36 Civil Service Behaviour Competencies Interview Questions & Answers

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Here’s the FULL LIST of CIVIL SERVICE BEHAVIOUR COMPETENCIES INTERVIEW QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Q1. Tell me about a time when you had to see the bigger picture? (SEEING THE BIG PICTURE)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

“I was working in a previous role and my manager came into the office to speak to the team. He explained that, because of the industry changes and trends we were experiencing, and the manner in which people were starting to shift their shopping habits online, we would all need to take on new responsibilities. Some people in the team were not very happy about this, but I encouraged them to view it from a different angle. I explained that, if we all embraced the changes positively, and we looked ahead to the future, we would not only get keep our jobs, but we would help the organization to adapt during these changing times. Eventually, everyone in the team agreed to embrace the new responsibilities that we all had, and the business continued to grow, thrive and develop moving forward.”

Q2. Describe a situation where you had to work outside of the scope of your usual role? (SEEING THE BIG PICTURE)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

“I was working in a small team in my previous job and a valued and talented member of the team went off sick at short notice. They were going to be off for at least two weeks, and so my manager needed someone in the team to step up and take on their responsibilities. I volunteered to be that person, and I started off by assessing their workload and the skills I would need to quickly develop in order to meet my objectives. I called up the member of staff who was off sick at home to ask them some questions about their work and whether they had any advice they could offer me. I then prioritised which tasks I needed to complete, and how I was going to approach them. By working methodically, and by carrying out some research to find out how to tackle each task competently, I was able to complete all of my work colleagues’ tasks and projects to a good standard whilst they were off sick.”

Q3. Tell me about a time when you went embraced change at work? (SEEING THE BIG PICTURE)
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Q4. Tell me about a time when you went out of your way to help your employer? (SEEING THE BIG PICTURE)
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Q5. Tell me about a time when you initiated change in a team or an organization? (CHANGING AND IMPROVING)
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Q6. Tell me about a time when you received feedback from someone else and how did you react? (CHANGING AND IMPROVING)
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Q7. Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a setback? (CHANGING AND IMPROVING)
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Q8. Tell me about a time when you changed the way that you worked? (CHANGING AND IMPROVING)
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Q9. Tell me about a time when you made the right decision? (EFFECTIVE DECISION MAKING)
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Q10. Tell me about a time when you had a difficult challenge? (EFFECTIVE DECISION MAKING)
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Q11. Describe a time you came up with an innovative solution to a problem? (EFFECTIVE DECISION MAKING)
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Q12. Tell me about a time when you had multiple options for solving a difficult problem? (EFFECTIVE DECISION MAKING)
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Q13. Tell me about a time when you had to lead a team? (LEADERSHIP)
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Q14. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult or underperforming employee? (LEADERSHIP)
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Q15. Explain a situation where your style of leadership had a positive impact on a team or a situation? (LEADERSHIP)
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Q16. Tell me about a time when you had to lead a project? (LEADERSHIP)
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Q17. Tell me about a time when your style of communication resulted in a positive outcome? (COMMUNICATING AND INFLUENCING)
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Q18. Describe a time when you explained a complex concept to someone else? (COMMUNICATING AND INFLUENCING)
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Q19. Explain a situation when you had to communicate a difficult message to someone? (COMMUNICATING AND INFLUENCING)
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Q20. Tell me about a time when you persuaded someone to see your point of view? (COMMUNICATING AND INFLUENCING)
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Q21. Tell me about a time when you worked as part of a team? (WORKING TOGETHER)
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Q22. Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult colleague? (WORKING TOGETHER)
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Q23. What skills have you developed that will help you to work effectively with other people? (WORKING TOGETHER)
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Q24. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with conflict in a team? (WORKING TOGETHER)
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Q25. Tell me about a time when you helped other people? (DEVELOPING SELF AND OTHERS)
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Q26. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with underperformance? (DEVELOPING SELF AND OTHERS)
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Q27. Tell me about a time when you identified a need for self-development or improvement? (DEVELOPING SELF AND OTHERS)
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Q28. Tell me about a time when you helped a work colleague develop a new skill or improve an existing one? (DEVELOPING SELF AND OTHERS)
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Q29. Can you explain how you would deliver excellent customer service? (MANAGING A QUALITY SERVICE)
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Q30. Tell me about a time when you had to manage a quality service? (MANAGING A QUALITY SERVICE)
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Q31. How would you deal with a customer complaint? (MANAGING A QUALITY SERVICE)
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Q32. Tell me about a time when you made recommendations that were designed to improve the quality of a service? (MANAGING A QUALITY SERVICE)
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Q33. Tell me about a time when you worked to a strict deadline and what the outcome was? (DELIVERING AT PACE)
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Q34. Tell me about a time when you had to deliver something at pace? (DELIVERING AT PACE)
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Q35. Tell me about a time when you had to adapt your approach to a task to get it completed? (DELIVERING AT PACE)
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Q36. Tell me about a time when you completed a project or task having overcome difficult challenges or obstacles along the way? (DELIVERING AT PACE)
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The 9 Civil Service Behaviours


There are nine important Civil Service behaviours that form the basis of all job roles within this great public sector organisation. In order to perform to a high standard in the Civil Service, we recommend you learn and understand the behaviours prior to attending your interview. A brief description and explanation of each of the nine Civil Service behaviours is listed below to help you.

