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Interview hints and tips

This section contains handy hints and tips on interview techniques, and how to deal with psychometric and aptitude tests. The secret of success at interview lies in preparation and there are certain things you can do to ensure you create an impression that an employer won't forget and which will give you an edge over the competition. Find out more using the links below:

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Types of interview

Once your application has been successfully shortlisted, you will be called in for an interview which generally involves a meeting between yourself and one or two people from the organisation concerned. These may include the manager of the position for which you have applied, and/or someone from the Human Resources or Personnel Department. However, there are other types of interview which you should be aware of:

Group interviews

This type of interview is where a number of applicants are called for interview at the same time, and are used by an employer to see how you react in a group situation. An observer will be assessing your contribution in helping the group reach its objectives, and will be watching to see whether you take on a leadership role in involving the quieter group members, or if you are an effective team player. If you assume the role of chairing the meeting the observer will be checking on how you plan and keep control of the meeting. If on the other hand you are leading a group activity, the observer will be interested in how good you are at delegating tasks and how much of the work you keep for yourself. If you are successful at group interview you will usually be called in for an individual interview at a later date.

Panel interviews

The interview panel may consist of up to six people, sometimes more, and to do well in panel interviews you will need to identify the roles of each panel member. The chairperson is usually the easiest to identify as they will generally make the introductions, however, you will also need to identify the person whom you will be working for directly and make sure you give him/her plenty of eye contact. When you are talking to the panel, you must always remember that you are talking to all of them and not just the person who posed a particular question.

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Questions to ask the interviewer

Don't forget - the interview is a two-way process. The person interviewing you will want to find out whether you are suitable to the position, and you will also want to find out if the organisation and position are right for you.

You need to ensure you have enough information to make up your mind whether or not you want the job, so you will need to have some questions in mind to ask them. There are a few examples below. However, you should think carefully about the things you need to know about the position you are applying for:

  • What will be my main responsibilities?
  • Where does this position fit into the overall organisational structure?
  • Who will report directly to me and how experienced are they?
  • What specific projects will I be working on in the first six months?
  • What is your commitment to training and development?
  • When will you decide on the appointment?
  • What is the next step?
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Taking tests

Motivation is critical so try to keep a positive attitude throughout a test. Here are some handy tips on how to approach psychometric assessments and aptitude tests:

  • Keep calm and read instructions carefully - don't skim read any instructions. It is important to be clear about how to answer the questions.
  • Always complete the practice questions at the start of any assessment - ask your test administrator to clarify anything you don't understand before you start the test.
  • Don't spend too long on a single question - you can always go back to it at the end.
  • Always check that the question number being completed matches the one on the answer sheet.
  • When attempting difficult multiple-choice questions start by ruling out those that are most unlikely to be correct.
  • If you change an answer make sure that it is clear. If in doubt give your best estimate.
  • If you finish early go back and review your answers.

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