Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Interviews for Top Jobs at Ofcom
- Contractor (1)
- Policy Manager (1)
- Economist (1)
- Graduate Scheme - Generalist Track (1)
- Senior Telecommunications Specialist (1)
- Generalist Graduate Scheme (1)
- Spectrum Technology Analyst (1)
- Interview Details
The organisation is always looking for economists, with recruitment being done 2-3 times a year. Interview had a few competency based questions (tell me an example of how you... worked in a team/dealt with a conflict/made your case) but the main ones are professional. Be well prepared and familiar with topics in micro economics. Read some Ofcom consultations online ahead of the interview.Interview Questions
Negotiation DetailsOfcom does not negotiate salaries for entry level and mid level positions. Take their offer or leave it.Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceDifficult Interview
- What are the risks in getting new competitors into the mail delivery business alongside the royal mail? What solutions would you offer to defend the Royal Mail from becoming unprofitable? Answer Question
- What are the disadvantages of letting the free market solely determine competition in the telecom industry? Would it be better to regulate prices instead? Answer Question
- Some would say that a monopoly is the reward of increased production efficiency. Would you agree? Answer Question
- Do cases of reverse price discriminations decrease market efficiency / social welfare? Do cases of first degree discrimination do that? Answer Question
- Should the regulator always oppose monopolies? Why? (Answer: not in the case of natural monopolies). Follow up - define a natural monopoly. Answer Question
2 people found this helpfulApplication Details
I applied online. The process took 3+ months – interviewed at Ofcom in April 2014.Interview Details
The application for the graduate scheme was at the end of December 2013. In February I got sent a Matrigma test to do online - this is a non-verbal reasoning test, which revolves around pattern recognition. I would advise you to try the practice inductive reasoning test that you can get on the SHL website. Also, questions at the beginning of the test are a lot easier than the questions towards the end, so try to do the first few questions as fast as possible
Later in February we were asked to write an essay titled: ‘In the internet age where you can access any content at any time, the regulation of television and radio content is no longer possible, desirable or realistic.’ We had to discuss this in 1,000 words. I was questions on the content of this essay in the assessment centre (I'll come to this later). I had about 2 weeks to write the essay.
In April I attended an assessment day, which lasted from around about 9.30am to 3.30pm. It consisted of a competency interview with two ofcom staff. This was followed by a written exercise. A lunch break (which included a presentation from HR, detailing a bit more about Ofcom does and what the graduate scheme would be like) Then a presentation exercise before another two Ofcom staff members.
The interview was filled with fairly standard competency questions. It is a quite a dry interview session, since all the interviewers do (who are not HR, but Ofcom staff from a variety of different departments) is ask questions - they will not ask follow up question whilst you answer and they will not provide any clarification on the questions - they simply take down your answer. Oddly, I was not directly asked any general questions such as why I want to work for Ofcom or what skills/experiences I have that make me suitable for working at Ofcom. However, it did begin with "what does Ofcom do?" - which I really should have prepared more for this... so I would advise you are ready to list Ofcom's key responsibilities and departments... also I believe that this is the opportunity to explain why you want to work for Ofcom and why you would be good at it. Other questions were assessing various skills and required that you answer with reference to your past experiences - questions such as "outline a time when you had to resolve a conflict", "say a time when you had to work as a team to overcome a challenge", "when have you had to persuade a team member to change their mind"... etc..
After that we where given 2 hours to handle two exercises - it was our responsibility to use time appropriately.
There was a written exercise that had to be handed in at the end of the session. This involved reading an official Ofcom report (about 4 pages) on nuisance phone calls as well as a report produced by an academic from the LSE (about 10 or 12 pages). The scenario was that we needed to summarise the key facts on the subject for a head of department who is facing a parliamentary select committee, explain what nuisance calls are, what ofcom is doing about and what else ofcom could do in the future. We were told that this summary should not exceed 2 sides on handwritten A4.
We also had to write a list of question/topics that we would research into further, in order to gain information that would assist the head in the parliamentary select committee meeting.
I decided to allocate a bit over an hour to the two written exercises. I probably spent a about 5 to 7 minutes on the list of questions part. I spent the rest of the time on the presentation. We had to read some papers on the prevalence of mobile phone signal throughout the UK. The presentation that you prepare is to last only 5 minutes (which is really short, considering the amount of information), you are then questioned on the report in detail, for about 15 minutes. I think we had to say what ofcom can do and has done to expand telephone signal throughout the UK (e.g. conditions attached to licences, gathering and presenting relevant data to national and local governments)
It is also good to read up on any major deals/mergers/licence-awards that have occurred in the telecommunications industry in the past 6 months, so you can refer to them in order to support your arguments. Also, a bit of research to have a small passing knowledge of competition policy and spectrum would not hurt.
In the second part of the presentation I was asked to speak about my 1000 word essay on the internet age... essentially you are asked to succinctly summarise your key arguments as outline in the essay... then you are questioned and challenged on various points that you have made in the essay. Unlike the first interview, the presentation assessment is highly conversational.
