Guide to the Ofcom Graduate Scheme, Matrigma Test and Interview Preparation
Are you thinking of applying to the OFCOM Graduate Programme? The graduate scheme offers many opportunities in a number of different professions. However in order to be offered a place on the programme, you must first pass through a number of stages. This article will guide you through each of these stages, and the preparation you should do to achieve your best score.
OFCOM is the UK’s communications regulator, overseeing everything from TV and radio to mobiles and postal services. Ofcom run a graduate programme allowing graduates to experience the work the organisation does over two years. In order to gain a place on this programme, you must successfully pass through a number of application stages.
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The stages of application are:
There are six strands on the programme: Generalist, Finance, IT, Economic, Technologist or Spectrum Engineering. The different strands on the graduate scheme have different personality and competency requirements, which could mean slightly different tests at each stage.
Online Application FormThe application form is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the organisation you wish to work for. As well as the usual questions about you, your education and work experience, there are three open ended questions. These questions are designed to enable OFCOM to find out more about you, and must be answered within a limit of 1,200 characters. Remember to use every part of the form to its greatest extent, and to prepare your answers in advance to ensure that you provide the best answer possible.
- In your own words why are you attracted to working at Ofcom? Please be specific.
- What unique offering do you bring to Ofcom?
- What are the key challenges facing Ofcom during the next 12 months?
Matrigma TestIf your application form achieves the desired standard, the next stage of the application process is a Matrigma test. As the different strands have different requirements, there may be different pass marks for the same test in each strand reflecting the skills needed for the job.
The Matrigma General Mental Ability Test measures your ability to solve logical problems as well as spot logical connections. The test is a non-verbal test, meaning that the questions contain images rather than words. It is a timed test, with 40 minutes to answer 35 questions. Questions get harder as you progress through the test. Preparation ahead of sitting the test helps you learn how to identify patterns and how to use your logic, thus improving your score. You can also learn how to keep to time to answer questions, and how to manage the questions as they get harder. See how JobTestPrep can help you prepare for the test with our Matrigma style practice tests here.
Telephone InterviewIf you pass the tests you will be invited to book in for a telephone interview. This interview is a competency based interview, asking questions about your abilities and experience against certain skills Ofcom have identified as important to the organisation. You are also asked questions about your academic background. There is time available at the end of the interview for you to ask your own questions of the interviews. Try to think of some questions in advance.
Ofcom behavioural competencies include:
- Communicating openly and honestly.
- Listening with an open mind.
- Making a difference.
- Empowering and prioritising.
- Investing in and supporting our colleagues.
- Genuine collaboration.
Questions which have been asked in Ofcom interviews in the past include:
- Give me an example of when you argued your case.
- Please provide an example of when you worked well in a team.
- Give an example of when you worked to a deadline.
- Provide an example of when you have used your initiative to achieve a better result.
- Give an example of when you successfully argued your case and influenced a team.
Don’t forget to prepare examples to answer these types of competency questions. The best way to organise an answer to these questions is using the STAR method. Read more about the STAR method on JobTestPrep’s pages. As with any interview, preparation is key to improving your confidence and ability to answer questions, some of which may be unexpected or difficult to respond to in live conditions. JobTestPrep’s interview preparation package can help you improve your interview skills.
Assessment CentreThe final stage of the application process is the assessment centre at Ofcom’s offices in London. You will be informed of the exercises you can expect to sit ahead of time, but here are the three most likely:
InterviewThe interview at the assessment centre is the first time you will be face to face with anyone from Ofcom. It is your opportunity to impress, so ensure you prepare ahead of time in order to create that good impression. Questions can focus on your skills, how you relate to Ofcom’s behavioural competencies, finding out more about you, or about your knowledge of the industry Ofcom works in, so make sure you prepare answers to a good range of questions. Review your application ahead of the assessment centre to refresh your memory of what you wrote. Research Ofcom, the work they do, and any cases they have been a part of recently so that you can display your knowledge in the interview. Prepare examples from your previous experience that can be used to answer questions. And most importantly, find a way to prepare in real life interview conditions. JobTestPrep can help you with this last one, with our Skype based interview package.
PresentationThis is an unprepared presentation, in that you are not given the brief of the presentation until you are at this point of the assessment centre. You are given some materials, and 5 minutes to prepare your presentation which you will give over to a panel. You are being tested on your ability to give over information to others in a verbal form. You may not be able to prepare a topic ahead of the day, but you can certainly brush up on your presentation skills. See JobTestPrep’s blog entry on presentations for some guidance on how to do this.
Drafting ExerciseThe drafting exercise is another exercise that you will only receive the details of on the day. A drafting exercise can be anything from an email response to a report. Although you cannot prepare for the exact exercise you will have on the day, you can practice your written skills and review some of the tips for different writing styles. See how JobTestprep’s written exercises preparation pack can help you here.
In SummaryThe Ofcom graduate scheme is a popular graduate programme, and the recruitment process is competitive, with many stages all testing your skills throughout. This article has taken you through these stages, and pointed out the materials available to help you prepare for the tests you will face. We hope you have found this article useful, and good luck with your application.
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