Often, interviews are not just question and answer meetings anymore. It’s now quite common for interviewers to ask you to complete a task before or during the interview. If before, they will send you over a brief of what they would like you to do and you complete it. These tasks are not there to make your life difficult or try and make the interview process harder, they are there to give the employer an indication of your skills. They can be extremely valuable to companies and it is worth knowing how to meet this challenge effectively.
If you get asked to prepare a presentation for your interview, it is likely that they will either call or email you with details and a brief of what they would like you to complete. If this is the case, it is important that you stick to the brief, so you create a desirable outcome. You can make it your own, but make sure you are giving them what they have asked for. This is a simple task to follow instructions and they will take it into account if you chose to go another way. It is likely that the time for the interview will be set, therefore you need to know that your presentation will not run over. You can do this by finishing the project well in advance, if possible, and spending some time reading it aloud. This can be very useful for keeping track of time, if you time yourself when you practice, you can predict the outcome. It may be a very good idea to have hand-outs ready to give to the interviewer/s, so they have something to look back on later. Overall, make sure you are organised for this and don’t prepare it last minute, they will be able to tell. Make sure you are confident and presentable, show them who you are as an employee and the rest should work out.
With any interview task, it is always best to stick to the brief and this doesn’t change with written assessments. Your writing should be clear and concise to make sure it is easily understood by the reader, no matter what the subject. It would probably be a good idea to make sure you have done some research on the companies writing style so you can incorporate it into your own work. This will show the employer that you are able to adapt and if you must do any writing on behalf of them, you are ready and waiting to do it in their style. Additionally, it may be a good idea to finish the written task in advance, it is likely that they will want to discuss your work in the interview, so make sure you have gone over your work and thought about any key points you would like to point out. Written tasks are not just given to people applying for writing jobs, so make sure you have taken the time to practice and research if it is not your strong suit.
Group interview exercises
During a group interview, you may be asked to take part in a group exercise or asked to answer a group question. You may not be able to fully prepare for this scenario, but make sure that you are aware of what could happen and try to prepare for the unknown (As well as possible). With group interviews, you should always try and make your voice heard without silencing anyone else. It sounds like a difficult task, but just try and be mindful of the people around you. Try and ignore the fact that you are against these people, communicate well and show both your ‘team’ members and the interviewers that you can work well collaboratively. It is important to be yourself, the interviewer has given you this task to see how you work and how you would fit in with the company. So, make sure you are being an honest representation of yourself. Depending on the task, you should be showing them your skills and how you would be a good employee, so focus on that.
Research, planning and where possible, rehearsals are the key to interview tasks. You need to make sure that you know enough about the business to be able to complete the task to a level they would appreciate. These tasks are not done to catch out job-seekers, they are very useful to an interviewer and can help you land that job. You need to be prepared, this means completing the task with plenty of time to look back over it, make changes and analyse what you have done. If the task will be done at your next interview, do some background research, know what you’re talking about and show them this. Organisation is always key, so stay prepared and be ready to smash the interview.