Interview and Assessment Centre Techniques

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

So, you’re ready to go. You now have a thorough career plan and a winning CV. You are actively applying for jobs and engaging with the recruitment market. Now you’ve got to be ready for interviews and assessments.

 5. Interview and Assessment Centre Techniques

So much has been written on the subject of interview tips and advice. Online you’ll find a myriad of videos and posts from “The best five things to say in an interview” to “Five things never to say in an interview”.

From my 25 years as a recruitment consultant, I’ll share some simple thoughts and general principles. I hope that you find a few which are right for you.

In interviews, employers are trying to find the best person for the job and you are finding out if the job is right for you. It sounds simple. To match their company and job specification with your skills and experiences - however, in my experience most interviews are not as effective as they should be.

Most interviewers have not been well trained, do not prepare well enough, fail to ask the right questions and most worryingly do not listen during the interview. Their minds are elsewhere - preoccupied by their next meeting, an urgent deadline, a personal issue, what they’re having for lunch…... To maximise your chances – you must help them to listen to you.

In every interview, ensure that you are well prepared and make a great first impression. Preparation is key. Research the company, go in-store to see their products, look into who you’ll be meeting and people that you know within the organisation. Read the job description and company information again, think about the possible questions that may come up. Review your CV and be comfortable with your achievements.  

Then throughout the interview, after each question think before you answer and give tangible examples. Where possible relate your answer to your four key strengths and explain how you match their job specification. Make it easy for the interviewer. Use your communication skills both verbal and non-verbal to help.

Then like in any other business meeting, summarise at the end, reinforcing your four key strengths, find time to thank the interviewer and leave the interview on a positive note. You then need to reflect and decide if this is the right job for you. My advice here is to consider and weigh-up the facts but decide on your feelings. If something feels wrong, then take that into account.

Many recruitment processes also involve other forms of assessment including ability testing and personality questionnaires. There may also be a work-related exercise or case study, which gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your talents and show that you match their specification. Find out in advance from the recruiter and others you know in that organisation as much as you can about the assessment event. This will usually be an established process and a tried and tested format, and therefore something you can plan and prepare for.

So good luck and remember at interviews and assessments to seize your opportunity. Plan and prepare thoroughly and make it easy for the interviewer by demonstrating your key strengths.