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There are three stages when applying to the NAO graduate scheme: the application, the first interview and the assessment centre. My colleague Laura has already blogged about her experiences of the assessment centre, and I will give you some tips for the initial stage, the application itself. The application form gives you a chance to […]

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Getting over that initial hurdle: Tips for your NAO application form

Posted on October 25, 2013 by

Application forms
There are three stages when applying to the NAO graduate scheme: the application, the first interview and the assessment centre. My colleague Laura has already blogged about her experiences of the assessment centre, and I will give you some tips for the initial stage, the application itself.

The application form gives you a chance to prove that you can demonstrate the competencies necessary to perform well in the role. The competencies are:

– Analyses data to draw sound conclusions

– Demonstrates sound judgement, and

– Demonstrates initiative, enthusiasm and drive.

You will be asked to give a specific example of a time when you have demonstrated each competency – this can come from your studies or work experience, and also include your hobbies and interests.

To show that you can analyse data to draw sound conclusions, you need to show that you can process large amounts of data, spot patterns and present the information in a way that is easy to understand. Maybe you could use an academic example for this – perhaps you used a survey for your dissertation or did some research that you had to present to an audience?

To show that you can demonstrate sound judgement, you need to illustrate that you can understand what is important and what is trivial and that you can be led by evidence rather than your own expectations. Try and think of a time when you’ve had to make a judgement based on evidence and the effect that your actions had.

To demonstrate initiative, enthusiasm and drive, you could talk about how you persisted with something and came up with a solution even though it wasn’t easy – maybe you helped a University Society to win funding or came up with a good idea boost attendance at an event?

After the three competency questions, you will be asked to explain why you have chosen to apply for the Assistant Auditor role at the NAO. This question is about the role itself and the organisation so make sure you answer both. The NAO website has lots of information and looking through a couple of Value for Money reports may help to give you a good idea about our work and impact. If you’ve been to one of our graduate fairs, you could mention something you found out there.

Make sure that you feel comfortable with all of your answers as they may come up at the interview. Writing an application form can be daunting but the NAO gives you subtopics for all of the questions to make sure that you’re clear about what is expected. This is the first impression you’ll make to the NAO so it is definitely worth taking your time and rereading your first draft.

The great thing is that there’s so much support available. You can meet us at the graduate fairs, ask us a question on this blog, tweet us a question @NAOgraduatejobs (look out for our next Twitter Q&A, too, where I will be one of the people answering your questions – more info below) or email our HR service desk. Good luck with your application and with any luck, I’ll see you next September!


Any questions? Join our Twitter Q&A on 18 November 2013

Have you got any questions around applying for our graduate scheme?

Rob from our recruitment team and Hannah, one of our trainee bloggers, will be available on Monday, 18 November 2013, from 4-5pm on Twitter (@naograduatejobs). Post your questions during the event and get an answer straight away.

If you cannot make the event, please tweet us beforehand @naograduatejobs and we will make sure to answer your questions during the live session.

Hashtag: #AskNAOgrads


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