difficult question

    You must have examples to prove you fulfil their competencies. When they interview you they have a check box based on how you demonstrate you fulfil the competencies - make sure you have LOTS of examples.

    Interview tips

    You MUST learn the competencies that they assess you by! Memorise each one, and develop strong arguments/evidence as to how to fulfil each one. It is the ONLY thing they assess you on. No points for personality if you don't fulfil the competency criteria.

    Time management - you will be given a LOT of information to read in the exercises. Think carefully about how you read and select data.

    Try and find someone who has done the assessment day already, ask them about the feedback they received and what they learnt.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    We were divided into groups of 6 and then given timetables for our day. It comprised of:

    - one group exercise - given limited time to read a booklet of information on different policies and your 'views' on them, which ones your supported and didn't support. Then sent into room with your group to argue why your policy was best and come to unanimous conclusion. Assessed by 3 diff people.

    - leadership exercise - given scenario as a manager, given limited time to read information. Then had to present to an assessor, answer qu's.

    - written policy exercise - 2 hours

    - interview

    Throughout the day we have to do our own self assessments on how we feel we did in each exercise.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 3/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 3/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 4/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 4/5
  • Metropolitan Police - Police Now Graduate Leadership Development Programme

    4.7143/5 | Interview date: January 2015 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 223

    Sectors: Public Sector

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    Asked about my main motivations for wanting to join the metropolitan police. This was also evident in a telephone interview I had had prior to being invited to the assessment centre. During the phone interview they also questioned my understanding of the scheme, what I thought it entailed and what qualities and strengths I thought I could bring to the role.

    Following basic competency questions they then asked my opinion of the salary that was being offered for the job and my suitability to the obvious flexibility that would be required to work as police constable, mainly involving shift work. The phone interview lasted about 25 minutes with a member of an external agency who was taking notes throughout.

    Most difficult question

    Describe a time where you have dealt with members of different ethnicities, genders and different age groups where you had to collate to work on a group project. What was the project and how did you cope working with others?

    Interview tips

    Really research the service in great detail, it's not about knowing who's who but more of what they do and how they operate. It really is about commitment and this is not like any other organisation and you have to demonstrate that will and desire to join. Ultimately it is about making a difference to society and that is what is required.

    Know the ins and outs of the job, the specification and what you can add to it. Also research the police mission statement and know what you are saying can be related back to this important statement. All of these will be valued and show that you are dedicated, committed and have a burning desire to join.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    During the assessment centre we were all assessed on an individual basis. The first part was an in-tray exercise whereby we were positioned in a room with a laptop for 75 minutes. During these 75 minutes we had to prioritise a number of different issues and write a report regarding the prioritisation.

    The next exercise was a role play, we were given 10 minutes to prepare for the role play it was centered around the previous exercise and was based on issues within a fictional town but did represent real life situations. The role play was in front of two officers who were acting as assessors.

    From the role play, the next exercise was to present my findings from my in-tray exercise to a fictional Councillor who was having issues that were mentioned. I had to prove to this individual that i had chosen to prioritise the right issues and achieve co-operation from them moving forward.

    The penultimate exercise was testing that involved a laptop 2 x 10 minute tests. One numerical and one verbal reasoning, both were relatively straightforward and similar to those that had been completed before reaching this stage.

    Finally there was an interview that followed suit to the telephone interview, reiterating my motivations for wanting to join, why I valued this unique programme and what I thought I could bring to the role. Again it was about my fit to the job and how they felt I would be able to handle different situations.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 5/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • Procurement Graduate Scheme

    4.5714/5 | Interview date: January 2015 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 3

    Sectors: Public Sector

    Difficulty rating 60.0 / 100

    Interview process

    After submitting an initial application form and undertaking the online assessments, I was then called by a member of e recruitment team from a telephone interview this was based around competency questions and to see if you were suited to the role. Before the assesement day you also had to complete a personality questionnaire which was based around workplace behaviours.

    The assesment day itself was impressive as there were several high ranking people within e organisation present and it really gave you a chance to get a feel of the organisation and what kind of work you would be doing if successful.

    On the assesment day there was a presentation and an ice breaker activity and we then launched into a group activity/one on one interview/ and then a presentation.

    In regards to feedback DHL was great as they informed you of the decision within two days and an offer was given.

    Most difficult question

    Because the role was procurement based a deep knowledge is needed of the NHS supply chain that DHL operate as there were several questions regarding this. Eg " how does this model work"

    Interview tips

    I think it's refreshing and will give other candidates confidence in the fact that DHL employ people based upon how you are as a person. Their graduates all come from several differing backgrounds and discipline so they look for candidates that seemingly offer more as people. Furthermore being prepared is always helpful as in the one on one interviews if you are able to show knowledge that goes that little bit further than other candidates then this will certainly benefit you.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    1. Group task-given a fictional scenario and as a group we had to reason with each other in order to make an informed decision.
    2. One on one interview- as with most jobs of this kind this was based around competent based questions
    3. Presentation- we were given 15 minutes to read over a procurement strategy and then come up with an evaluation and asked to make improvements. We then had 5 minutes to present this to senior members of the procurement team.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 4/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • IPCC - Trainee Investigators

    3.0/5 | Interview date: July 2014 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 56

    Sectors: Public Sector

    Difficulty rating 20.0 / 100

    Interview process

    My interview lasted around 25 minutes. It was quite stop starty, and that was quite unnerving and difficult. I was asked to demonstrate what abilities in my previous experience and education showed I was capable of undertaking a job role in which I would have to communicate with the public under difficult circumstances. I was asked about what I knew about the company, I researched this a lot and am glad I did even though it didn't mean I got this role.

    Most difficult question

    Describe a specific incident of when you had to deal with communication problems in your previous work experience? How did you overcome this problem? What were the results?

    Interview tips

    Be prepared to be interrupted and don't let it fluster you like I did. For my interview they wanted very specific examples of ways you've demonstrated the companies values. A lot of the time I gave too much information and was stopped throughout.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    N/A

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 2/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 3/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 1/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 3/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 4/5
  • NHS - General Management Graduate Development Scheme

    4.7143/5 | Interview date: July 2014 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 15

    Sectors: Public Sector

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    Interview panel of 2 members, consisted of two sections. First was devoted to why I wanted to the NHS, here i had to prove that I knew a lot about the current issues the NHS are facing and show that I was passionate about improving NHS standards, focusing on the patient. The second was experience based, for example "give me an example of a time when you demonstrated the ability to work well in a team".

    Most difficult question

    "Describe a situation when you had to make a difficult decision, what was the outcome of this decision?"

    Interview tips

    Show passion for the NHS and show that you have a lot of knowledge on the current issues that the NHS faces. Throughout the whole process it was essential to always focus on the patient when undertaking any task, each decision made should benefit the patient.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    Had to role play as a NHS manager for the day, had to write various reports, attend a 1-1 meeting with a colleague, a group meeting and another 1-1 which a superior asked you to attend on their behalf.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 5/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 5/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 4/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 4/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5

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