Why did you apply to the NAO?
I applied to the NAO because I thought it was the perfect halfway point between the public sector and the more corporate world of finance. I always wanted to work in the public sector because I wanted to feel the work I was doing was benefitting other people, and at the NAO I am able to help hold the government to account for how they spend taxpayers’ money. The ACA was also a great draw for me as it is a well respected qualification that will open many doors, both at the NAO and in the wider world.
How did you find the NAO’s recruitment process (compared to others)?
I felt that the early and final stages of the NAO’s recruitment process were similar to those of many other graduate schemes, with the online application and aptitude tests to complete and an assessment centre as the final stage. However, the middle stage was a face to face interview at the office when many schemes have a telephone or Skype interview. I found this preferable to a telephone interview as it meant I was able to go to the office and see what it was like, as well as meeting some of the people that work there and other graduates who had applied to the scheme. This was also useful for the assessment centre, as it meant that I already knew where I was going!
What do you wish you knew about us before you applied?
I didn’t know a huge amount about the NAO before I applied, but I think the main thing I wish I had known before is how much it is has changed in the past few months. The NAO has recently undergone a transformation which arranges it into clusters and makes knowledge sharing across different departments far more efficient.
Any tips for next year’s applicants?
My first tip is to make sure you know what all the competencies the NAO look for are and make sure you have a couple of examples for each one. The other piece of advice I have is that you should really research the NAO and what it does before applying. Not only will it help show that you’re enthusiastic about working here, but it’s a really interesting and far reaching organisation, which I didn’t know before I applied.
What are you looking forward to when joining us in September?
Although I’m starting on the graduate scheme in September, I actually joined the NAO in February as an early joiner, so I’ve already had the opportunity to do things such as find out which department I’ll work on and meeting the rest of my team. However, there are still a lot of things I’m excited for, like meeting the rest of my intake and going to college. Until now I’ve just learned things on the job, so it’ll be good to get some technical knowledge to explain what I’ve been doing!