The Bank of England runs two types of recruitment processes: Bank of England graduate schemes including the PhD programme, the Bank of England internship and the Initial Entry programme for school leavers; and experienced hires. This article will take you through the assessment processes you can expect with the Bank of England.

Bank of England recruitment processes vary for experienced hires, but there are common elements in all processes.

Bank of England Graduates (including PhD, Internship and Initial Entry) Bank of England Experienced Hires (exact process varies)
Application form Application
Online Watson Glaser test Psychometric tests/ occupational or motivational questionnaires
First stage assessments Interviews
Assessment centre and interview Assessment exercises
Written assessments
Case studies/ Presentation

Bank of England Applications

Experienced hires have a four stage application process: registration, equal opportunities form, CV and covering letter. The cover letter is the most important part of your application as it is your opportunity to tailor your application to the role you are applying to. You only have 250 words allocated to the cover letter, so make sure each one counts. Refer to the requirements of the job you are applying to, and how you will fit in with the Bank of England. Plan and write out your cover letter on a Word document before you upload your CV. 

Bank of England Application Form

Bank of England graduate and other schemes have to complete an application form. This form contains four main sections: personal details; academic details; work experience and competency based questions. The competency based questions are the most time consuming part of the application form as you need to write full answers for each question, including your interest in the area of bank you are interested in working in, and information about you, your experience and skills. The competency questions are complex, asking you to research and think through your answers carefully. An example question includes “what do you think the Bank’s top 3 priorities should be over the next two years?”

Bank of England Watson Glaser Test

If the information on your application form fits the criteria for the role or scheme you are applying to, you are next sent a link to a Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Test. The Watson Glaser test is a verbal based test assessing you through five sections of questions on your ability to recognise assumptions, evaluate arguments and draw conclusions. The Bank of England are looking to use this test to gain an impression of how you would fit in at the bank. The test contains 40 questions to answer in 30 minutes, but the toughest part of the test is the skills you need to employ to achieve a good score. Honing these skills through preparation is key to getting a good enough score to move to the next level. Prepare for the Watson Glaser test with our dedicated test pack.

First Stage Selection Centre

If you are successful at the Watson Glaser test, you are next invited to the Bank of England first stage selection centre, which involves two challenging tests, the financial appraisal test and the written exercise.

Bank of England Financial Appraisal Test

This psychometric test is a problem solving test lasting 45 minutes. The financial appraisal is a multiple choice test, but it is different to any other test you may have taken in the past. You are given a booklet full of the rules you need to apply to accept or reject a set of investment proposals, and a second booklet to fill in your answers. The further you get in the test, the more rules you need to remember. The test is designed to assess your ability to learn new things and apply what you have learnt.

Bank of England Written Test

The written exercise is a 90 minute report based on a case study. In this test you are given an information pack including reports, graphs, tables and so on, and asked to write a report to a senior manager providing answers to a set of questions using the information provided. This exercise is designed to assess your written communication skills, analytical ability, and drive and determination. The economist test for applicants to financial and economist positions also assesses your technical knowledge. The most difficult element of this exercise is time management, as you need to balance reading and understanding the information with completing your answers. Gain more tips and prepare for your written exercise with our case study pack

Bank of England Interview

The number of interviews you can expect depends on the role you are applying to. All roles will have at least one interview, with some involving two or three interviews. Some applicants may have a telephone interview early on in their recruitment process.

Interviews are usually with two members of BoE staff or management. Most interviews are competency based, but may also involve technical questions or questions about your CV. Ahead of your interview, review your CV as well as the area of the company you are applying to. Look at the list of competencies for your job, and prepare examples from your past experience that demonstrate that you have these skills. Use the STAR method to organise your answers to ensure you cover all the important points of your example and tell the interviewers what they want to hear.

Ahead of any interview, research what the Bank of England does and in particular the area you are applying to. What systems and approaches do they use? Are there any wider factors that may impact their work?

Once you have pulled together all the background knowledge, the final step to your preparation is to rehearse delivering your answers. A mock interview such as our interview preparation replicates interview conditions with the added bonus of a trained assessor who can advise you on areas of strength or weakness.

Bank of England Interview Questions

The questions you can expect in any interview are a mix of competency questions and technical questions. You are advised to prepare on the wider issues affecting the BoE. You should also prepare questions to ask of your interviewers.

Some example Bank of England questions are as follows:

  • What is the future of the Bank of England?
  • Why does the Bank of England care about house prices?
  • Technical questions on inflation, interest rates, core purposes, the concept of money
  • What is your opinion on the winter fuel allowance?
  • Is there any need for physical money with all the other payment options now available?

Bank of England Assessment Centre

Applicants to all graduate schemes will be invited to a half day selection centre as the last stage of the recruitment process. Experienced hire applicants may also be invited to a set of assessments at an assessment centre.

The Bank of England graduate schemes (including Internship, Initial Entry and PhD schemes) assessment centre involves an interview and a group exercise.

Graduate Second Stage Assessment Centre Group Exercise

In this 30 minute exercise, a group of four applicants are given a discussion topic as a group, with individual roles for each member of the group. Your task is to represent this viewpoint in the wider discussion, and then come to an agreement as a group. You are watched throughout the exercise by a team of assessors, who are looking at your ability to communicate and work in a team. As an applicant you need to balance between listening to others, and speaking up when you don’t agree with something, and contributing to the discussion. Gain more tips about how to approach a group exercise on our site.

Experienced Hire Assessments

Experienced hire applicants may find that their assessments include:

Seminar/ Presentation

  • You may be given a topic ahead of your assessment centre to prepare a presentation to a group of assessors. 
  • Economists may be asked to deliver a seminar or presentation on a paper you have worked on, or a relevant economic policy issue.
  • Project Management (and others) may be asked to present on a case study. Gain more tips on how to prepare for a presentation with our advice pages.

Bank of England Psychometric Tests

Analytical roles as well as clerical and administrative roles will usually be asked to take some psychometric tests. You will be told which tests you will need to take during your recruitment process, but here are some of the tests you may come across.

  • Verbal reasoning tests assess how well you understand written information. They can vary from comprehension tests to tests requiring deeper analytical skills to answer each question.
  • Watson Glaser test is a verbal based test which assesses your critical thinking skills. It is used for all graduate scheme recruitment. Learn more about the test and prepare with our dedicated Watson Glaser practice pack.
  • Numerical reasoning tests examine your ability to apply numerical information to your work. You need to be able to carry out a range of mathematical calculations in order to answer questions.
  • Abstract or inductive reasoning tests are non verbal tests designed to assess your problem solving skills as you choose the correct option to complete the sequence.


In Summary

If you have passed through all of the stages above, the chances are good for you to receive the prized job offer. The key to getting this far is to be fully prepared for each new assessment. This article has set out the resources available to help you do just that and take your application up to its fullest potential.