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How to tackle interview activities

By Glen Manners on 09 Sep 2015

You have researched the organisation, practiced your competency based questions to prepare for your interview, but how will you handle other forms of interview selection, outside of a panel interview? It is common for organisations to adopt other forms of tests and assessments at some point in the interview process to give them more information to help them decide between candidates. We have put together a guide to help you prepare for some of the tests and activities you may be tasked with.


Presentations in an interview are often required when the role you are applying for entails them as part of the job, for example a Trainer. You should be given information prior to the interview, but ensure you have the following:

  • The topic
  • The panel (important if you are preparing paper copies for the panel)
  • The length of time given to present
  • How they would like it presented (ie is PowerPoint required?)
  • Equipment available (Is there a projector or large screen, can you bring the presentation on usb etc. Take paper copies in case of any problems.)
  • Do they require the presentation beforehand or at interview

Allow time to prepare your presentation and practice. If you have applied through a recruitment consultancy, ask them to go over your presentation beforehand, they know the client and maybe able to give you some hints and tips.  Ensure you stick to the time allocated and ask the panel if they have any questions at the end.


Aptitude tests

Typical aptitude tests include verbal, numerical or abstract reasoning. They are commonly used for temporary roles to test skills or by large employers, as an initial screening, before interview. You can’t study for these tests, but you can find example tests online and tests will usually begin with some practice questions.

Try not to worry if you don’t complete the test, they are often designed that way. Make sure you take time to read every question properly before answering, as you are not always given the opportunity to go back.


Personality questionnaires

Employers that typically use personality questionnaires are large employers or for management roles to ensure the potential employee has good leadership, teamwork skills. There is not a right or wrong answer with these tests, they are just measuring your personality, how you would interact with their culture, team and make decisions etc. Again you can find example tests online, you should answer honestly with the first thought that comes to mind and don’t over-think the answers.

You can read more on how to pass psychometric tests on our website.


Group exercise

Group exercises can feel daunting, especially if you are all competing for the one job. The panel will be observing how you interact, do you lead, listen? Remember to ensure you join in, but let others participate equally. If applying for a management role, think about the qualities they will desire and ensure they are shown during the exercise.

You can find further advice on how to succeed in your group exercise on the career advice section of our website.


 In-tray exercises

These tasks are usually a written task with real scenarios that you will be faced with in the job. You will be given a time limit to complete the task and they will measure your time management skills, clear thinking, how you prioritise and handle the problem.  Be prepared to answer follow up questions in an interview based on your answers here.

Finally, don’t forget to follow up post interview and if you are not successful for the role you are applying for, ask for feedback. Constructive feedback can be useful for future interviews and help you land your dream job.