Practice job interviews
Your School, or College careers and employability service is likely to provide practice job interview sessions. Alternatively, you could:
- ask for advice and feedback after unsuccessful interviews;
- practice and monitor your skills by treating interview-like scenarios such as discussions with your tutor as genuine interviews;
- record yourself in a mock interview, playing it back to check how you did;
- review the different types of possible questions, writing down your responses, taking notes and creating flash cards for revision;
- script and practice answers to anticipated questions with someone that you trust;
- Explore more about planning your answers to common interview questions.
What is an assessment centre?
Selection centres assess your suitability for the job through various tasks and activities, allowing employers to test skills that aren't necessarily accessible in a traditional interview. They’re hosted over a full day, and you'll usually be joined by six to eight other candidates.
Assessors - usually a mix of academics and ambulance managers - score your actions against competency frameworks. They discuss all aspects of your performance before reaching a final decision on whether or not to hire you. All, several, one or none of the candidates could be successful.
Potential assessment centre exercises include:
- case study exercises;
- group discussions;
- ice-breaker exercises;
- in-tray exercises;
- psychometric tests;
- role play.
How will I be assessed?
Employers don't just assess you against job competencies; they also aim to ensure that you're the right fit. Being scrutinized for such a long time can be challenging, but recruitment assessment centres allow you to compensate for poor performance in one task by excelling in another. Key skills that employers usually look for include:
• Analytical thinking
• Commercial awareness
• Study skills
• Time management
How do I perform well at an assessment centre?
It's important that you:
• are assertive during all exercises;
• don't dwell on any mistakes, instead concentrating on performing well in the next task;
• don't worry about the other candidates, instead focusing on putting your key skills forward;
• draw others into group discussions;
• ensure that the assessors can see your working methodology;
• ensure that you understand the requirements of each task by quickly digesting the brief - revisit this once you understand the overall challenge;
• join in with discussions, even at 'informal' mealtimes - ask other candidates about other universities they have applied to if you're struggling for conversation;
• maintain a friendly and polite manner with everyone you meet, and remember that you're always being assessed;
• relax and let your personality shine, as assessors warm to individuality.
What sort of questions will they ask me?
It is not possible or fair for The College to infer or guess possible questions. If you have completed good research and practiced a batch of “typical” questions you wont go far wrong.
Example questions may include:
- Why are you a good leader?
- What type of leadership style do you adopt?
- How would those you have lead describe you?
Conflict and Pressure
- Give an example of an instance when you have had a disagreement with someone at work? What was the outcome? What did you learn about that experience?
- How do you react if your manager asks you to do something which conflicts with your own deadlines?
- Give an example of a time where you helped a team to achieve an objective or a deadline?
Motivation and Development
- What have you done to develop yourself both personally and professionally in the last three years?
- How do you motivate your team and colleagues?
- What is the most difficult decision you have had to make in your current role? Tell me about it. What alternatives did you consider?
- What has been the effect of your decisions on others and what was the wider impact?