24 IRISH CIVIL SERVICE Interview Questions and Answers

Pass YOUR interview at the first attempt!

Here’s the FULL LIST of IRISH CIVIL SERVICE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

Q1. Tell me about yourself?

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

“Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed for this Civil Service position today. Over the years, I have built extensive transferrable skills and qualities that I believe will enable me to excel within the Irish Civil Service. I am an excellent organiser and somebody who will always provide exceptional customer service. I am a creative problem solver, and I will always make decisions that are in the best interests of my employer. For example, in my previous role, my manager often praised me for seeking ways to help the company save money by streamlining processes and by ensuring I delivered value for money in all my daily tasks. I understand working for the Civil Service requires the ability to work alone and as part of a team, to communicate with clarity, to see the bigger picture, and to approach tasks and projects with enthusiasm and a commitment to public service. If you employ me in this position, I will be a supportive team member and I will act as a positive role model for the Irish Civil Service whilst embracing change with an open and positive attitude.”

Q2. Why do you want to work for the Irish Civil Service?

SUGGESTED ANSWER

“I want to work for the Irish Civil Service for several reasons. Firstly, I want to work in an organisation that is positive about the future, embraces change, and that provides a supportive environment where people can reach their full potential. I am particularly attracted to the opportunities that the Civil Service offers, the friendly working environment, and the fact that I will get to collaborate with lots of different people in various departments to achieve a common goal. Although the benefits and the job security are appealing to me, the main attraction lies in the fact that I will get to serve the public and see the difference I am making in people’s lives in the work that I undertake.”

Q3. How can you contribute to the mission of the Irish Civil Service?
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Q4. Tell me about a time when you experienced conflict in a work situation.
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Q5. How do you align with the Irish Civil Service values?
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Q6. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made at work?
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Q7. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
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Q8. Describe your communication skills?
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Q9. What are some of the current challenges facing the Irish economy?
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Q10. Tell me about a great leader you’ve worked under.
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Q11. Describe a time when you had to see the bigger picture at work.
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Q12. Tell me about a situation where you had to work in an environment you were unfamiliar with.
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Q13. Tell me about a time when you provided excellent customer service.
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Q14. Have you ever had to embrace change at work?
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Q15. Tell me about a time when you supported your employer.
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Q16. Tell me about a time when you initiated change in a team or an organization.
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Q17. Tell me about a time when you received feedback from a manager or supervisor.
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Q18. Explain a situation where you came up with a solution to a challenging problem.
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Q19. Tell me about a time when you supported someone within a team to overcome a setback.
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Q20. Describe a situation when you persuaded someone to see your point of view.
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Q21. Tell me about a time when you had to manage a quality service.
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Q22. What was the last piece of professional development work you undertook?
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Q23. Where do you see yourself in five years?
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Q24. That’s the end of your Civil Service interview. Do you have any questions for us?
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The Northern Ireland Civil Service – Job Duties and Person Specification


To be successful in gaining employment with the Northern Ireland Civil Service you must be able to demonstrate the NICS values, which include integrity, honesty, objectivity and integrity. You will also be required to also exhibit the strengths and values from the NICS competency framework. These will ensure that employees are excellent communicators and show sound leaderships skills regardless of the job role or grade. All successful candidates must have the ability to work competently in a fast-paced team environment. Staff must also react positively to change and be able to adapt quickly to the change. You would be required to produce your work to the highest quality and within tight deadlines ensuring that this represents exceptional value for the tax-payers contribution and within the organisation’s budgets. You must show visionary skills, always seeking to improve workflow and processes where possible to aid the future growth of the organisation and the communities which will benefit from.

The NICS Departments

In an organisation as vast as the Northern Ireland Civil Service, there are a number of different departments which you can apply to. These include the following: The Executive Office; Departments of Education, Finance, Health and Justice to name a few. However, one shared element between all the departments, the selection process, the skills, competencies which you will need to demonstrate to pass your interview will remain the same.

The NICS Competencies

The Northern Ireland Civil Service bases its values on a set of core competencies which any candidate applying for a role within NICS would have to demonstrate throughout the selection process. These are split into three clusters each containing a number of competencies. Please note the number of competencies you will be assessed against will be dependent on the role you are applying for.

Strategic Cluster – Setting Direction

  • Seeing the Bigger Picture
  • Changing and Improving
  • Making Effective Decisions

People Cluster – Engaging People

  • Leading and Communicating
  • Collaborating and Partnering
  • Building Capability for All

Performance Cluster – Delivering Results

  • Delivering Value for Money
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Achieving Outcomes through Delivery Partners

TOP TIPS FOR PASSING YOUR NORTHERN IRELAND CIVIL SERVICE INTERVIEW

NCIS INTERVIEW TIP #1 

Ensure that you study the job description and person specification in depth for the role you are applying. This will help to identify any key areas of where you will be assessed. For example: One of the key skills required could be ‘excellent customer service skills’. With this in mind you are likely to be asked a question regarding this. For example, “Can you tell me of a time when you delivered high levels of customer service?”. The job description may also state something along the lines of ‘being able multi-task’, or ‘work on multiple projects’. With this type of question, they are looking for evidence on how organised you are and how you prioritise workloads.

NCIS INTERVIEW TIP #2

Study the Civil Service Values and Competency Framework rigidly, until you have a full understanding of all elements. This is your key to success when applying for Northern Ireland Civil Service jobs.

NCIS INTERVIEW TIP #3

Research the department you are applying for, what is the organisations’ objectives and mission? Who is the Head of Department, what are the departments achievements and long-term goals.

NCIS INTERVIEW TIP #4

Ensure you prepare your responses in advance to all of the questions you are likely to be asked. You are likely to be asked both behavioural and strength-based questions. For behavioural questions use the S.T.A.R technique as these will generally ask you about previous experiences. Strength-based questions will focus on your skills, your motivations and achievements.

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24 IRISH CIVIL SERVICE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WORKBOOK

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