Hi all. I thought I’d share my experience in applying to the Bank of England here, just in case it helps anyone out!
The process is quite standard: it goes online application to online assessments to interviews and finally an assessment centre.
The application form has the usual contact details and work history and so on, but you also get 250 words for a cover letter. It’s important to make an impression here, as it’s the main flavour they’ll get of you before interviews.
If accepted, you’ll be sent a link to their online assessments. Which ones you take depend on your role. The main one I had to take was their Watson Glaser test. This is a verbal test in which you answer 40 questions in half an hour. There are five sections, which test your ability to evaluate information and draw conclusions from that information, as well as to recognise assumptions.
If you do well enough in the test or tests you’re invited to take, you’ll then have a video interview. If you haven’t done one before, it’s quite an odd format, so do try and get some practice in. Essentially, you’re given five questions in turn with half about 30 seconds to prepare and a minute and a half to record your response. There’s no interviewer, so it feels quite different. It does mean that you can use plenty of notes to prepare some extensive answers with examples for many different kinds of questions that could come up, though.
Finally, we have the assessment centre. This was a long day with a few different tasks.
The first part were the tests. These are the Financial Appraisal test and a written test. The appraisal test is 45 minutes long and involves using a booklet of rules to accept or reject a series of proposals. The further into the test you go, the more rules will become applicable, so it’s important to manage your time carefully and leave yourself time to do the last questions.
The written test is an hour and a half long case study exam, essentially. Given a pack of data, graphs, tables, etc., you’re given a series of questions to be written up as a faux report for your manager. You’ll need to be able to process and analyse the data quickly, as well as be skilled at interpreting it.
Then there was a group exercise. Split into groups of six, we were given a topic for discussion and particular roles in our team. Watched by assessors, we then had to discuss the topics and come up with some conclusions. They key is to be a good team player while ensuring your input isn’t drowned out, and that can be a hard balance to strike.
Finally, I had a face-to-face interview. This was quite a wide ranging and, dare I say, interesting interview. Rather than only talking about the usual things – CVs, experience, why do you want to work here, etc. – it was a bit more in-depth and the interviewer asked questions like ‘do we need physical money anymore?’ and ‘what do you see the Bank of England’s role as in ten years time?’ as well as ‘how might you predict oil prices?’. As interviews go, it was actually quite enjoyable – but my key advice would be to make sure you’ve read widely, both current affairs and more philosophical stuff.
Fortunately, once you’ve made it through that it’s all over, and all that’s left is to wait for the verdict.
If you’ve been through the process, then I’d love to hear how you got on too!