Civil Service United Kingdom
3.4 of 5 12 reviews
www.civilservice.gov.uk London, United Kingdom 5000+ Employees

Civil Service United Kingdom Interview Questions & Reviews in London, England

Updated Jan 26, 2014
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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Summer Internship Interview

Anonymous Employee
London, England (UK)

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Civil Service United Kingdom in May 2012.

Interview Details – Initial step was applying online - involved timed numerical and verbal reasoning tests, and a psychometric test. These were of a similar level, maybe a little easier, that tests for full-time positions, and had to be passed before you were able to input your education and career history. You also could choose your preferred departments for the placement.

A few weeks after submitting the online part, I got a phone call asking whether I had a preferred interview time or date from a few options listed, before getting an email confirming this time, the department that was interested, and with a bit more information about what to prepare and how the interview would work (panel of 2, advised to find out about how the department works etc).

Interview Question – There were a few competency questions which seemed quite similar, so clarifying before launching into anecdote was useful. Had been asked to prepare and read up on an issue which the department was facing - lots of news and publicity about its work so this was fine - and faced some questions about what I would do differently. There were some scenario questions where you had to argue for and against a position on a given topic.   Answer Question

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Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Fast Streamer Interview

Fast Streamer
London, England (UK)

I applied online and the process took 4 months - interviewed at Civil Service United Kingdom in June 2013.

Interview Details – I applied for the Government Economic Service. There are four stages to the application - initial registration and online tests, full online application, Economist Assessment Centre (EAC) and Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FSAC.) You have one week to complete the preliminary application after you sign up and do the practice tests, one week to take the tests, and one week to complete your full application.

The questions in the application are fairly straightforward and you have plenty of time to think of an answer.

My scheme required two tests, one verbal and one numerical. They advise you practice in advance, which you should do. You don't have to complete the entire test, you can pass it even if you don't reach the last question. So practice, practice, practice and you'll be fine.

Once you pass the tests you are required to complete the last part of the application and then you should be invited to the Economist Assessment Centre. There is an Open Day event which I highly suggest you attend, as they will explain what the EAC will be like, what to expect etc. I found it extremely useful.

The EAC consists of two written exercises which you have to prepare in advance. You will be given a question in your EAC invitation email and material to read in order to answer it (don't be discouraged by the number of documents given to you -- you don't have to read it all to do well.) On the EAC day you will have 30 minutes to answer that question in a technical report (a lot of jargon) and another 30 minutes for a 'plain English' report (you will be marked down if you use jargon.) Take the time and practise writing the two reports. You have to be a writing machine on the day, there is not much time for thinking, to be honest.

You will then take a test where you have to answer 10 questions in 30 minutes on 'first principles' topics. Fairly straightforward and easy to pass (need to get right 4 out of 10 questions), 1st year level. You will then have the chance to explain more or answer questions you didn't have time for, in the interview. This will be an opportunity to gain extra points. You will not be marked down in the interview!

There is also a technical interview, with 2 economists. You will present the 'plain English' report, they will ask you some questions about it (aspects you haven't thought of or haven't properly explained.) Then you will be tested on your economics, 1st year undergrad level. And then you will choose your strongest area of economics and be asked questions on it for about 10 minutes. the interview went quite fast, the interviewers were very friendly and helpful, I didn't feel intimidated at all.

The last task on the day was an exercise counting for the FSAC grade, where you are given 30 or so pages to read and come up with solutions to two problems. There isn't any way you can prepare for this in advance.

If you are successful at the EAC, you will be invited at the FSAC, which is another long and stressful day (around 6 hours or so, but also lots of breaks.)

You will have an interview with one person only, and you will strictly discuss your experience and how that relates to the competences required to succeed. The only thing you can do to prepare is to think about the 6 competences and what experience from your past (personal, school, extracurricular etc.) demonstrates you have that competence.

There is a group exercise where each person represents a different department and they all have to decide on a project to be implemented by the government. Naturally, each department has "most wanted" and "absolutely-cannot-let-this-happen" projects and the group has to agree. Don't be the obnoxious person who interrupts everyone, talks the most, and disregards others. Try to include those shy members, try to acknowledge the other person's view, be flexible and cooperative.

