Royal Dutch Shell Interview Questions & Application Process

Shell Graduate Scheme Application and Interview Process

The student and graduate recruitment process at Shell typically takes between 6-12 weeks from first application to the offer stage. There may be regional variations and the applicant's availability to attend assessments can prolong the time scale. Prospective applicants should apply as early as possible (from September for start dates the following year). The recruitment process consists of the following:

  • Online application
  • Online assessment (part 1)
  • Online assessment (part 2)
  • Interview / Telephone interview
  • Final Assessment (usually a Shell Recruitment Day)

Online Application

Graduate candidates must complete the Global Graduate Application Form found on the Shell careers website to apply for a graduate scheme. This must be sent, together with a candidate's CV, to Shell’s recruitment team.

Online Assessment (Part 1)

The first part of Shell's online assessment is a series of competency-based questions. This introduces the candidates to the business informally and gauges the applicant’s thought process, to see if it is in line with that of the company’s. You will be put through a series of scenario-based events.

Online Assessment (Part 2)

The second part consists of two tasks: the decision-making task and the problem-solving task. The decision-making task assesses how you may respond to common situations that Shell graduates face. The problem-solving task is a Cubiks numerical assessment. It consists of 18 questions; however, the general consensus is that it is near-impossible to answer all the questions in time. Prioritize accuracy over speed.

In total, Part 2 should take about 45 minutes to complete.


If successful at the initial screening stage, candidates will be invited for an interview. This will either be a face-to-face or, more likely, a telephone interview. A Shell assessor or trained business manager will conduct the interview.

The interview and all stages of assessment will focus on Capacity, Achievement, Relationship-Building Skills and, for technical roles, a Technical Assessment, which is carried out at the final assessment stage. Shell uses the acroymn CART to represent these qualities.

Within the initial interview only C, A and R are assessed. Achievement and Relationship-Building skills are assessed via standard interview questions: "Can you given me an example of a time when...". Capacity is assessed by asking the candidate to choose from a list of four business topics. You cannot prepare for this element, and it is actually counter-productive to try to do so, since the assessment measures the candidate's ability to think on their feet, undertake analysis, demonstrate commercial awareness and operate with an unfamiliar topic.

Assessment Day

If an applicant does well in their first stage interview, they will be invited to the final selection stage. This is usually via an assessment day, which is most likely to take place at an assessment centre either in London, Aberdeen, The Hague, Norway or Germany. A Shell assessment day typically lasts from 8.30am to 5pm.

The assessment day involves case studies undertaken individually and a group exercise, with a break for lunch in the middle.

During the interview and assessment process, your academic credentials and results will play almost no part in determining whether you're a suitable employee for Shell. These are only really important for getting past the online application stage. Your assessors will predominantly focus on analysing your CART skills.

Compatibility Meeting

Following the assessment day, successful candidates are often invited to a attend a more informal meeting with a relevant business manager. This is called a Get To Know You (GTKY). This is not assessed but is merely to ensure that the successful candidate makes the right choice in terms of the area of Shell's business that they will join.