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British Council: Application and Interview Questions

Updated October 14, 2021

Written by the WikiJob Team

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The British Council is an international organisation that specialises in the provision of programmes and services in English Language, Arts, Education and Society.

The application process is relatively straightforward but it is important to have an understanding of the way in which the organisation operates, and the area that you wish to join, before attempting to complete any aspect of the application process.

British Council Behaviours

The British council has a set of six behaviours that it looks for in its job candidates. Make sure you take note of these and demonstrate them whenever possible in your application.

Creating a Shared Purpose

Within this section, you will need to demonstrate how you can gain the support of individuals to actively contribute to the department. It is also important that you know and understand the role and responsibilities of individuals you work with and other significant people in the organisation.

Connecting with Others

This is all about communicating effectively and building excellent working relationships. It will also ask you to demonstrate how you can build relationships to contribute to the goals of the British Council. This involves building trust, rapport and being supportive, showing concern and addressing individual requirements.

Working Together

Working collaboratively as part of a team is important in any role, but with the British Council you will need to illustrate this by outlining how sharing goals and resources can add value while promoting independence.

Being Accountable

Taking responsibility for your actions and showing a commitment to British Council goals are essential. So too is the capacity to show resilience and determination to overcome challenges and reach the goals of the organisation.

Making it Happen

This behaviour requires you to deliver results, achieve targets and develop personally and professionally. Relate your answers to past experiences where you have defined objectives and deliver what has been asked. Think about how you have reached measurable outcomes to provide value for money and service excellence.

Shaping the Future

Outline an example where you used your knowledge, expertise and professionalism to define what you wanted to achieve, how you identify opportunities and formulate plans and strategies to deliver innovative solutions which add value to the business.

What Are The British Council Divisions?

The English Language division of the business is focused on the delivery of high-quality learning materials to every language teacher and student. The British Council teaches English and trains language teachers within developing countries or locations in the world which are rebuilding after conflict. To be successful, you will need to demonstrate in your application form that you have an interest and enthusiasm for teaching and learning, and that you are committed to helping others learn the language.

Education and Society departments focus on the transformation of national educational provision. Your work would involve helping to improve key education provision while building awareness of the opportunities available for young people.

The Arts department is focused on the promotion of artistic talent, helping individuals increase awareness of artists and support the development of skills.

Now that you have a good understanding of the three main areas of the business at the British Council, you can move on to the application and tailor it in accordance to the area that you are applying for.

The British Council Application Form

The majority of posts available with the British Council are posted on the organisation's job portal and the best times to look for specific vacancies are early in the spring and again over the summer months.

Nevertheless, there are other vacancies which can arise throughout the year, so setting up vacancy alerts is recommended.

Before you start filling out the application form, it's important that you review the supporting documents carefully, as these relate directly to the role you are applying for. These documents are usually supplied on the advertisement page.

Application forms are required for each of the roles advertised by the British Council; CV submissions are not usually accepted. The application form needs to be completed online by setting up a user account and consists of several standard sections which are typical of any online application:

  • Personal Information. Basic personal information such as name, address, email, etc.

  • Disability Statement. Indicate whether you have a disability.

  • Employment. Within this section, you are required to provide information on work experience up to a maximum of 10 years or since leaving full-time education. Start with your most recent role and summarise each of your posts with your duties, responsibilities and outline any key achievements. You may also include unpaid or voluntary work within this section. Any gaps in your employment must be explained, such as time spent on maternity leave or travelling. If you have occupied any voluntary based roles, ensure that these are included. Valuable skills can be acquired from voluntary work so never underestimate its significance.

  • Education. Many applicants make the mistake of listing every single qualification that they possess where often, only the qualifications that are relevant for the role you are applying for are required. However, if you have undertaken a specific training course or obtained a qualification where you have developed valuable skills that could be used in the role you are applying for at the British Council, include them.

Supporting Statement

The supporting statement section of the application form is perhaps the most important section. It is an opportunity for you to persuade the recruiter why they should select you for an interview.

Use the selection criteria for the post along with the six British Council Behaviours when you complete this section and ensure that you relate each one to an actual example from your work or educational history.

References

The British Council will ask that you provide three references as part of your application. One of these must be from your current or most recent employer and then, if possible, a further two references from previous employers.

If you do not have any work references then a school, college or university teacher or training provider will suffice.

Additional Information

Any further details that you feel would strengthen your application.

Criminal Convictions

Ensure that you disclose any criminal convictions.

Declaration

A statement that you have filled out the form to the best of your ability and all of the information contained within it is accurate.

The British Council Interview

The interviews for the British Council is usually carried out over the telephone or via Skype by the recruiting manager. However, if you already live where the job is based, a face-to-face interview is preferred.

The interview is your chance to convey your skills and experience to the employer and outline why you are the best candidate for the role. Preparation for the interview is absolutely essential and knowing what sort of questions you might be asked will increase your chances of success.

The most common questions asked at a British Council Language Interview include:

  • Describe an activity or task that you developed and how it operated. (This could be anything from setting up a database system through to managing a complete project.)
  • Provide an example of a pronunciation activity you devised for an area where students experienced difficulty and explain its impact or success.
  • Explain how you adapt lessons for a particular set of students and encourage all students to participate.
  • Define how you used technology to facilitate learning.
  • Provide an example of a time when you communicated effectively with customers.
  • Give an instance of when you assisted members of your team.

As part of the interview process, you may be asked to complete an assessment. This may take a number of forms but the main tests include numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, logical reasoning or situational judgement. The exact tests you take will depend on which area of the British Council you are applying to.

British Council Selection Assessment Tests

Numerical Reasoning

The candidate will be expected to complete a total of 20 questions under timed conditions. The given time usually allows for a period of one minute per question. The questions in the British Council numerical reasoning test will comprise graphs, percentages or tables, so as to assess your numerical capabilities. Questions will be multiple choice.

See more on numerical reasoning tests.

Verbal Reasoning

A very similar format to the numerical reasoning test, with multiple-choice questions to be answered within a set time. For the verbal test, you may be provided with a set of paragraphs and asked to identify mistakes, insert missing words or indicate whether given statements are true or false. The verbal reasoning tests will be used to determine your analytical skills and capabilities in the English language.

See more on verbal reasoning tests.

Logical Reasoning

In certain roles, there may be the requirement to approach tasks in a methodical way. Within this test you may be presented with a sequence and asked to identify a missing shape or step in the process. Testing your logical reasoning, analytical skills and problem-solving capacities is the goal of this assessment.

See more on logical reasoning tests.

Situational Judgement

Employers may want to determine your ability to react in certain situations in the workplace. This test type includes a number of challenging scenarios which are commonplace in the role you are applying for, plus a number of responses to the scenario. Your task will be to select the most suitable response which will identify how you react to a certain situation.

See more on situational judgement tests.

All of the above tests will be undertaken at an assessment centre and you will usually be informed which tests you will be asked to complete when you receive your interview letter.

Tips

Working for the British Council is certainly an interesting and challenging opportunity. But in order to secure the post that you have applied for, preparing for the application and interview is crucial.

The selection process for this organisation will consist of the online application form, a Skype, telephone or face-to-face interview, and the completion of one or several psychometric tests.

Answer the application form fully, research your chosen area carefully whether it is in English Language, Arts or Education and Society and adequately prepare before the interview.


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