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The Questions You Might Get Asked at EO/HEO Thread for the Civil Service



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I thought that was a very good question

    i might start every week from now on asking myself on monday morning what my plan is for the week, tbh!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,206 ✭✭✭I am me123

    A lot of the candidates gave the same answer to this question.

    "Get to know my team and their working styles. ".

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭kwestfan08

    Excellent post thanks so much. Would these be moreso examples of what a HEO might be asked at interview? Going for an EO interview next week and just trying to get a sense again what might be asked.

  • Registered Users Posts: 469 ✭✭Dave 101

    @kwestfan8 yes more so for heo but if you have an answer for them you will breeze the eo

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,875 ✭✭✭Augme

    My advice is going to go against the grain but I would recommend learning the competency bullet points off and being very comfortable knowing them rather than specific questions. The risk with learning specific questions is that often when someone us asked a Q outside of the specific ones they have pre-leadned they tend to fall to pieces.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 469 ✭✭Dave 101

    💯 you should focus on the competencies first and the questions second…but they will ask you questions on both

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    agree fully with this.

    you wont do better than knowing how each competency and sub competency maps to your cv and being very comfortable talking about this from all angles

  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭aaron5250

  • Registered Users Posts: 152 ✭✭Paladonia

    Should prepared answers for each competency in an interview be different to those on your application form? Or is it ok to use these again/expand on them?

  • Registered Users Posts: 80 ✭✭hungerjames

    It's OK to use the ones on your application form but have AT LEAST one additional example prepared for each one because you're quite often asked for an additional one if you're approaching-but-not-quite reaching their mark.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 915 ✭✭✭Ciaran

    You're likely to be asked specifically about the example on the form in some cases too so definitely make sure you have those well prepared.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    yes agree with both

    if its a strong example on form and it covers things from a few different angles youd hope to get to fully mine it, but always be ready with a backup even if not quite as strong.

    you never regret having stuff prepped and not using it

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,404 ✭✭✭Aisling(",)

    One question that threw me at a HEO interview a few years back was "How would you deal with an overachieving staff member?".

    Everyone always has there underperformance question ready but this one was the first I'd heard on high performers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 902 ✭✭✭furrybones

    This is a great thread, thanks to everyone who contributed.

    When I did my interview for EO the interviewers honed in on my education (went back to college and completed a degree in my 40's) as much as my work experience. I was asked questions such as "what did you find most difficult about your course and how did you overcome it?" and "why did you choose that particular course?"

    Work based questions were similar to those listed in previous posts - managing conflict, time management, motivation, any changes I made to improve work practices, etc.

    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts"

  • Registered Users Posts: 59 ✭✭JacenSolo

    Thank you for these. I have my interview this week and frankly my anxiety is through the roof. I swear this has to be the most stressful and complicated process of hiring staff I've ever seen.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28 TY76


    Can anyone give a brief overview of how to prepare for an EO interview.

    Many thanks

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,115 ✭✭✭job seeker

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,254 ✭✭✭ellejay

    great info here, thanks

  • Registered Users Posts: 175 ✭✭CivilCybil

    I had an EO interview last year which I passed.

    I had two examples prepared for each competency and some of those could be used for a couple of different competencies.

    One question which kind of threw me (and I think it was just the phrasing) was that I was asked to describe an occasion where I'd had to change someone's mind about something.

    On reflection I could have used an example I had lined up about conflict resolution or training but it threw me a bit so I sort of stumbled a bit with an ad-hoc example I came up with.

    I was also asked how I'd deal with managing a team as I had no official management experience so I said that my previous informal management skills would be my starting point and that I'm sure that there were courses available that I could improve on those skills and also defer to another EO or HEO for advice if I really was out of my depth in a situation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,104 ✭✭✭Technocentral

    I'd imagine the most difficult step is the first, ie going from CO to EO, what's the main thing to say when asked about leadership, as your CO role doesnt encourage it?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 823 ✭✭✭Liberty_Bear

    Attempt to obtain your leadership skills outside work in areas such as volunteering or in sport. In the job though leadership can be demonstrated as a CO in training someone in on a system say or managing a project of sorts (could be designed procedures which CO's know usually)

  • Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 7,849 Mod ✭✭✭✭suitcasepink

    I have a HEO interview coming up and was wondering would anyone have any more tips on what type of questions are asked? Or what they like hearing about? I’m trying to put my mind to rest!

  • Registered Users Posts: 186 ✭✭HydroTendonMan

    I came through the interdepartmental competition and found the actual interview stuck pretty closely to the competencies. There were a couple of generic questions thrown in about how to handle an underperforming co-worker, how you mange conflict, what was the biggest mistake you made in work etc., but it was fairly standard. I found the difficulty came in the scrutiny of my answers and examples. "Was that appropriate considering X" or "why didn't you take Y approach".

    The presentation on the other hand I felt that they full on attacked me 😁 Really drilling down into every point I made and demanding my rationale for each small aspect. In my presentation I made a recommendation to start a working group to address an issue and one of my interviewers flatly said "that just sounds like a bit of a talking shop". I wriggled my way out of it by talking about expected deliverables and so on, but that one blindsided me! I did well in the end and came 8th in the panel, but I didn't leave the interview full of confidence.

  • Registered Users Posts: 37 Grateful4

    Thank you for sharing - great advice. Would they ask similar questions for the AO role?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1 Useitorloseit

    Hi there…great thread …any body have any experience of Public Service Irish competency testing and maybe some of the questions they ask…or even better… a list of them…a very nervous interviewee here 🤢

  • Registered Users Posts: 22 sohara00

    Most interview will be standard question, go through the example for the competency and then any additional questions on it 9 times of out 10 for EO and above will always be something around underperformance or gaining buy in from team members for your project

  • Registered Users Posts: 35 Styles12

    Great thread I have a HEO interview coming up shortly anxiety through the roof, even reading questions in previous posts I find it hard to think of answers for these even.

  • Registered Users Posts: 348 ✭✭pygmaliondreams

    I've no advice for you, just best of luck with your interview. Remember you don't need to do perfect just good enough to meet the requirements lol.