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The clock is ticking – only two days until we close applications to join our graduate scheme in 2016! For some last-minute help with your application form, we’ve dug out a blog post from our previous trainee Hannah. There are three stages when applying to the NAO graduate scheme: the application, the first interview and […]

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

Posted on January 29, 2016 by

The clock is ticking – only two days until we close applications to join our graduate scheme in 2016! For some last-minute help with your application form, we’ve dug out a blog post from our previous trainee Hannah.

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.

Good luck with your application!


Last chance to apply!

Our 2016 graduate training scheme closes for applications this Sunday, 31 January 2016. Head over to our graduate recruitment site for further information on how to apply.

If you’ve got any questions around the application process, please leave a comment below. You can also contact our recruitment team by email, via our Facebook page, or on Twitter.


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2 responses to “Getting over that initial hurdle: Tips for your NAO application form”

  1. fey says:

    Hi, after completing the application form and numerical test, I was then sent an email to answer competency questions although I had already done similar or even the same questions in my application. I just wanted to know if that is part of the process.

    • Guest blogger says:

      Hi Fey, it appears that the answers to the questions did not save on your application form. In order for the recruitment team to progress your application, you will need to email them answers to the four competency based questions, as requested in the email sent to you on 3 February. Hope this helps, Alexandra

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