CIVIL SERVICE BEHAVIOUR SEEING THE BIG PICTURE

When answering interview questions that are based on seeing the big picture, you must show that you understand exactly how your job position fits into the Civil Service and its goals. You also must show your awareness of how the work you are doing is focused on the wider good of the nation. 

CIVIL SERVICE BEHAVIOUR CHANGING AND IMPROVING

In your answers to questions that assess your ability to improve and change, you must show that you are capable of coming up with new and creative ways to solve problems and improve your own and your team’s performance. You must show that you are capable of constantly reviewing your performance and periodically asking for, and responding to, feedback from others.

CIVIL SERVICE BEHAVIOUR MAKING EFFECTIVE DECISIONS

It is important you use information and data to make accurate decisions whilst working in the Civil Service. This is far more effective than taking unnecessary risks or simply going on gut feeling! When making decisions, show that you consider the options and the likely outcome.

CIVIL SERVICE BEHAVIOUR LEADERSHIP

As a leader within the Civil Service you must show a passion for delivering excellent public services. You must motivate, inspire and direct others to achieve the objectives of the Civil Service. In everything you do, you must value diversity, you must operate in a fair and respectful manner, and must value and respect other people’s contributions whilst creating opportunities for all.

CIVIL SERVICE BEHAVIOUR COMMUNICATING AND INFLUENCING

Whilst communicating in an organisation such as the Civil Service, you need to use clarity, confidence, purpose and an enthusiastic tone. When communicating with others, show that you are respectful of their views and you take into consideration their needs. 

CIVIL SERVICE BEHAVIOUR WORKING TOGETHER

Within the Civil Service you will need to work alongside other internal members, other departments and external contractors and stakeholders. Therefore, teamwork is an essential skill needed within all roles. In your answers to the ‘working together’ interview questions, show you have the ability to work with everyone, regardless of their background, views or opinions.

CIVIL SERVICE BEHAVIOUR DEVELOPING SELF AND OTHERS

Continuous learning and development are vital aspects of working in the Civil Service. In your answers to the interview questions, demonstrate that you have what it takes to identify your own development needs and that of others.

CIVIL SERVICE BEHAVIOUR MANAGING A QUALITY SERVICE

Whilst working in the Civil Service you will need to provide a fast, efficient and professional service. You must operate effectively, follow strict service guidelines and make sure you strive to continually improve whilst meeting the diverse needs of your customers.

CIVIL SERVICE BEHAVIOUR DELIVERING AT PACE

Delivering at pace is about getting things done and completed on time and to a high standard. To work in the Civil Service you will need determination, adaptability, flexibility, enthusiasm and a commitment to very high standards.

HOW TO PASS A CIVIL SERVICE INTERVIEW! 5 IMPORTANT TIPS FOR SUCCESS!

There are many different jobs available in the Civil Service, including but not limited to the following sectors:

  • Administration.
  • Analysis.
  • Commercial and Procurement.
  • Communications.
  • Counter Fraud.
  • Digital, Data and Technology.
  • Finance.
  • Human Resources.
  • Legal.
  • Management.
  • Operational Delivery.
  • Policy.
  • Project Management and Delivery.
  • Property.
  • Security.

Regardless of the role you are applying for within the Civil Service, make sure you read the following 5 important job application tips. The tips that follow will help you prepare fully for you Civil Service interview!

CIVIL SERVICE INTERVIEW TIP #1

The first thing to do is download a copy of the job description and the person specification for the role you are applying for. Take a note of the assessable behaviours and competencies that form part of the assessment criteria. Once you have these to hand, move on to tip number 2.

CIVIL SERVICE INTERVIEW TIP #2

During your Civil Service interview, you will be assessed against certain behaviours. In total, there are 9 behavioural competencies. Read the behaviours listed on this page that are applicable to your job role, and then prepare answers to all of the interview questions that fall within that particular behaviour.

CIVIL SERVICE INTERVIEW TIP #3

When answering the behavioural interview questions, we strongly recommend you format your answers using the STAR technique. The STAR technique is: Situation, Task, Action and Result. Start off your answer with the situation you were in. Next, explain the task that needed doing. Now go into detail about the action that you took, before finishing off with the results of your actions.

CIVIL SERVICE INTERVIEW TIP #4

Although the interview questions featured on this page are centred on the Civil Service behaviours, do not neglect to prepare for standard interview questions. A list of common Civil Service interview questions we recommend you prepare for are as follows:

  1. Tell me about yourself?
  2. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  3. Why do you want to work for the Civil Service?
  4. What experience do you have relevant to this position?
  5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

CIVIL SERVICE INTERVIEW TIP #5

Finally, we strongly recommend you prepare three questions to ask the interviewer at the end of your job interview. In our opinion, the following are three really good questions to ask:

QUESTION 1 – What are the plans for the Civil Service over the next five to ten years, and how could I help you to achieve those goals in this position?

QUESTION 2 – In your experience, what can the successful candidate do within the first few weeks of starting to get up to speed quickly in the role?

QUESTION 3 – What are the major challenges facing the Civil Service right now?

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