About the Department of Work and Pensions

The Department of Work and Pensions is one of the most hands-on of Government departments, with a number of different customer facing roles from benefits and unemployment assessments to pensions delivery. DWP recruitment look for candidates with the best set of skills as assessed by the various tests and interviews you will experience. Preparation is key to ensuring that you are one of the successful candidates. Learn how to shine in this tests with the resources set out on this page.

The DWP recruits according to its interpretation of the Civil Service competencies or desired skills. Ahead of starting your DWP application form you should familiarise yourself with these key skills, and then refer back to them at each stage throughout your recruitment.


DWP Application Form

The DWP application form is your first stage in the recruitment process. As well as the usual questions about you, your education and qualifications, the application form contains a set of competency based questions. The recruitment team are looking for specific examples of where you have met each competency listed. Make sure that you answer each question fully, and plan your answers to ensure that you do not miss out any important details.


DWP Sift Online Test

Some recruitment processes will include the Civil Service sift or situational judgement test. In this test you are given a series of scenarios and questions and multiple choice answers to read through. Your task is to choose what you consider to be the best response to the scenario. Whilst DWP suggest that there are no wrong answers, some responses are considered to be more appropriate than others, and it is those answers they are looking for. The key to choosing the correct answer is to think about the DWP competencies and how someone with those skills would respond. You must answer a significant number of questions in the most desirable way in order for the recruitment team to consider your application form. Taking practice tests gives you the understanding needed to identify the most appropriate response. Prepare for this test with our situational judgement test practice pack.


DWP Online Tests

Applicants to some positions may be asked to sit verbal and numerical reasoning tests, as well as competency or SJT tests at this stage. You must achieve a minimum pass score for your application to be considered to be taken further. Your scores are ranked in merit order, which means you are pitted against your fellow candidates, and must do well to get a good position on the list. You only have one opportunity to sit the test, and you must sit the test or tests in one go. Therefore preparation is imperative to ensure that you are able to progress to the next stage.

Numerical Reasoning 

This type of test assesses how well you understand and apply numerical information and data to your everyday work. You are given information in a table or graph and asked questions which require you to carry out various calculations before you can choose the correct answer from a list of choices. Learn more about these tests and how to prepare for them with our numerical reasoning test practice packs.

Verbal Reasoning 

On this test you are examined on your understanding of written information. You are usually given a passage of text and asked questions on what you have read. Many verbal reasoning tests follow a true, false, cannot say format, whereby you have to determine whether the statement can be verified based on what you have read in the text. These tests can be stressful as they ask you to read and pick out information in a very short time frame.

Situational Judgement Test

This test is similar to the test above, and can be prepared in the same way. On this Situational Judgement Test you are asked to imagine you are a “manager” and answer questions accordingly. This is recognition that you have to manage something in your work life, from your time and workload, to decisions in your job.

DWP Interview

If you are successful in the online tests, the next and often final stage is a panel interview with two or three interviewers. This interview is competency based, with an additional emphasis on evidence of your communication skills. Ahead of the interview, review DWP’s interpretation of the Civil Service competencies, as well as the job description of the role you are applying to. Prepare examples of where you have used these competencies in your work, or personal life, including home, social education or voluntary work examples. Think of examples for each competency, and structure your answers using the STAR method (situation, task, action, result). The interviewers are looking for detailed answers from you, so be ready to tell them everything they are looking for.

You may take (brief) notes into your interview. Once you have done all of your preparation on your own it is advised that you have a mock interview to pull together your answers. 


Prepare for the DWP

DWP will interview all candidates before they offer any jobs, so there may be a delay between the interview and hearing from them.

Recruitment to DWP is very specific and focussed on getting the best applicants for the job, as determined by the civil service competency framework. In order to succeed in your application you will need to ensure that you prepare thoroughly for each test. Prepare with JobTestPrep for your best chance at success.