Invited to assessment centre for Finance management development scheme(FMDS)?


I have been invited to an assessment centre for government finance development scheme. This is a graduate role as a government finance professional. I have chosen the home office as my preffered government department. However i have never been to one of these assessment centres so dont know what to expect. Does anyone have any advice for me?

I know there will be four exercises:

  1. Group exercise
  2. Briefing exercise
  3. Written exercise
  4. Interview

I am particularly concerned about the interview as i dont know what sort of questions im going to be asked. IE. how much will i need to know about the home office and will i be asked any commercial awareness questions?

I will be grateful if anyone could help. Thanks in advance.


Don’t know much about it but have a look at [[competency based interview]], [[group exercise]] and [[written exercise]] - all of which are bound to help!


Have you had the interview yet? If so, what was it like?


Yes been to the assessment centre. It wasnt anything like what i expected it to be from reading these pages but i think thats because it asnt for an accounting firm and rather a public sector role.

Group excercise

In this excercise you were in groups of five. Each person was from a different government department and the government was giving a £70m grant to one of the department for a project on to deal with a specific problem caused by gloabal warming. You had to argue a case for your department and then decide between the group which department should get the grant based on certain criterias. ie economic benefits, social benefits.

Brifing excercise-

This seemed very easy at first but was very challenging. Two local jobcentres needed to be relocated as there wasnt enough space in either of them so they were about to fail some health and safety assessment. You had three option:

  • Close both down and open a big one.
  • Open a third.
  • Expand both existing ones.

The problem was that there were 11 pages full of information and you had to pick out the advantage and disadvantages from them. This included figures aswell sosome calculation were necessary and you only had 30 minutes to do so.
Then you had to present your findings to two assessors and recommend one option. I spent all 30 minutes analysing the info and didnt do much ork on constructing my presentation so although i got the info out i felt that the presentation wasnt constructed too well. I also kept forgetting names of people and places in the scenario.


This is probably the easiest interview you could have for a graduate training scheme. No commercial awareness question. No need for much info abouth organisation. All i was asked was questions on 3 competencies; Teamork, planning&organising and drive. Then i was asked why i want to work in public sector and thats it.

Written excercise

Now this was by far the toughest task. You had 16 pages of info about 2 companies who have been bought out by a third and the company was looking to introduce a new training software to train its staff on the services they provided. Four companies were tendering to provide the company with the training software. You had to analyse the four tenders and make recommendationon which is best option based on certain criterias.You only had 1hr 30mins to read and write the report.

I think i messed up badly on this task. There was just too much information to take in and not enough time.


How long ago did you interview - do you think you’ll get an offer?

Is this interview process the same no matter which government department you pick?

Is there an interview stage after this, and what comes before this assessment day - are there online tests for example?!



Had inteview on 27th Nov. Was told that i will no if i got offer in 4 weeks time. Interview process is same no matter what department you choose. No interview after this. Had to do online numerical and verbal test plus a siftability test which tests how you react to certain situations, no right or wrong answer. Application form was the simplest i’ve ever filled in. No competency questions or anything just your details like qualifications and past employment history. All their interested in is that you have a 2:2 degree or above.


Thank you. Really interesting. What the hell is a siftability test?!


It puts you in real life situations and asks what you would do in that situations followed by loads of options and you have to choose 1 or more options. e.g You are an event manager who is managing a huge corporate event. One of your clients staff is overseeing how the event is being run. During the event one of the staff working under you gets into a heated argument with the clients staff. What would you do? (i can remember being asked something similar)

This will be followed by about 7 or 8 statements with possible actions and you have to choose which one(s) you would do in that situation. Idea is to answer honestly and avoid the obviously bad actions eg. Sack your staff in front of the client to make a statement that you value your clients or let your staff deal with his own problems.


Thanks for this - great info!

One last thing. Is there a website for the scheme - I’m trying to find out exactly which government departments run it… I think it’s DWP, DfT and HO, but are there more?


Theres ten different departments:

More details can be found on WEWROTETHEBOOK.CO.UK.


Just out of curiosity, did anyone get an offer for this to start in September 09?