The Dstl graduate scheme recruitment process is a complicated one.  If you are applying for the Dstl graduate scheme, you will have at least three separate interviews, and if you are applying for an experienced hire position there will generally be one combined competency and technical interview. Prepare with us for your best chance of succeeding throughout the process!


Dstl Online Application Form

The Dstl application form is your first chance to show that you have what it takes to succeed in the job role you have applied for. This application form is detailed and includes a requirement to upload your CV as well as completing some competency questions attesting to your particular skills.

Some possible questions include:

  • Please detail any clubs or groups you have been involved in, particularly positions of authority.
  • Describe a recent situation where you have to deal with deadlines that had competing priorities.
  • How do you improve your skills and knowledge through your initiative?
  • Describe a time you led a successful team.
  • Describe your strengths.
  • Why did you apply for this position?

It is important to note that most of these questions have a 300 word limit, so you must pace yourself accordingly.

Throughout the Dstl application form you will be assessed on the key competencies involved in the particular position that you are applying for. Therefore, make sure you really understand the key competencies and skills mentioned in the job profile, know exactly what they mean, and think of ways you have shown each of these skills in the past. Furthermore, we suggest you take a look at our competency questions package to give you a full understanding of how to answer different competency questions in the best possible ways.

Dstl Telephone Interview

If you have applied to the Dstl graduate scheme or apprenticeship you will be invited to take a telephone interview. This telephone interview is a competency based interview and you will be asked about your life experiences and how they influence your decision making process. Some example questions include:

  • Why do you want to join the Dstl?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • Tell me about a time you had to make a controversial decision
  • Tell me about a time you led a team

When preparing for the telephone interview it is imperative that you are fully aware of all the competencies that are required for the application. These are listed on the job description and are different for each position. You should look at each of these competencies and try to think of possible questions that you could be asked. For example, if one of the competencies is “a desire for innovation” a possible question could be: Tell me about a time you have been faced with a problem; how did you deal with it? It is best to prepare the answers in the STAR method of answering questions as this gives a complete picture, demonstrating where you have shown this skill before.

The best way to prepare for an interview is to have a mock one that will put you under similar pressure to what you will actually face in the real one. You can do this with a helpful friend or family member and they can try their best to help you prepare. 

Situational Judgement Test

Before you attend the Dstl assessment centre you will be asked to complete the online occupational test. This test is used to assess your job fit and is commonly known as a Situational Judgement Test or SJT for short. You will be presented with a series of situations that could occur to a person in your position in the company. There are a number of different options available to do in the situation and you have to select the best option possible. This test assesses your ability to act under pressure as well as find out if you think along the lines that are acceptable to the company. You can learn more about these skills with JobTestPrep and even practice taking an SJT.

Dstl Assessment Centre

If you are successful in the telephone interview you will be asked to attend a half day assessment centre where you will face a number of different tasks. These are detailed below.


This is similar to the telephone interview that you have already had. In fact, many of the questions will be similar to ones you have already answered either in the application form or in the telephone interview. As long as you are fully prepared for this interview there is nothing to fear. There are many different interview preparation materials available to you here at JobTestPrep to give you the edge when you come to present yourself in the interview.

Group Exercise

In this group exercise you will be given a brief about a relevant subject. There are assumptions mixed with fact in the brief and you have to discern a path forward. Together with the other group members you have to come up with a thought-out conclusion. The most important focus during this activity isn’t on the actual final product that you come up with but how you present yourself during the activity. You have to show that you can be a leader without being overbearing. You also have to demonstrate the key competencies required for the position you are applying for. See our group exercise package for more detail on the decisions you should be making during this exercise.

Written Exercise

In this exercise you are given a brief that contains several documents packed with information. It is your task in this 45 minute exercise to write a report presenting the information to a group. You are given a laptop to complete this written exercise so make sure that you can type at a good pace. The conclusion of your discussion isn’t a matter of huge importance as long as it is well thought-out. What you need to do is write a complete report with an introduction, main argument and conclusion in the correct form. Prepare for this assessment with our written exercises preparation pack including tips and directions on how to approach this task.

Technical Interview

For many Dstl graduate schemes, you will be invited back to have a technical interview. During the interview, you will be asked to discuss a project that you completed in your final year of university. You have to describe this project and the experiences you went through relating to it; the difficulties and successes you had during it. You will also be presented with a business situation where you will need to demonstrate how you would deal with it.

Prepare for Success 

There are many more applicants than the approximately 250 places available so in order to ensure you perform to your highest level you need to prepare for the interview process. Practice with JobTestPrep today for your best bet at success.