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Succeeding at interview and assessment centres

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1 Succeeding at interview and assessment centres
Dave Carter UCL Careers Adviser

2 Aims of today’s session
gain an insight into what to expect identify the 3 key areas of preparation understand the typical ‘interview dynamic’ learn how to create a good first impression identify types of question and how to tackle them know where to look for further support

3 Accuracy of Selection Methods
0% Astrology 0% Graphology 0% 25% Typical interviews 15% References 12% 50% 75% Biodata 38% Personality Tests 38% 100% Work sample tests 55% Ability tests 54% Assessment Centres 68% Structured interview using job analysis 63%

4 Public sector recruitment process
Pre-assessment centre Self Assessment realistic job preview questionnaire numerical/ verbal reasoning Q’s complete online application form (20K) online reasoning and competencies testing (10K) test centre e-tray (3K) Assessment centre: (1K) written exercise – policy recommendation group exercise – role play briefing exercise competency-based interview (350 successful candidates)

5 Psychometric Tests Aptitude: verbal, numerical and diagrammatic.
administered under exam conditions or online strictly timed – approx. 30Q’s in 30 minutes multiple choice: right/ wrong answers verbal tests depend on comprehension of the passage not outside knowledge. Personality questionnaires explore the way you react or deal with situations not looking for rigid ‘typical’ personality profile may receive feedback and form basis of discussion at interview

6 Aptitude practice test answers
Verbal reasoning 1: B 2: A 3:B Numerical reasoning 4: B 5:E 6:D

7 Succeeding at psychometric Tests
Aptitude: brush up on arithmetic, fractions and ratios, practice crosswords etc. ‘How to pass’ books available to ‘loan’ from careers service practise in test conditions at the careers service Personality questionnaires: be as honest as you can (see website for details).

8 Preparation re-read your application
what might interest/ worry an interviewer familiarise yourself with job description/ person specification what skills, qualities and experience are they looking for? what examples can you give? research the company and the sector usp’s, customers, competitors, ‘swot’, values website, annual report; industry press company presentations, talk to people working in related fields, (LINX alumni website)

9 Creating a good impression
know where to go and be on time location journey time be pleasant to everybody dress appropriately better to be overdressed and conservative pass the office to get an idea know who you’re meeting prepare yourself mentally

10 Interviews: Primacy and Recency
The Perfect Interview – Max Eggert, Random House Business Books, 1999

11 Performance - impact The impact we make is based on…
- what we say (7%) - how we say it (38%) - unspoken signals (55%) .

12 Performance - body language
walk confidently into the interview and shake hands. make eye contact and smile use mirroring techniques e.g. leaning forward, laughing stay alert sit upright, nod don’t stare or look down slow your movements breathe

13 Behavioural/ competence
Types of questions Biographical What aspects of your degree are you enjoying? Tell me about yourself? What are your main strengths and weaknesses? Motivational Why are you interested in this role within our organisation? Who else have you applied to and do you have any other job offers? How do you keep up to date with developments in this industry sector? Follow-up: Tell me something you have read recently. Why did this interest you and what do you think are the key issues? Behavioural/ competence Tell me about a time when you worked within an effective team and what was your role? When have you shown good organisational skills and the ability to prioritise effectively?

14 Types of questions hypothetical/ brainteasers Technical Inappropriate
How could I estimate the number of dentists that operate in the UK? How would you persuade doctors to listen to you if you were a business manager? (NHS) What would you do if I asked you to do something you disagreed with? Technical Give an example of where you have demonstrated your (specific) technical knowledge to overcome a complex problem? Why might a company be worth more to another company than it’s present market valuation? (Corporate finance) Inappropriate Questions which you feel are potentially discriminatory. Ask yourself –’Would someone of a different sex, age, race or religion be asked this question?

15 Answering questions structure your stories: S: Situation T: Task
listen carefully! - answer the question asked. treat a closed question as though it were open: are you enjoying your degree? Tell me about your degree course and what you are enjoying? talk openly and with enthusiasm about your achievements, but… don’t waffle – keep answers to a maximum of 1 to 2 minutes don’t overstate them and avoid apologising or being negative. structure your stories: S: Situation T: Task A: Action R: Result

16 Typical interview scoring schedule
‘Tell me about a time when you showed good organisational skills and the ability to plan effectively.’ Unacceptable: Scores 1 & 2 took action without developing a plan and unable to prioritise failed to evaluate and manage resources appropriately missed important deadlines failed to cope with difficulties Above average: scores 3 and 4 evidence of planning and prioritising tools you used to achieve eg. set objectives & milestones/ daily schedules/ project software anticipated need for resources and used them effectively eg delegation to others/ resources required consistently beat tight deadlines requiring extra commitment cope when things don’t go according to plan

17 If it seems to be going wrong….
the interviewer is aggressive or doesn’t seem to like you you don’t understand the question ask for it to be rephrased you go blank or you don’t know: ask for “a few seconds to think about it” admit it, but offer instead some intelligent reasoning/ a sensible guess (based on assumptions) a clue try not to panic - it’s unusual to fail on one question

18 Closing the sale thank them
if the job genuinely interests you then let them know your questions - examples: what are the possibilities of using my --- skills? What sort of career progression have other graduate trainees experienced? how will my work and training be monitored and appraised? (context) what do you enjoy about working for the organisation ‘Thanks I think everything I wanted to know has now been covered’. make sure you know what the next step is

19 Interviews – summary prepare thoroughly for every interview
first impressions count competency questions - STAR review your performance and ask for feedback

20 Further resources and Careers service support
CareersGroup: ‘How to succeed at interviews’ booklet 1:1 practice interviews on confirmation of ‘real employer interview’ video guides: how to suceed in interviews and assessment centres ‘Top answers to tough questions’ Matthew J Deluca/ John Lees employer/ CA led interview skills workshops sign up at - forthcoming events: Practice aptitude tests – 15/21/27 Nov, 3 Dec, 14, 21 Jan…… JP Morgan: Interview skills – Tue 13th Nov Accenture: What to expect at assessment centres Wed 21 Nov Employer led mock interviews/ assessment centres - Jan to mar 08

21 UCL Careers Service : 4th floor ULU Building Malet Street, London
WC1E 7HY telephone: Opening times (term & vacation): Mon - Thurs 9:30 -17:00 Friday 11: :00

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