Guide to Finance the Future Recruitment Process, Tests and Interviews Preparation

Are you applying for a graduate position with Finance the Future, the Local Government graduate finance programme? In order to be one of the lucky people who claim a place on this scheme, you will have to successfully pass through a variety of testing stages. In this article we will go through each of these stages, and the materials available to help you prepare.
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Finance the Future is the new name for the London Treasurer’s Graduate Finance Programme, reflecting that there are now other councils participating in the scheme. Candidates now have the choice between 15 London Boroughs and the GLA, East Midlands, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire and East Sussex councils. The aim of the scheme is to train graduates to become Local Government finance professionals, whilst gaining a CIPFA qualification at the same time. This article will take you through the challenging recruitment process step by step.

Stages of recruitment process:

Running throughout the entire recruitment process, are a number of skills and behaviours considered key for successful performance as a finance trainee.

They are:

  • Planning & organising
  • Teamwork
  • Communicating/ influencing
  • Analysis of data and information
  • Problem solving
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Organisational/ cultural awareness

Application Form

The application form is your first opportunity to introduce yourself as a candidate for the Finance the Future scheme. As well as the usual requests for information about you, your education, and employment history. In addition, there are four behavioural questions for you to answer. These questions are looking for your responses based on some of the key behaviours listed above. You have a 300 word limit to each answer, so don’t forget to plan your answers in advance and ensure that every word you include counts.

The behavioural questions are:

  • We are interested in finding out more about why you have decided to apply for the Graduate Finance Programme.
  • What has motivated you to apply for this particular finance trainee scheme?
  • Why are you interested in a career in public sector finance?
  • What do you think the key challenges of the scheme might be?
  • Tell us about one current issue in the public sector that you think is particularly important.
  • Why is this issue particularly significant?
  • What do you think the impact of finance might be with regards to this issue?
  • Describe a time when you were part of a team that was not working effectively.
  • How did you ensure that the team met its objectives?
  • What contribution did you make to the team?
  • Describe a time when you identified a process or procedure that could be improved.
  • What did you change?
  • If faced with the same situation again, what would you do differently?

Online Numerical Reasoning Test

The next stage of the application process is an online numerical reasoning test. Numerical reasoning tests assess your ability to analyse numerical data in order to gain information. The tests are generally time limited. You may be allowed to use a calculator in these tests as well, so ensure you refresh your memory about using a calculator with JobTestPrep’s guide. Practising ahead of taking the test will help you sharpen your skills and learn how to answer questions quickly and accurately. The test is provided by CEB’s SHL, so see how JobTestPrep’s SHL style practice packs can help you improve your score.

Telephone Interview

If you pass the online test, you are next invited for a telephone interview. This interview will further explore some of the information on your application form, as well as asking more behavioural questions (see the list above). These questions are essentially competency questions, and the interviewers are looking for you to provide examples of where you have displayed these competencies in the past. The STAR method will help you organise your answers. See JobTestPrep’s STAR method pages to find out more about how to answer in this way. The telephone interview has some advantages over a regular interview - you can wear comfortable clothing, and keep your answers written out in front of you, but it can also contain the same pressure as an interview when it comes to answering questions. JobTestPrep’s Skype based interview package can help you gain real life interview practice, and give you feedback for you to use in interview. For more information, see our website here.

Telephone Interview Questions

  • Give an example of when you had to plan something extensively.
  • Give an example when you had to solve a problem/ overcome a huge goal.
  • What do you know about CIPFA/ Why do you want to study the CIPFA qualification?
  • Why are you interested in this role?
  • What finance issues, problems or challenges do you think you will face in this role?
  • Why would you be suited to this role?

If you are successful in the telephone interview, you will now be invited to an assessment centre.

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