Discover IEUK: Your launchpad to career success

Join us from 17th - 20th June for a transformative 4-day virtual internship experience! Applications are now open. This unique opportunity offers you the chance to take part in real-life case studies and workshops, as well as network with top employers - including British Airways, BT Group, Clyde & Co and PwC. Don’t miss out!

Recruitment Hints and Tips

Book open Reading time: 4 mins

Online Tests

The online numerical reasoning test is designed to assess your ability to evaluate, analyse, and interpret numerical information encountered in the modern workplace.

The numerical test we use is time recorded not time limited so you can spend as long as you like on each question. However, both your accuracy and the time taken will contribute towards your overall score.

  • Let us know if you need any reasonable adjustments BEFORE you start the test.
  • DO NOT use a mobile device to complete the test – use a laptop or desktop so you can view the test on a large screen.
  • Make sure you are in a quiet location where you will not be disturbed.
  • Have a calculator, pen and paper available.
  • Take a practice test before completing the real test as this will give you a feel for the types of questions asked. It is a great way to prepare, helping you relax and perform to the best of your ability.  You can try a practice test via this link Assessment Demonstration (
  • Work quickly and accurately and try to avoid wild guessing.

Competency Questions

If you successfully pass the numerical reasoning test, you will receive an email asking you to complete our competency questions. 

A member of the team reads every application we receive and screens it against our criteria, so this is your first opportunity to show us that you are right for this scheme.

When completing the competency questions, please consider the following guidance:

  • Read the questions carefully and thoroughly before you start.
  • Ensure that you answer all questions in full sentences unless otherwise stated and stay within the word count.
  • Use examples from your previous experience where appropriate. You may wish to use examples from outside of university such as work experience, part-time jobs, or perhaps extra-curricular activities you have been involved in.
  • Be as specific as you can to provide as much detail as possible.
  • Take your time. We may turn down potentially strong candidates at this stage because their applications lack detail and quality.
  • Before submitting your competency questions, read through and check it carefully. This is your chance to correct any mistakes and to include additional information. Applications cannot be amended once submitted.
  • Keep a copy of your submitted responses so you can review it before any interview that you may be invited to.

When completing the competency questions, you may find it useful to consider and apply the following:

  • Situation – What was the context of the situation? Who was involved? What was the task/project? Why did this occur?
  • Actions – What actions did you take? Why did you do this? How did you ensure success? What resources did you draw on?
  • Results – What was the outcome?
  • Feedback – What feedback did you receive after the event, if any? What did you learn from the situation? What would you do differently next time?

Telephone Interview

If you pass the competency questions, we will invite you to a telephone interview. We conduct interviews by telephone because we receive applications from all over the country and attending face-to-face interviews at this stage is impractical for many candidates.

  • Schedule your interview for a day/time that suits you.  Interview slots are added to the portal on a regular basis so always check back if the advertised dates are not convenient.
  • If you require any reasonable adjustments for your telephone interview, please contact the recruitment team so they can discuss on how best to accommodate.
  • Try to relax and be yourself and speak clearly and confidently.
  • A telephone interview is just as important as a face-to-face interview, so it needs the same level of preparation and involvement.
  • Make sure you have set aside the required amount of time for the interview, and that you are in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.
  • Review your application form and have a copy with you. This can help you think about your answers. However, avoid scripting your answers because you will sound unnatural when you say them.
  • You will not be able to provide the visual cues that you would in a face-to-face interview such as eye contact and body language. This means your listening and verbal communication skills will be extremely important.
  • The interview is a blend of competency based and scenario-based questions and we are looking for you to demonstrate evidence of a number of competencies aligned to the ‘NAO Values.’ As the interviewer has a time limit and needs to get as much information from you as possible, you may find the interview structured and inflexible.
  • Try to address each area of the question specifically, and provide concise, jargon free answers.
  • We understand that you will need some time to think through your answers. Do not be afraid of brief silences – think about what you are going to say and make sure you answer each question fully.
  • It sounds obvious but make sure your application form includes your contact number including dialling code. Without this the interviewer will not be able to contact you!

Assessment Centre

If you complete the telephone interview successfully, we will invite you to attend an assessment centre.  We run assessment centres at our NAO Headquarters in London Victoria, and occasionally at our regional office in Newcastle City Centre.  We may also run some of the assessment centres virtually.

The assessment centre will be a full day assessment that will include a combination of fictional and real-life business experiences to assess your broader business and functional expertise. The assessment is competency based and we are looking for you to demonstrate evidence of a number of competencies aligned to the NAO Values.

You will also have the opportunity to meet with some of our recent graduate and apprentice hires and ask them questions about the training scheme and the NAO.

The purpose of the assessment centre is to create an environment in which you, along with other candidates, can demonstrate key skills/behaviours that we are looking for. 

Head over to the NAO's profile to explore their Accountancy Training opportunity!