The Bank That Runs England

Photo from : IBTimes UK

We often hear about the Bank of England in the news. They are in charge of creating financial and monetary stability for the UK. Some of their most important functions include the setting official interest rates, issuing bank notes and regulating the financial industry. Working for The Bank of England is a great opportunity and one that a friend of mine, Fran is about to get the chance to do. Fran is a second year Economics student at Leeds University. She has recently secured a placement year with the Bank of England and will be based in London. Fran was kind enough to let me interview her interview and I was able to learn more about how she got the role. Here’s what she said about the process and some advice if you’re thinking of applying!

What does your role entail?

“I will be working in the Statistical and Regulatory Data Division. This is the department that liaises with firms, private banks and credit providers to collect information on the markets to pass on to other departments, influencing monetary policy and financial policy decisions made by the Bank of England”

What made you apply for the role?

“ I wanted to gain exposure to the financial industry, to see if it is a career I may want to pursue when I graduate. I was also attracted to its location in London as I want to try out living in the City for a year! The bank sells itself as a great place to work, with a friendly environment full of people working towards the same cause, accountable to the British public. I think I will enjoy working towards a cause and target (economic stability) rather than to just earn higher profits”

How many steps were there in the process?

Six steps

–  Application form and CV attachment

– Situational Judgement Test

– Video Interview

– The Banks Gold Test

– Numerical Test

– Assessment Centre

Could you explain a bit about each step?

Application form and attaching CV – “This involved questions like why I would like to work for the bank, experience and where I had demonstrated certain skills”

Situational Judgement Test – “I practiced a few of these tests and made sure I knew the bank’s core values and principles before completing this. It didn’t take very long, maybe 20 minutes max”

Video Interview – “This consisted of 5 questions which I had 30 seconds to prepare for and then either 1 or 2 minutes to answer in front of the camera, recording myself. This felt strange at first but you just have to pretend you are talking to someone and maintain eye contact with the camera! The questions ranged from competency to current issues in the economy”

The Bank’s Gold Test (a case study, comprehension style test) – “This took longer to complete than the other tests as I was given a large amount of text to read and understand regarding costs and logistics, which I then had to use to be able to tackle the questions. This was alright as long as you took good notes and retained the info from the text given”

Numerical Test – “After being invited to an assessment centre I then had to complete a numerical test, which was pretty bog standard. The worst part of numerical tests I found was the time limit on each question which made it difficult to get your head around the data given and work out the calculation”

Assessment Centre – “This was a whole day consisting of an excel test, interview and 2 group tasks”.

“When we first arrived we were taken to a computer room to complete an excel test which I had had no pre-warning about! I didn’t really have much idea about what to do, it was all about using formulas to manipulate data. They gave us a few formulas which I used to do what I could but had to leave the rest of it. They also expected us to interpret patterns and write a little report on this data during the test, which I found easier”

“I was apprehensive about the interview but ended up feeling quite relaxed in the situation. I was interviewed by two employees, one asked me competency questions which were quite ordinary and the other asked me more technical questions focused on economics and what the bank has been doing recently to stabilize the economy”

“Finally, the group exercises required us to manage time and collate information to present and then write a report on what we had found. I think it is important to remain yourself in these tasks and to contribute ideas without coming across too head-strong. Involving quieter people shows that you’re aware of all members of the group and want to hear other’s opinions. We also had to present to the assessors”

Which step was the most challenging?

“For me, I found the process challenging due to the number of stages and the length of the process. Individually, looking back, each stage was okay in isolation but the ‘jumping through hoops’ process is tiring and sometimes demotivating. The tests that firms ask you to take require a lot of practice – if you fail them you often get rejected without your application being looked over. I found that as soon as I had the chance to speak and express myself how I wanted I was more confident and could sell myself to the employer better. The video interview and assessment day were definitely the steps I felt strongest in.”

Any advice for someone looking to apply for the Bank of England or applications in general?

“My main piece of advice would be to not give up and to be resilient. The process used for placements and graduate schemes is tough, and it sometimes seems like the odds are stacked against you. If you fail a test, don’t give up! Practice and practice the tests to get you through to the next stage where your CV and application form will actually be considered and you will be able to show why you’re suitable for the job!”

By Matthew Moore

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