Defra Interview Questions | Glassdoor.co.uk

Defra Interview Questions

Interviews at Defra

26 Interview Reviews

Experience

Experience
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Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview
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  1.  

    Apprenticeship Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Defra.

    Interview

    Online application and then asked to interview. Interview compiled of basic competency and strength questions. Need to structure answers using STAR method. Interview answers are given scores based on the civil service point scheme.

    Interview Questions


  2.  

    EO Correspondence Drafter Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ months. I interviewed at Defra in November 2020.

    Interview

    Stage one: online application including behavioural competencies
    Stage two: online literacy test assessing grammar, spelling and standard of english
    Stage three: online interview (one unknown strength based question and multiple behaviour based questions)

    Interview Questions

    • Can you tell us about a hobby you have? (Unknown strength question)   Answer Question
  3.  

    Summer Internship Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Defra.

    Interview

    Application form then invited to interview in London. Numerical reasoning test (timed) to begin with, then interview with two civil servants from Defra. Mix of competency and technical questions. Interview feedback suggested that I didn't ace it (came across as nervous as I hadn't had much interview experience) but got the job in the end.

    Interview Questions

    • Describe the main causes and effects of inflation (effects in a particular industry)   Answer Question

  4.  

    Policy Advisor Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 5+ months. I interviewed at Defra.

    Interview

    Online application process asking for a response to four areas: delivering at pace, mangling a service etc. Then followed with a three panel interview at head office in Bristol, York or London

    Interview Questions


  5.  

    Apprenticeship Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Reading, England
    Accepted Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 9+ months. I interviewed at Defra (Reading, England) in March 2020.

    Interview

    I was asked to wait in reception to be taken through, then a person came to get me who was blunt and bordering on rude, seemed bored and clearly didn't want to be there; they practically rolled their eyes when I asked to use the bathroom before I was taken into the interview.

    Anyway, it turned out that individual was on the interview panel. So unprofessional, it was actually quite embarrassing. The other two interviewers, however, were very warm and conversational.

    The interview itself was disappointing, just your bog standard Civil Service competency based interview. They weren't remotely interested in finding out anything about me or why I wanted the position. Just bland box ticking, which is seemingly a constant across the Civil Service.

    I was offered the position seven months later (I was placed on a reserve list following the process being put on hold due to Covid-19) and asked to start within two weeks. I declined.

    Interview Questions

    • Just asked to extrapolate on the competency examples that were in my application. Just memorise your examples and expand with more detail and context and you will be fine.   Answer Question

  6.  

    Air Quality Scientist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in London, England
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Defra (London, England).

    Interview

    5 minute prepared oral presentation on challenges facing the UK in meeting its air quality targets. This was followed by strength and competency based questions , total process took around an hour.

    Interview Questions

    • Describe a time you have influenced a senior colleague?   Answer Question

  7.  

    SEO Policy Advisor Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in London, England
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Defra (London, England).

    Interview

    The recruitment process consisted of an application demonstrating evidence of meeting certain behaviours combined with an online Situational Judgement Test. The interview consisted of a 5 minute presentation (no slides or laptops allowed, just hand written notes) followed by a mix of questions from a friendly two person panel on behaviours and strengths. Unfortunately I wasn't successful in the interview, but the feedback I received soon afterwards helped me prepare better for my next interview, which I was successful at.

    Interview Questions

    • Give an example of a time when you've had to manage conflicting deadlines.   Answer Question
  8.  

    DgP-AO-Service Delivery-Solihull Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Solihull, England
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Defra (Solihull, England) in September 2019.

    Interview

    I applied for the above role and was shortlisted for an interview. The location of the interview was in Solihull and I had to go the back of the building so I can be let in. However, upon entering I met the Receptionist and I would say he was friendly. Thereafter, he took my right to work documentation and made photocopies and then returned them to me. I was advised to take a seat and whilst seated I saw another ethnic minority coming out from one of the doors and he was being escorted out by one of the members of staff who were conducting the interviews.

    A female member of staff came to collect me and walked me through the building and then into the relevant room. I saw 2 other members of staff a male with spectacles, a middle-aged female and the elderly female who came to collect me. Unfortunately, they were all from a predominant ethnicity so I did feel like an outcast but still tried to remain positive. The panel introduced themselves and the interview commenced.

    However, I decided to use the same competencies, which I used for my online application as I managed to score 5 out of 7 for each of the competencies. Therefore, I answered the questions of the panel and I noticed during the interview, that the male member of staff who was seated in the middle, had my online application in front of him and it became apparent to him that I’m using the same examples.

    Each time he was nodding his head and making notes using the online application which he printed out before the interview. He didn’t expect me to notice him checking through each competency as well as making very brief notes, rather than pay attention to what I’m saying. He just wanted to make it easy for himself by making brief notes so later he and the others can ‘justify’ the rejection.

    I answered all of the behavioural questions, the Technical question as well as the strength-based questions. But I was asked by the panel if I have any questions, therefore, I asked questions regarding, the training, the role, the possible start date and etc.

