HMRC is one of the largest employers in the UK, with more than 66,000 people working across various departments. Responsible for calculating and collecting taxes from individuals and businesses, HMRC is also responsible for ensuring support for people in need and funding hospitals, schools, and infrastructure.
There are a variety of roles available at HMRC, and different ways of getting a job. Some of the employment areas include:
- Estates and Property Management
- Human Resources
- Legal Services
- Digital, Data, and Technology
- Operational Delivery
- Project Delivery
HMRC offers opportunities for experienced professionals and school leavers who can take advantage of opportunities such as the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship or the HMRC Digital Apprenticeship.
The graduate programme is known as the Tax Professional Development Scheme and is open to recent graduates who have at least a 2:2 degree and enthusiasm for learning. The programme lasts between 3.5 and 4 years, with rotations through all areas of tax, including corporation tax, international tax, investigations and fraud. The graduate position is salaried, and upon completion, you can expect a £20,000 a year pay increase and a specialist tax role of your choosing.
Benefits of working at HMRC
Aside from a generous Civil Service salary, some of the benefits of working at HMRC include:
- Annual leave including an extra day off for the Queen's birthday
- Access to health insurance and an Employee Assistance Program
- Flexible working, including work from home where possible
- Free financial advice
- Development opportunities for career, talent, and personal needs
- Discounts through the CSSC scheme for health and leisure, shopping, and days out
HMRC Application Process
All HMRC jobs are advertised on the HMRC/Civil Service jobs site, and it is only through direct website applications that you are able to join.
The online application is a simple form that collects important information about you and your suitability for the role.
You will need to provide contact information, details about your education and qualifications, and any relevant experience.
You might be asked some motivational questions about why you want to work for HMRC or why you have chosen that particular role. The best way to answer this is with honesty, but it is worth bearing in mind any values, skills, aptitudes and requirements that are presented in the job description so you can use them to inform your answers throughout the application form - but also in the rest of the recruitment process too.
If your application form meets the minimum requirements for the role, you will be invited to move on to the next stage in the application process, which is usually aptitude tests.
The HMRC aptitude tests are taken online, and you will be invited to take each test via email. You will take the tests one at a time, and need to meet the minimum score requirements in each to move on to the next stage.
The HMRC assessments are not timed, and they usually take between 15-and 45 minutes to complete. You will need to take them under normal exam conditions.
Each assessment is ipsative, which means that the questions get harder if you answer them quickly and correctly, or easier if you find them more difficult.
The scores are compared to the scores of other test takers and are presented as a percentile. If you score in the 56th percentile, that means you have performed better than 56% of the people who have taken the assessment.
Verbal Reasoning Tests
The first assessment is Verbal Reasoning, and it has a similar structure to other pre-employment verbal reasoning tests.
You will be provided with a passage of text, usually about a paragraph long, which is followed by a statement. You will need to quickly read, understand and analyse the text to be able to decide if the statement is true, false or cannot say.
You will not need any previous knowledge or experience to answer the verbal reasoning questions, as the answers will be in the provided written information.
Numerical Reasoning Tests
If you are successful in achieving the minimum standard in the Verbal Reasoning test, you will then be invited to complete the Numerical Reasoning test.
You will be provided with several tables, graphs, or charts filled with numerical data, with a question. You will need to perform some mathematical operations to find the right answer out of the multiple-choice options provided.
Although you do need some math skills in this section, the content is based on GCSE-level knowledge of basic operations, percentages, fractions and ratios.
Situational Judgement Tests
The next test you will be offered if you pass the numerical and verbal reasoning assessments is the Situational Judgement Test.
This test is based on several work-related scenarios, where you will be presented with a realistic situation and several possible courses of action. You need to use your best judgement to decide which action would be the most appropriate to solve the problem that is being described.
This test can be difficult as the options can all seem to be valid answers, but the recruitment team are looking for the answers that best match the values that they are looking for in an employee. You can use the keywords in the job description to help you choose the best answer here.
Diagrammatic / Logical Reasoning Tests
In some cases, you might be asked to complete a Logical Reasoning Test. These are sometimes known as abstract or diagrammatic reasoning tests, and they consist of questions that are based on shapes and images.
You will be presented with a series of shapes and images that are in a sequence, with one item missing. There will be different options to choose from, and you will need to discover the rule or pattern that rules the sequence to pick the right answer.
Abstract reasoning questions like this can be the most challenging because they are likely to be unfamiliar to most test-takers - but like the other aptitude assessments, they can become less arduous with some practice.
For some roles, such as the graduate scheme, if you are successful in the aptitude tests you will be invited to complete a video interview.
This takes place on a video platform, and you will be required to film yourself answering the questions that appear on the screen. The questions are usually behavioural based, and you will need to provide examples to demonstrate your competency in each behaviour. These questions might be phrased like 'Tell us about a time when you led a team to solve a problem'.
The answers you give need to be concise and succinct, so it is worth taking some time to think about the examples you might use.
If you are invited to the next stage, it will take the form of a one or two day assessment centre.
During this stage, you will be with other applicants, for the same or different roles, and under constant assessment from the recruitment team. They are looking for your soft skills, like communication, leadership, and teamwork.
In this exercise, you will work with a member of the recruitment team to act out a customer service-based scene. You will need to decide if a customer representing a fictitious company will qualify for a grant, based on the information you are given.
Other roleplay options might include dealing with a complaint or working with a colleague to solve a problem.
The group exercise can take one of two forms:
- A debate, with two different points of view
- A problem-solving exercise involving detailed briefs that require the group to work as a team to find the best result.
There are some solo parts of the assessment centre, and the written exercise is an example of that.
You will be provided with some information in a brief and will need to create a detailed analysis and report.
The presentation aspect can be based on the report you created in the written exercise, or it could be about a completely different topic - sometimes it is about your experience of the assessment centre, for example.
You will be given some time to prepare, and you will need to be ready to answer questions from the other applicants and the recruiters at the end.