Applicants to the Kent Graduate Programme Management Stream need to demonstrate that they have the following skills throughout the application process:

  • Outcomes and delivery
  • Truth and judgement
  • People and partnerships
  • Conversation and compassion

Application Form

The application form is the most important consideration when deciding whether to invite you to the next stage. The recruitment team will only use the information on your application form to inform their decision to shortlist. Before starting the application form, read the job description and person specification so that you know what the recruitment team are looking for in a candidate. When filling in the application form, provide examples from your past experience (work, academic or other) to demonstrate that you have each required skill.

The application form contains a series of questions each with a word limit of 250 words. Plan your answers in advance to ensure that you are economical in your answers and include all the information you want in your answers. Use examples and organise them with the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

→ Motivation and previous experience

  • Why would you like to build a career in the public sector?
  • With reference to the criteria, what experience or transferable skills do you have that you could use and develop during this programme?

→ Communication skills

  • Give an example of a situation when you have successfully communicated an idea or opinion and been able to inspire and lead others.

→ IT Skills

Provide evidence of the IT applications and web tools you use regularly and how you apply them.

→ Skills and abilities

  • Describe a project you have designed and implemented. Your answer should include how you structured the project and its outcomes.
  • Give an example of a time when you have solved a difficult or challenging problem by using your initiative.

→ Partnership working

  • Describe a situation when you have developed a good working relationship with a group or team in order to achieve a specific objective.
  • Please give an example of a time when you have balanced multiple responsibilities and shown that you are capable of successfully combining the work placements and further study required of this programme.
  • This role requires travel around the county at short notice. Describe how you will achieve this.

→ Please provide any other information you feel is relevant to your application.


Online Aptitude Tests

Following on from the application form, you are asked to complete a verbal and a numerical reasoning test.

Verbal Reasoning Test

A verbal reasoning test assess your understanding of the written word. In the most common verbal reasoning tests, you are given a short passage to read and you are then asked to answer questions on it, examining how you comprehend the information and analyse it and interpret it further. Questions are usually multiple choice, or ask you to decide whether a statement is true, false, or you cannot say based on the information in the text. The test is time limited, ensuring that you have to be both fast and accurate in order to gain a good score in the test. Taking practice tests like JobTestPrep’s verbal reasoning package help you familiarise yourself with the format, sharpen your skills, and develop techniques to help you answer questions quickly and accurately.

Numerical Reasoning Test

The numerical reasoning test aims to examine your ability to understand and analyse numerical information presented in the form of a table, bar or chart. You are asked questions requiring you to make calculations (usually the four basic operations, percentages, ratios or proportions) on the information in order to choose the correct answer from a list of choices. You will be told in advance if you can use a calculator in the test. The test is time limited, increasing the pressure you may experience in the test, although taking practice tests can help you reduce this pressure by giving you an understanding of what you need to do in the test,and helping you remember skills that you may not have used recently. Prepare with JobTestPrep’s numerical reasoning packages to improve your score.

Assessment Centre

If your application form and assessments are among the best in the cohort, you are next invited to an assessment centre. The assessment centre contains three activities, mixing up both individual and group activities, and testing your skills in a variety of ways. You will not be told in advance what the tasks will be, so it is worth preparing general skills that you can apply to a range of activities on the day.

The assessment centre activities may include:

Written Exercise

The first activity at the assessment centre is a written exercise lasting an hour. In this exercise you are give a set of papers with information about a project. Your task is to read the papers and then prepare a report based on a set of criteria. A past example of this exercise is a decision making exercise involving development proposals for a town centre. The task in this case was to advise which option for development seemed the strongest based on the mix of development and a set budget. Ahead of the assessment day, learn more about case studies, and brush up on your written exercise skills with JobTestPrep's written exercises preparation.

Group Exercise

The next activity is a group exercise lasting approximately an hour. In this exercise you, as a group are given a brief to discuss and come to an agreement over. A past example involves a brief of a grant planning committee with the role of discussing a set of grant applications and deciding which six grants to approve. During the exercise you are assessed by an interviewer on how you relate as a group and how each member takes his part as a member of the team. Gather tips for a group exercise with JobTestPrep.


The final activity at the assessment centre is a presentation. This exercise is based on the first exercise, and you are given 20 minutes to prepare a 10 minute presentation on your report. You will then be asked questions for 10 minutes on your presentation by the panel. Extending the case study from above, the activity is to prepare a presentation outlining your recommendations on a development plan for the town. See how JobTestPrep’s presentation advice can help you prepare for this activity.

Final Interview

The final stage of the recruitment process is an interview with members of the service areas around the council. The interview is an opportunity for you to present your skills to the recruiting team, but they will also be looking for evidence that you have considered your choice to apply to Kent County Council. Some questions in the interview may be policy based reflecting the roles involved in the Management Stream.

In order to prepare for the interview, read up on the council and it’s latest policy decisions, finances and responses to the national environment. Consider management techniques that you would employ in a range of situations. Read the job description and person specification for the role, and list examples from your previous experience that could be used to illustrate your answers, particularly on the core skills needed for the role. Organise your answers using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). 

In some cases you may be called back for a second interview.

Prepare for Success

Offers will be made on the basis of your performance in all the assessments. Competition for places is high all the way through to the end, for example one year 25 candidates reached the final interview stage for four positions. You therefore need to be prepared and ready for each new test. Prepare for the task with JobTestPrep and see success!