Interviews have evolved as the recruitment process has changed in recent years. The traditional question and answer format is today often replaced with something much more diverse and challenging. While many candidates see interviews that involve skills tests, assessments or other additional challenges as an intimidating obstacle, they can actually be a great opportunity. The use of these interview techniques by employers is designed to bring out qualities such as leadership, teamwork and communication. Effectively interview tasks are an extra opportunity to shine, as long as you prepare for them.
A skills test
Employers use skills tests to ensure that candidates meet a minimal level of skill and competency. They are simply designed to ensure that claims made on a CV about certain skills are true. You’ll most often find these in an industry such as IT. There’s not a huge amount you can do to prepare for a skills test, as it’s designed to reveal what you already know. It might be useful to read over your CV and revise any key skills you’ve listed that you haven’t used for a while.
A group exercise
The purpose of a group exercise is usually to put together multiple candidates, see how they perform as a team and identify those who stand out for the right reason. If you’re applying for graduate schemes then you’re highly likely to come across a group exercise. The format for a group exercise is simple: you will be set a challenge and asked to solve this together. Confidence, the right level of assertiveness and the ability to communicate clearly are all great attributes here.
Listening is also highly valued and something that many people forget in a group when they want to be heard. Most importantly, be yourself – neither the group nor the interviewers will be impressed if you’re trying to be someone else to make an impact.
A written exercise
You’re unlikely to be given this interview task to complete in advance as the business will want to see how you work on the spot. This type of assignment is most often found in creative and communications industries, such as marketing and PR. Make sure you read the brief and take some time to plan out what you’re going to write to ensure it responds to what they have asked for. You can prepare for this test in advance by looking over any existing marketing materials you can find from the business to get an idea of tone and style. Make sure you check spelling and grammar to avoid any basic mistakes.
This is a very common interview task across many different industries. The key with a presentation is to answer the question – tackle the topic at the start of the presentation and don’t waste time with waffle. Give yourself enough time to research your points and make sure you don’t come in under, or over, time. Practice your presentation so that you’re confident in what you’re saying and you can deliver it while making eye contact and remaining relaxed. It’s always worth emailing in advance to ensure there will be a laptop at the location and to find out whether you need to bring the presentation in a specific format.
At 2i we support candidates through all the challenges of getting exactly the right role. Contact us to find your next opportunity today.