This is post for anybody that is curious about the TfL recruitment process as it’s probably one of the most rigorous out there. I successfully completed the assessment centre following a telephone interview and I’m currently awaiting a final decision on employment.
There’s a lot of post that can be found about the process, but I thought one more can’t hurt. I also saw a lot of the forum post go off topic, so can anybody replying or commenting on this please keep it specific to the CSA training (non-graduate) for the benefit of anybody that may be reading this.
For me the process has been super quick (less than a week between telephone interview and assessment centre), although I had to wait over a month to be notified that my application had been successful - I’d actually forgotten I’d applied.
The entire thing is competency based and takes 15-20 minutes. They will call you to arrange a suitable time to call you for your interview and advise that you find somewhere quiet to take the call. They will have already sent you an email outlining what will be expected of you during the interview, so it’s a pretty good idea to read it thoroughly and if you feel it will help, make some notes (I didn’t, but after the interview wished I had). They’ll ask for a few examples of a time you did something at work - you can find examples elsewhere in the forum but they can be quite wordy so don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat the question. I was interviewed by a really lovely young guy, and they’ll prompt you if they feel you’re not giving them enough information to make your interview as strong as it could be. I 100% thought I failed the telephone interview because there were no facial expressions to read and I kept on forgetting the question mid-answer. Don’t panic and take your time. You’ll be told if you’re speaking too quickly so don’t be too concerned with that either (that’s what made me lose my thread), but I’d also say not to get your hopes up too much afterwards. The majority of people I’ve spoken to agreed that they felt the phone interview didn’t go too well, but as long as you’re friendly and try your best there’s nothing much else you can do! I was then told that they would contact me within 10 working days to let me know if I would be progressing to the next stage. I’ve heard some people get told right at the end of their interview that they’re invited to the assessment centre, but I was not one of these and had to wait 3 days.
They score you on points and I guess if you tick all the right boxes straight off they can do that, but if not I assume they put your application and telephone interview together to see if you’d be a suitable candidate overall.
If you are called to be told you’ve been successful very much like the first stage they will book you in for an assessment and send you all the relevant materials including practice tests and directions to the assessment centre. Make sure you read all the materials as they are very very useful, even more so than the first set. The slots are from between 8am and 10am, and I made sure to get there a good 45 minutes early to give myself time to familiarize myself with the environment. The staff at the centre are incredibly nice (especially the receptionist) and understand how nervous you are.
I went up to the waiting room where there were approximately 30 of us altogether coming in dribs and drabs. Don’t be afraid to talk to each other and crack a smile! I was incredibly nervous but chatting to the other people that were there was really useful as you’re all in the same boat. You’re called in one by one for the first exercise.
I cannot lie, I was completely petrified before, during and after. You’re called into a room, introduced to your assessor and then given 5 minutes to study an underground map, where you are told a particular route is suspended. It’s important to pay attention to things like what the wheelchair symbols mean and I made sure to make a note in my head of the most important interchanges. You’re allowed to write physical notes once you’re in the room but cannot take any in with you from home. The roleplay then began. My customer was agitated and needed assistance with a route. Just try to stay calm, don’t rush yourself and remember it’s customer service you’re being assessed on, not data processing. Don’t neglect your customer, who will be asking for directions but also making comments left, right and centre and trying to engage you in conversation. 10 seconds of deliberation whilst you look for the best route WILL feel like 30 seconds of silence in your head. It isn’t! Most important things to remember here are to be proactive in approaching the customer, listening and making sure you leave them on a positive note. I’m not going to spell out what that means because it’s a customer service role, but you catch my drift.
N/B I’d strongly advise against doing what people say you should do word for word in terms of response and how you handle the situation. I know that almost all of the people I interviewed with had also read these forums and some of them had done things to the letter. Be natural - what works for one person may not work for another. I suspect the assessors can tell when a bunch of people are singing from the same hymn sheet.
After this I was taken upstairs and waited for a good hour. Names were called one by one - if you were called you had not made it through and the day was finished. If you find yourself in this situation keep your head up and apply again sometime! Plenty of people have been hired the second or third time around so try not to take it personally. It’s a very unsettling feeling and eventually there was only a handful of us left. All of our names were called in succession, we were led down the stairs and told we had been successful. Hurrah! In the canteen conversation strikes up easily because of the experience everyone has shared, so at this point we were high-fiving and hugging
- LITERACY AND NUMERACY TEST
I won’t go too into this but you must correct mistakes in a paragraph, there’s a handwriting test and for the maths it’s all based on the job you will be doing. Spotting inaccuracies in tickets, ticket pricing and timetabling. All the information is provided for you but if you feel that mental maths may be a weak point I’d strongly advise getting some practice in as it’s a high pressure situation. The exercises are timed although you are given a sheet of paper to calculate on that isn’t graded.
We were then informed within 10/15mins whether we had passed or not.
- FACE TO FACE INTERVIEW
The final hurdle! It’s competency based again, just like the phone interview. The difference is this is an opportunity to let your personality shine! You’re allowed to take any notes in with you and I can’t really advise you at this stage. Just treat it as though you would any other interview. At this point I think we were all extremely relaxed having been through such a rigorous process, so try to enjoy it and smile!
That’s it! You’re documentation is photocopied and all you can do is wait, as I am now. It’s a terrifying but incredibly rewarding experience, and I already know that if I’m not offered a position I won’t hesitate to apply again. I hope this has helped - I’ve intentionally kept it a little vague in terms of exact questions because:
- They vary anyway
- It’s a really bad idea to get other people’s answers stuck in your head. This is YOUR assessment and YOUR moment!