You will have some writing exercises to do. One to brainstorm for 5 minutes and come up with as many solutions for a project. The second, to brainstorm for 30 minutes and prepare a presentation to one assessor about possible solutions to a different problem. Here it is very important to make sure there are ways to implement your solution -- you will be asked about that repeatedly in the Q&A after your presentation if your ideas lack that dimension. The third exercise is similar to the last one of the EAC, in that you have to read a very long document and try to summarise it and take a position about the problem presented. I don't think there are ways to prepare for these exercises.

All throughout the day you have to complete self-assessment forms and rate your performance. Try to be honest -- not too modest, not too boastful -- and take this task seriously as it counts towards your score.

You won’t be tested on your economics at theFSAC.

You’ll receive quite a lengthy feedback on your performance at the FSAC, which is incredibly useful.

Interview Question – "Are there any ideas you've come up with so crazy you've decided not to present them?"
This was asked right at the beginning of my presentation for the brainstorming session at the FSAC. It was unexpected to see that they are looking for such wild creativity.
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Reason for Declining – I did not like the department I was assigned to.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Summer Diversity Internship Interview

Anonymous Employee
London, England (UK)

I applied online and interviewed at Civil Service United Kingdom.

Interview Details – Interview - 2 people. I usually don't like interviews as you have to memorise a lot of stuff and if you're good at bullshitting you can talk your way into anything! But this interview wasn't too much about that - it gave me scenarios of what I would do if this happened, and what my response would be if that happened; I could use my brain and show them how I can problem solve with ease and because it was intellectually challenging I really liked it. They were testing my skills, not my memorising skills.

Interview Question – I could answer all the situational questions but the one that really threw me was how would I describe myself!   View Answer

Negotiation Details – No negotiation! From the start it was stated you get paid £300 a week.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Executive Officer Interview

Executive Officer
London, England (UK)

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Civil Service United Kingdom.

Interview Details – - initial application form, competency based - use examples specifying how you contributed/solved/demonstrated competency rather than generic statements like 'i work in a large retail store and use strong customer service skills every day'
- panel interview in London where competencies from application form are expanded on
- second interview with the senior person whose office you will working in

Interview Question – Due to nature of organisation (civil service) all questions were largely based around the competencies in the job description/application form   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Negotiation is limited as civil service operates strict entry routes (although these may now have been relaxed for senior managers) - everyone is expected to begin on starting salary for that pay scale unless you can demonstrate exceptional experience or industry/technical qualifications

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Fast Streamer Interview

Fast Streamer
London, England (UK)

I interviewed at Civil Service United Kingdom in January 2013.

Interview Details – Online tests, online application form, e-tray, assessment centre.

Interview Question – Intensive competency questioning   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Civil Service Fast Track Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
London, England (UK)

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Civil Service United Kingdom in April 2012.

Interview Details – Initial application process is quite simple using on-line psychometric tests, English tests and maths test. Passing these leads onto a formal exam at a local assessment centre. This was quite easy in my opinion but it weans out the people they really want as roughly 1000 people from the 100,000 that sit the previous exam were carried over for the final assessment day in London.

Final assessment is tough. Starts at 9 am sharp with a series of timed report writing tasks before they throw you into a group exercise. The group exercise can be a shock and was for me so be strong and don't get quite.

After some more report writing tasks you have to do a presentation on a given topic before you then get your interview.

Interview Question – For my presentation I had to promote a government recycling scheme.

Out of nowhere I was told I was to meet a minister and set out to him how I would be able to generate revenue for the government from my scheme. I was aloud one minute to prepare my statement to the minister.
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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Civil Servant Interview

Civil Servant
London, England (UK)

The process took a year or more - interviewed at Civil Service United Kingdom in February 2009.

Interview Details – Psychometric tests - practice maths and reading complex texts.
In tray - learn to prioritise and read and digest quickly.
Assessment day - be outgoing, work well with others, and write essays quickly.

Interview Question – Give me an example of when you have had to work as aprt of a team.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Non-negotiable. Don't come here if you want to get rich; civil servants work for the public good and to work on genuinely interesting issues rather than for great reward!

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