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What to expect at interviews

Getting an interview is a great achievement. It means you have made a good impression and the employer wants to meet you to find out what you can offer them.

Each employer chooses how they want to interview people.

This could include a:

  • Telephone interview – often used once applications have been received to confirm details and ask some basic questions. If you are successful, you would be invited for a one-to-one interview
  • One-to-one interview – this is just you and the employer
  • Panel interview - you meet with a number of people from the company who will all ask questions
  • Presentation – you will be given a subject to present to one or more people. Some companies ask you to talk about something random while others will want you to talk about ideas relating to the job you want. To make your presentation as effective as possible, follow these steps:
    • Set out your aims clearly
    • Take enough time to prepare and practice
    • Use a clear, confident speaking voice
    • Practice on a friend or family member and ask them for feedback.

Assessment centre 

Often used when the employer wants to see your level of skills before offering you an interview. Some employment agencies will ask you to sit assessments so they can be sure of your skills before putting you forward for jobs. You could be asked to attend an assessment centre as part of your first or second interview. It could last a whole working day, or just a morning or afternoon.

Exercises at assessment centres will vary, but may include:

  • Psychometric tests
  • A formal interview
  • A group discussion
  • A presentation
  • A themed game
  • Scenario questions
  • In-tray exercise; where you prioritise items in the tray and decide on how to action them.

Psychometric tests 

These are used to understand you and your personality, before offering you an interview. They are usually ability or aptitude tests such as numerical, verbal, visual reasoning and personality questionnaires.

A good thing to remember with psychometric tests is that there is no right or wrong answer. Just answer questions honestly to make sure the job is right for you.

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