    However, the elderly female member of staff started to talk me out of the role by stating that she has been in the role for 20 years and she is still learning how to carry out her role. As well as the role is different from an office-based role, which I already knew and still applied for the role. It became apparent to me that regardless of my responses I’m going to get rejected, therefore I wouldn’t be surprised if the only reason I was shortlisted was to comply with the ‘Equality & Diversity’ policy. Also, she started to ask me towards the end of the interview as to why I’ve applied for the role? This is something which I expected at the start of the interview but I still answered her question.

    Subsequently, I received a rejection email today stating that ‘the interview went well, pleasant gentlemen, some of the responses were very vague’. I used the same competencies which resulted in me scoring a 5 for each behavioural competency but the panel deliberately played with the numbers to ‘justify’ the rejection by scoring it with 2’s and 3’s.

    Therefore, I fail to understand how ‘the responses were vague’ when it resulted in me scoring a 5 for each competency and I fail to understand how ‘the interview went well’ but it resulted in a rejection with 2’s and 3’s.

    A prime example of bigoted individuals employing their own kind and keeping ethnic minorities out, therefore I’m happy to state that I’ve seen the true colours of such reprobates, thus I wouldn’t recommend any ethnic minority to apply to this organisation.
    Also a former employee stated in a previous review that '....Institutional racism! Lots of bullying and harassment with management turning a blind eye. If you are a BAME please this Department is not for you as you will never progress and kept at the bottom of the ladder!..'

    Interview Questions

    • Delivering At Pace
      Working Together
      Communicating & Influencing
      Managing a Quality Service   Answer Question

  9. Helpful (5)  

    Senior Policy Advisor Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in London, England
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Defra (London, England) in August 2019.

    Interview

    The whole recruitment policies desperately need to change. I had a horrible interview. I have outlined my experiences below:

    Grade 6 Senior Policy Advisor DEFRA LONDON:
    First of all, it was nearly 2 months before I got an interview slot. This is just how efficient Defra and the wider civil service is!

    The interview process consisted of 5 minutes verbal presentation and 55 mins questions around the behaviours and competencies.

    There was a panel of 3- 1 director, 1 person from HR and some other guy who wasn't keen on me from the moment he met me (body language). Personally, I thought the interview went well in terms of my answers to the questions. I demonstrated suitability for the competencies and behaviours when asked questions by giving clear examples from my current job, though I suspect the examples weren't high stakes enough for them. The only negative from the interview was that I did run out of time slightly during the 5 minute verbal presentation but I was asked questions after that which allowed me to go back and expand/finish the presentation.

    Unfortunately, the feedback I got from the interview panel was that I was keen, passionate and innovative but my presentation was not structured. The words of advise were that I could have done more preparation to provide more detailed and relevant evidence for the SEO role. Also, my overall rating was 'minimal demonstration'.
    Given that the civil service has a very poor reputation for service delivery and nothing ever working, I am gob-smacked at the cheek of them telling me that my evidence was not relevant or detailed and was only a minimal demonstration. Now, I fully acknowledge that the presentation ran over slightly and could have been better (I will work on that in future!) but I tackled the presentation in the same format/structure of the presentation question which was, 'Please tell us about a time when you have worked with others, including a variety of stakeholders who had conflicting priorities, to successfully deliver a project. How did you go about this and what did you learn from the experience?' I am really confused how this could not be structured when I also specifially used the STAR approach- situation, task, action and result to answer this. I also made sure that all my examples were centred around my current job experience! Who are they to say that my experience is not relevant to the SEO role when I gave the same (as used in my online application) clear example (in my current role in another public sector-education) of working with a variety of stakeholders who had conflicting priorities to successfully deliver a project. If they thought my examples were not relevant, why invite me to interview then?! These competency and behaviour questions are not exceedingly hard at all as they are designed around job experience. What I don't appreciate is telling me my experience isn't good enough for their department when they were the same experiences they made the selection at the invite to interview stage. Frankly, the whole process was insincere and a waste of everyone's time because of the lack of transparency. If they are looking for a specific type of experience (sector wise or something else), then be clear and open about that. It would be great not to waste people's time inviting them for interviews only to have disregard for their experiences or tell them the experience is not relevant because it isn't good enough for the high and mighty work they think Defra is doing. Throughout the interview, I got the impression (body language) from all 3 members of the panel that the level of stakeholders I am used to dealing with in my current job (higher education) was not fancy/high stakes enough for them (perhaps they want people who deal with company shareholders, politicians and the likes).

    Interview Questions

    • As part of the interview process you are required to prepare a 5-minute verbal presentation on the following topic:
      ‘Please tell us about a time when you have worked with others, including a variety of stakeholders who had conflicting priorities, to successfully deliver a project. How did you go about this and what did you learn from the experience?’
      No handouts or PowerPoint allowed however you may bring notes for personal use   1 Answer

  10. Helpful (1)  

    Policy Advisor Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Defra.

    Interview

    3 people interviewing - two people from the team applied for and one from HR. A short 5 minute verbal presentation answering a pre-set topic and then 50 minutes of competency based questions. The panel would prompt a response if they felt they hadn't heard enough evidence. Each response was marked from 1-7.

    Interview Questions


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