I had mixed feelings about how I did on the assessment day... but I got an offer, which I accepted, so I will start on the graduate scheme in a few months.Interview Questions
Negotiation DetailsAs it is a graduate scheme, there was no negotiation process... it was simply a matter of accepting the salary and the perks that they listed on the website. That said the pension and list of optional benefits look fairly impressiveAccepted OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
- None in particular spring to mind Answer Question
- Application Details
I applied through a recruiter – interviewed at Ofcom in May 2013.Interview Details
It started with a screening interview with a recruitment consultant, then a phone interview with the company, and after that a first real interview (around 60 minutes) with people in the team followed by a final interview with the director + two more people. I was asked to write short memos of regulatory topics as writing samples.No OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
- Application Details
I applied online. The process took 4 weeks – interviewed at Ofcom in September 2011.Interview Details
2 rounds of interview, one telephone and one face-to-face. I submitted CV and covering letter via Ofcom's online application system. The HR replied me within a week, and got telephone interview in the following week. The telephone interview includes CV screening and basic technical questions that are related to the role. The face to face interview involved more detail technical discussions about wireless network in general, for example interference issues and spectrum management issues. I was asked to give 15 minutes presentation about my PhD research. A 10-minute questions time was followed after the presentation.Interview Questions
Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
- Explain interference issues between two different wireless network. Answer Question
- Application Details
The process took 3 days – interviewed at Ofcom in November 2010.Interview Details
Interview through agency initially.
First interview with manager, second interview manager and senior manager.
Questions were competancy based, so looking for evidence.Interview Questions
Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceDifficult Interview
- Give me an example of how you have dealt with a difficult customer? Answer Question
3 people found this helpfulApplication Details
I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks – interviewed at Ofcom in February 2010.Interview Details
Initial application conisted of an online application form. This involved giving a work history, grades, list of modules taken at university, and three questions.
The questions were:
1) Describe why you would like to apply for the Ofcom Graduate Scheme and also your particular interest in the specific pathway you have chosen
2) Describe why you chose to specialise in your degree subject and how your experience in gaining this qualification will help support you on the Ofcom graduate programme
3) What do you feel would make you particularly well suited to the Ofcom graduate programme and the organisation as a whole?
About a week after the closing date for applications I was invited to complete online verbal and numerical
aptitude tests. The tests were done with SHL. Bit of a nuisance with signing in to the SHL site. Password given to me wouldn't work, SHL site said to contact Ofcom, but being a Friday evening I got no response until Monday. Ofcom were quite good about it though in that they allowed an extra day to do the tests (the deadline was Sunday). However, I can't remember how I went about it now but I did manage to get into the SHL site over the weekend and complete both tests on time. I don't think I performed too strongly in the numerical reasoning one, but evidently I did well enough as I was invited to an interview.
The phone interview was about 10 days later. Was told in advance that it was a competency based interview. The interview was 30mins max and involved 4 questions and a chance to ask questions yourself. Fairly typical competency questions along the lines of - an example of when you argued your case; worked well in a team; worked to a successfully to deadline; used your initiative to achieve a better result. If you're well rehersed in comptency questions and comforatble with this kind of interview you should find it quite easy.
That said, I thought I had prepared for the sort of questions that came up, but I left kicking myself for not giving as good an answer to a couple as I could. I think it was the fact it was a phone interview that really did it. It was the first time I had done one over the phone, and whilst it's great in that you can have a prompt card with you and also make notes, I found it odd not being able to see my interviewers, so I think I may have made the mistake of speaking quite fast, not giving the right ammount of info etc. Also, bit of a palaver at the beginning with the phone - they rang my mobile but the sound quality was terrible (having two people on speaker their end really doesn't help...) so they rang my landline no. which I had the handset to with me, but then it cut out as soon as they rang - argh! Then I had to dash upstairs to get the over handset from its charger. Not the best way to start an interview.
So, as long as you don't encounter embarrassing problems like that and are practised in comptency questions and are comfortable with the phone interview set up, the interview shouldn't be a challenge at all.
I would advise to think of some decent questions to ask them. I hadn't really anticipated how much time there would be for this, there is quite a bit and they said it wouldn't be used as part of the screening process, it was just a chance to speak to Ofcom employees. So take advantage of that. They also asked questions about my academic background, asked what a certain module involved. Was ok, but didn't really like her tone of voice much - more of a negative inquisitive tone, than a positive one... hard to explain. Meeting in person, would have perhaps given a clearer impression of the kind of employees and organisation it is.
Overall, feel pretty ambivilent. Would be nice to make it through to the next round, but can't say I'm too fussed either.Interview Questions
No OfferNeutral ExperienceAverage Interview
- Give an example of when you successfully argued your case and influenced a team. Answer Question
- Application Details
I applied online – interviewed at Ofcom in February 2010.Interview Details
The interview process was thoroughly professional and I really felt that I was joining a regulatory environment where I could add significant value to their projects and programmes in the areas of regulation of the telco industry and provide valuable input in all areas of technical compliance.Interview Questions
Negotiation DetailsThere was nothing on the table for negotiation. Salary and benefits were all fixed and as advertised in the job advert placed in the daily telegraph. Additional benefits such as the provision of an interest free loan to buy a rail travel ticket, repayable in 12 monthly amounts were only offered after accepting the job offer. Being registered as a chartered engineer since 1979 clearly went down very well with the interview panel of senior civil servants.Accepted OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
- How long do you see yourself remaining interested in the business of technical regulation in the telecommunications sector? View Answer
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