Civil Service Business Behaviours Test

The Civil Service looks for employees with a high ability to handle various situations in a specific manner. Applicants have to sit a business behaviours test before being offered a position. This is also referred to as a business behaviours test.

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The Civil Service use the following tests in their selection process:

  • In-house designed behavioural questionnaire
  • In-house designed situational judgement test
  • In-house designed numerical reasoning test
  • In-house designed verbal reasoning test
  • In-house designed critical thinking test

About The Civil Service Behavioural Questionnaire

Personality questionnaires are a fair and objective way for the Civil Service to assess a wide range of applicants, each having different experiences and different qualifications. By analysing the results of a standardised business behaviours test, the Civil Service are able to quickly see which candidates are suitable for the role and which are not. This sort of information about candidates’ traits is difficult to glean from interviews and qualifications alone, so they use professional psychometric tests.

Often, the Civil Service will ask applicants to take a business behaviours test online, which you can take from home. When the business behaviours test is used early on in the application process like this you will have to achieve goals in line with the Civil Service's before you can progress to the next round. Further along in the selection process you might be asked to attend an assessment centre or interview where you will be asked to sit a situational strengths test again. This is so the Civil Service can verify the person scoring highly in the test is indeed the person applying for the job.

Civil Service Application Process Stages

Here is the typical process for your application to the Civil Service.

Stage 1

Online Application

You will need to complete an online application form, in which you will need to detail your educational history and choose the positions you would like to apply to.

Stage 2

Online Situational Judgement Test and Behavioural Questionnaire

Shortly after submitting your application, you will automatically be invited to take a Situational Judgement test online under timed conditions. The test is quite short, and most candidates complete it under 30 minutes. The second test will be a behavioural questionnaire. You will have 5 days from submitting your application to complete these two tests.

Stage 3

Online E-tray test

If you have met the required criteria to pass the situational judgement test and behavioural questionnaire in the previous stage, you will be asked to take part in an e-tray test. These tests are simulations of an e-mail inbox, and all the material will be relevant to the Civil Service. This exercise will last for 80 minutes. You will get the opportunity to practice a few questions beforehand, and the Civil Service have some useful information here.

Stage 4

Video interview

The video interview is described as a one-way recording. Typically, in a video interview you will be given a set of questions to respond to. You will then use the software provided to record your responses to these questions. You will be asked 9 questions and the interview should take about 30 minutes to complete. Use the freedom here to plan your responses to the questions well, even if that means redoing the recording. You will often get the opportunity to view and check the recording before submitting it. Ensure that your answers are relevant to the questions asked. The Civil Service state that you can record your responses from your mobile phone, tablet or any PC with a webcam.

Stage 5

Numerical reasoning tests

After having successfully passed the situational judgement test, behavioural questionnaire and the video interview, if you have applied for a Finance or Commercial role, you also be asked to complete a Numerical test after this stage. The numerical reasoning tests is provided by Cubiks and will assess your ability to reason logically, and analyse numerical data, which are very important skills to have for any financial position.

Stage 6

Assessment Centre

Once you've managed to win over the Civil Service with your video interview responses, your scores in the SJT, behavioural questionnaire (and the numerical reasoning tests), the final stage will require you to attend an assessment centre and take part in an interview, a group, an analysis and a leadership exercise.

During the group exercise, the assessors will be evaluating how well you form relationships with other, new people, and how you contribute to the team. A detailed guide has been produced by the Civil Service, which can be viewed, downloaded and printed from here.

Civil Service Business Behaviours Test Questions

Like most personality questionnaires, the one used by the Civil Service identifies the personality traits and competencies which you possess. The personality questionnaire will not be assessing your speed nor your accuracy. The answers are multiple choice and there is rarely a time limit. With a small amount of practice you will become very familiar with the types of personality questionnaires used by organisations such as the Civil Service.

Companies are using personality questionnaires more and more in their application process that candidates must go through. A personality questionnaire's report is a good insight into the personality traits and competencies of a candidate. This is important information to decide on a person's suitability for any role in any sector.

The Civil Service use a personality questionnaire called Business Behaviours as part of their recruitment process to help them select the best candidates for a particular role.

So as a graduate or senior candidate applying for a job at EY you might feel like the business behaviours test is an unnecessary hoop to jump through. But you should bear in mind that the Civil Service are asking you to complete the personality questionnaire as much for your own benefit as theirs; if you are not suitable for the role, a psychometric test will usually identify this. Research has shown that psychometric tests, such as those used by the Civil Service, are a better predictor of job performance than traditional selection metrics such as level of degree achieved.

The situations described in standardised situational judgement tests are ones which applicants can expect to face whilst performing the job they've applied for. The difficult aspect comes with identifying the details in the situation, which would help you to choose the appropriate courses of action to take, quickly and accurately within the time limit. Here are a few examples of the most common situations you can expect in your situational judgement test:

  • Unsatisfied customer
  • Stock-related problems, such as delivery
  • Disagreements between work colleagues

Most questions in most situational judgement tests follow a standard format displaying a passage of text, the question and answer options on screen. These can be arranged differently, but each test will stick to the same layout throughout. The question text may contain extra information which adds to what's given in the sequence of images, this might also be necessary to answer the question correctly. You might have to guess which answer option is the next in the sequence, or which options represents a missing step in the sequence. Lastly, the answer options are almost always multiple choice. Multiple choice answers can vary, however. You may have 2 options to pick from, 4, maybe 5, and these will have to be ranked too. The more answer options to pick from, the slimmer the chances are that you can obtain the correct answer by guessing.

Answered questions

Our numerical, verbal and critical thinking packs are suitable for preparing for Civil Service tests and any test used in UK Government. We have practice tests which are the same style as the ones used by UK Government.

The same difficulty as real tests. Generally real employer selection tests don't differ that much in terms of difficulty which is why they compare your score against norm groups. Our practice tests are pitched roughly at graduate level, but this means they are actually suitable for preparing for all levels of job: entry; apprentice; graduate; senior; director.

Yes, and PC, and Linux and smartphone and Android and...everything. Our practice tests will run on all systems and they are responsive so they will work well on tablets and smartphones too!

How many times can I take the tests?

Unlimited. You can take our practice tests as many times as you like; there is no limit. But to be honest, after taking the same test a few times you start to remember the answers, so that’s why we have lots of tests.

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