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Explore More Public Service Employers

Follow the links in the table below to learn more about the application and selection process of some known employers.

MI5 GCHQ GLS HMRC
GSS GORS FCA HM Treasury
NAO DWP Sift FCO DESG
Dstl NOMS ABS AFP Graduate Program
AFP Sworn Officers ANAO Civil Service Civil Service Ireland
DAFF  DHS EPSO Finance the Future
Ambulance Victoria GAP Garda Kent Finance Kent Management
NGDP PM&C Public Health Specialists APS

What Is the Hiring Process for Public Service Jobs?

  1. Online application: A large number of candidates apply to public service jobs each year. As a result, many public service employers screen applicants by requiring them to complete a competency questionnaire in addition to submitting their CV and cover letter. The competency questionnaire asks you to provide examples of situations in which you have displayed the personal and professional characteristics that are necessary for success in the job for which you are applying. Carefully select your answers so that you can pass this phase of the pre-employment screening process.
  2. Assessment tests: After submitting your application, you will receive an email with a link to assessment tests. These tests may include situational judgment tests, personality tests, and psychometric tests such as Cubiks tests, numerical tests, verbal tests, and abstract reasoning tests. The specific exam that you will take depends on the assessment companies that are used by the public service. Try to find out exactly what test you will take so that you can practise ahead of time.
  3. Assessment centre: The assessment centre is a day-long evaluation, during which you will need to complete a number of assignments. These may include a written task, aptitude tests, a presentation, a role play activity, and a group exercise.
  4. Interview: No public service hiring process is complete without at least one interview. You should expect to be asked questions about your work experience, your career goals, and your values. Be sure to prepare for the interview by thinking of answers to potential questions, and by making a mental list of five or six points that you want to convey to your interviewers. If you are a recent graduate, you can expect questions about your studies and any relevant projects you may have worked on.

What Assessments May I Have to Take?

Numerical Reasoning Tests: Numerical reasoning tests evaluate your ability to work with data in the form of charts, tables, and equations. Your job is to use the information provided to answer the multiple-choice questions. You need to use your knowledge of basic maths to do so. JobTestPrep can help you prepare for your numerical reasoning test, also called numerical interpretation, with our study guides and practice tests.

Verbal Reasoning Tests: On the verbal reasoning or verbal interpretation test, you will be presented with short texts and must answer three to four questions about each text. These are true or false questions, and the possible answers are true, false, or indeterminable.  

Critical Analysis Test: The critical analysis test evaluates your decision-making and analysis skills. It is made up of five sections, each containing a document. In each section, you must answer a series of true or false questions, and mark statements as true, false, or indeterminable based on the information available.

Job Simulation: Also known as situational judgment tests (SJTs), these tests help employers understand your work-related behavior and decision-making process.  You will be presented with a document that describes a situation and a number of possible responses to the situation. You must decide which response you would choose. It is important to prepare for this type of test, even though they do not test your knowledge, because there are preferred answers for each question. It is helpful to know how to analyse a situation and choose the best answer.


What Will I Be Asked at My Public Service Interview?

Hiring managers in the public service are looking for someone who can fulfil their duties competently display the competencies that are expected of government workers (such as decision-making and problem-solving), and also has the right values, such as diligence, cooperation, and honesty. As a result, they are focused on your attitudes and abilities rather than your work-related experience. You should prepare answers to the following frequently-asked questions for your public service interview:
  • What is your experience so far of the public sector?
  • How did you find the assessment centre/other evaluations?
  • Why do you want to work in the public sector?
  • Where do you hope to be in ten years? And what about in fifteen years?
  • Tell me about a time that you had an important decision to make.