Bank of England Blog: Part Two by Erica Rowell
The Bank of England, which was founded in 1694, is responsible for monetary policy and stability, producing bank notes and the Prudential Regulation Authority which means they hold a different ethos to other financial organisations. They have a culture of collaboration, and support employees to develop professionally and personally throughout their careers with the Bank.
Their interns and employees are assessed with the ‘Vision 2020’ model, which is made up of four assessment criteria: diverse and talented, analytic excellence, outstanding execution and open and accountable. Included alongside these is their mission statement: “Promoting the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and financial stability”.
The application process is the same for both their internships and graduate schemes. This means that someone who is successful in gaining an internship does not have to repeat the application process again when applying for graduate entry.
The Application Process
- On-line application form – it is vitally important to research and understand the Bank, what their functions are, and spend some time thinking about what is attractive about the work.
- Online Test (Blended) – successful candidates will be invited to complete an online test which will assess a range of skills and is a mixture of situational judgement, motivation, numerical/verbal reasoning and analytical skills. It is important to do some practice in advance. The testing provider will provide some practice questions so don’t skip these! Make sure the test is carried out in a quiet space, with no disturbance, because it is important to be able to focus on the test. For example, if you share accommodation with other people it may be worth warning them that you need some quiet time to yourself to be able to complete the test without disruption. It’s important that your only focus during the test is doing your best, and not worrying about background noise etc.
- Video Interview – successful candidates will progress to the video interview. This tests a mixture of technical/commercial awareness and competency. Prepare by reading financial and business news and current affairs particularly if the Bank is mentioned. There is no one recording the interview – it is done through a programme where you are shown between four and five questions, given a short time (one minute) to prepare, and then are recorded (2 – 3 minutes) delivering your answers. There are some simple practice questions at the beginning e.g. favourite film. Don’t skip these as it gives you a chance to check that everything is working, to experience seeing yourself on the screen and check you are looking directly at the camera. Prepare for the questions in the same way as face-to-face interviews. A structured approach is best and the Bank advocates the STAR method. Consider the questions that might be asked: the Bank want to know if you understand what they do, the climate in which they operate, your reasons for applying to the programme and your compatibility with the Bank’s values. As with the online test – make sure you’ve got some peace and quiet to complete this! Keep an eye on timing to ensure your answers are succinct but full, and ensure that there is nothing distracting in the background of the video – a plain background is best.
- Assessment Centre – finally, you will complete an assessment centre which involves 2 group exercises (which will be a mix of soft skills and technical questions). The exercise will be a factual case study e.g. why you should be running a paperless office, and will be carried out in groups of 6. You will be assessed on working as a team as well as the recommendations that you make at the end of the exercise. The assessors are not interested in the dominant characters in the group but in those who can collaborate and encourage the team to be structured and keep to time. The time allowance is usually 20 minutes with a 3 minute presentation. Do check, as part of the exercise, who the presentation is to – the CEO or a client of the company. The Bank will be looking to see how you interact with others, and how you deal with time pressured situations to deliver an outcome. Spend some time thinking about the values they might be looking for, in accordance with the values and mission of the Bank, and have a think about how you can demonstrate and evidence these.
- Final Interview – this will be carried out by HR and a member of staff from the section of the Bank you have applied to e.g. operations, risk assessment, technology. The questions will be a mixture of checking out soft skills e.g. communication, and technical questions. To answer these questions you need to have a good overview of the stream you have applied for as well as the Bank itself.
Remember! You can book a Careers Advice appointment with us through the Careers Gateway.
And for more information on career opportunities at the Bank of England, visit their website here.