Master the Higher Executive Officer Online Tests With Dedicated Prep [2023]


With only a small number of new applicants accepted every couple of years, getting a position in the Irish Civil Service as a Higher Executive Officer (HEO) is no easy task. If you have two years of experience and with our HEO Assessment Test preparation guide, you will gain the edge over competing candidates and get the job you want. However, you will have to take one of the more challenging civil service tests.

With our complete PrepPack™, you'll get simulated Higher Executive Officer practice tests to ensure you'll ace the real assessment. Familiarise yourself with the SJT, numerical and verbal test formats and get help practising for each and every section, including the numerical test, verbal tests, and SJT (Situational Judgement Test).

Higher Executive Officer Online Test Prep

Sova Practice Tests:

  • 11 Verbal Reasoning Practice Tests
  • 16 Numerical Reasoning Practice Tests

SHL Situational Judgement Test:

  • 6 Graduate Situational Judgment Tests
  • 7 Management Situational Judgment Tests
  • SJT Study Guides
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Irish Civil Service Higher Executive Officer Selection Process

Managed by the Public Appointments Service (PAS), the multi-staged Irish Civil Service Interdepartmental HEO 2023 selection process starts with Stage 1(a) online assessment tests - a verbal reasoning test and a numerical reasoning test similar to what you might find in other civil service tests. If you manage to pass these screening stages, you will get to the interview stages, after which you will be required to take a Presentation/Analysis exercise, eTray assessment and a work sample test.

Higher Executive Officer Recruitment Process

Let’s walk you through each stage of the process so that you can become more acquainted.

The Higher Executive Officer Online Tests

The HEO Interdepartmental 2023 competition begins with called Stage 1(a). The selection process is comprised of two online tests - Sova Verbal Reasoning assessment and Sova Numerical Reasoning assessment.

Both tests are comprised of 15 questions to be answered in 15 to 20 minutes. Both tests are adaptive, meaning that when you answer a question correctly, the next question will be harder, and vise versa, getting a question wrong will lead you to an easier question. Remember, if you are facing a very difficult question, which even seems impossible to answer, that means you are doing great!

Your job is to answer the questions as correctly as possible, while also keep an eye on your timing, as the score takes into consideration how long it took you to answer each question.

If you can, try not to guess, as bad guesses will lead to easier questions and a lower score in the entire test. However, if you feel that you are nowhere close to getting a question right, and you already wasted about a minute on the same question, make an educated guess.

Higher Executive Officer Aptitude Tests

The next stage of the exam will focus on verbal reasoning. The goal is to assess your ability to deconstruct texts to evaluate arguments, draw inferences, and make deductions. Your ability to accurately assess the text will speak volumes about your suitability for the role.

Like all other test sections, our Higher Executive Officer PrepPack closely resembles the style and formatting you will find on the real test.

This next section will focus on numerical data, which is closely tied to your day-to-day duties as an HEO.

The numerical segment will include statistical tables, along with facts and figures. The questions that follow will require you to make correct decisions or inferences from the statistical tables' data.

Our team of experts has gone to great lengths to ensure that every aspect of our numerical reasoning test simulation matches the real test.

Only 10% of candidates pass the first stage of tests - Start practising now to be at the top!

Interdepartmental HEO 2023 Interview

An interview can be an intimidating experience, but with good preparation, you’ll have a great chance at passing the interview stage.

Key Competencies for effective performance at Higher Executive Officer level:

Higher Executive Officer Key Competencies

(taken from the official Public Appointment Service website -

There are a number of important qualities that will be looked at to ensure that the candidate will be capable of getting the job done. Let’s dive in...

Organization: The higher in the chain you go, the more important it is to meet and reach deadlines and targets. Additionally, the ability to mobilize resources and workforce to achieve objectives cannot be overstated.

Clarity: The ability to clearly present information, either verbally or on paper is as essential as it comes and will present itself day to day. As an executive officer, you must always be clear, convincing, and comprehensive. This skill-set will ensure that everyone remains on the same page and committed to getting the job done.

Wide Scope: At times situations will arise that will necessitate greater knowledge, insight, and intuition – like emergencies and unusual scenarios. Do you have what it takes?

Professionalism: If you cannot maintain professionality, you will quickly lose the faith of your co-workers, subordinates, and the public at large.

Understand the Roll: You have to have a full understanding of the job inside and out, including its desired skill and qualities.

Know Yourself: Now do a little self-introspection to discern if your strengths, skills, and qualities match the position. Be honest with yourself.

Prepare to Highlight: Now that you know your skill-sets and qualities match, ensure that you can show via your past experience why this is so.

Connect the Dots: Take your past experiences and tie them directly into the job you are applying for. Show that it fits hand in glove.

Confidence: Make sure you are as confident as possible – practice your interview with friends or colleagues to ensure you speak, smoothly, and sound smart.

Irish Civil Service Higher Executive Officer FAQs

A Higher Executive Officer has four primary areas of responsibility.

  • Policy development and implementation
  • Team management
  • Project management
  • Budget management

Civil Service Renewal Plan: In October 2014, the Government introduced the Civil Service Renewal Plan, for economic and fiscal recovery. The Higher Executive Officers are at the forefront of ensuring that the plan meets its goals and objectives. Moreover, you will have the opportunity and responsibility to contribute to Irelands' future by offering and implementing necessary systemic changes with senior management.

It is important to consider that everything will be on a large scale from the budgets, resource requests, and staff. Ensure that you are a multi-tasker who can successfully deal with immense pressure coming from a wide range of directions before applying to the job.

An HEO's salary starts at €48,028.

The Pay Rate for Personal Pension Contribution goes as follows: €48,028, €49,432, €50,832, €52,233, €53,638, €55,040, €56,441, €58,466, €60,486.

There are several different tools and metrics used in the selection process.

  • To begin the HEO selection process, you will need to complete an online Assessment Questionnaire and other online or paper-based assessment tests.
  • The information you provide within your application form could be the deciding factor if you are shortlisted or not. So, ensure it's at the highest level.
  • In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many companies have switched to Asynchronous interviews (online and automated, in place of the traditional face to face interviews. Well, at least for the first round.
  • Also, be prepared to complete a Presentation/Analysis exercise, as a possible last deciding factor in your candidacy.
  • You may also have to complete eTray, a popular form of assessment for Irish Civil Service. The eTray simulates workplace situations and is replete with relevant background data that you must use to complete the task.
  • The process may also require you to provide a work sample test or any other tests or exercises necessary to help make a hiring decision.

While vacancies can be filled anywhere, the majority will be in Dublin. Those who want to work outside Dublin should keep this in mind when choosing their two preferences.