Different employers are likely to have different processes to follow before you get to the final face-to-face interview. These may include online questionnaires, aptitude testing, phone or video interviews, the use of assessment centres (tests and exercises), and gamification. These selection processes allow the employer to test your skills, knowledge and personality to ensure you are the right fit for the role and their company, without solely relying on an interview.
Going through these extra steps may feel like a lot of work, but it will give you the opportunity to engage with the organisation in different ways, provide you with more knowledge about the role and company, what is expected from you, and what it would be like to work for them. These extra steps may include:
- Online questionnaires: These types of questions may ask you to describe previous situations where you have performed tasks relating to the job, or how you have demonstrated the key skills and abilities that the employer is looking for. For more information about online applications go to our module: Master Written Applications.
- Aptitude tests: These standardised tests assess your skills, personality, motivations, values, and interests in line with a particular role. Psychometric assessment is often administered as a series of online tests and inventories, and may be prior to, or part of, an assessment centre process.
- Phone/video interview: These are used to overcome distance barriers and minimise costs. They tend to be shorter and less complex than a face-to-face interview. Rather than speak to a person, some employers use pre-recorded video interviewing software where questions are shown on a computer screen and you will record your timed answers using a computer/device with a webcam.
- Assessment centre: Assessment centre processes involve a collection of tests as well as individual and group exercises designed to simulate an employer’s business environment. They assess personal attributes and skills, such as communication, problem solving, teamwork that can help determine who would fit best and excel within the organisation’s structure and culture.
- Gamification: Online games can be used to test a candidate’s suitability for a role. They are a form of fun, interactive engagement that improves the candidate’s experience, removes some biases, and tests how they think on their feet. Gamification generally tests your knowledge, plus skills such as creativity, innovative thinking, problem solving, and time management.
- Face-to-face interview: The final step of the recruitment process is the interview – you might even have multiple interviews for one job. You may be interviewed by one person, a panel, or less commonly as a group alongside other candidates! It is important to find out who is on the panel to help you prepare.
The key to a successful interview is preparation. Watch this short video for some tips on how to get started.
It can take several weeks after submitting an application before you find out if you have been shortlisted for an interview, so it is important to refresh your memory about the industry, organisation and position description. What are some of their key achievements within the industry? Look on the company’s website for the mission statement, their core values and beliefs, the services they offer, what they are renowned for, and projects they have completed or may be working on. It is important to find out who the key people are, the number of staff, and the organisational structure. You can also use LinkedIn and Facebook to help you research the organisation and staff. Demonstrating you have researched the company will show the employer you are genuinely interested and want to work for them.
Read the position description again and make sure you can demonstrate how your skills, knowledge and experience meet the key accountabilities for the role. It is likely that the interview questions will focus on the selection criteria or the written responses on your application. It is important to have examples ready and be able to elaborate on information. If you did not address selection criteria in your application, then highlight key words in the job description and advertisement. Create a list of the technical and transferable skills and brainstorm examples of how you have developed them through university (assignments, projects, placements, workshops), work history, extra-curricular activities and volunteering.
Dress sharp, think smart.
First impressions count. Being on time, positive, confident, polite and courteous are important factors when first meeting someone. Your presentation is equally as important to deliver a great first impression. ‘Statistics show that 55% of first impressions are determined by the way you dress and walk through the door in a job interview, while 65% of hiring managers say clothes can be the deciding factor between two similar candidates’ (Workpac Group). Organise your interview outfit well before you find out you have an interview. Consider the work environment that you will be entering. In general, aim for corporate attire.
An interview is not a memory test. The interviewer is interested in hearing about your experiences and skills, and is happy for you to refer to (not read from) your notes. Consider taking an A4 folder or case with the following items:
- Copies of your resume (and selection criteria if applicable)
- Dot points for each of the main interview topics – only use as a reference if you get stuck
- Possibly 2-3 one-page artefacts that visually demonstrate your work (such as a photo of some graphic design work, or a snapshot of a project you were involved with)
- Any glowing references regarding your achievements in past or current work
- A list of questions you would like to ask at the end
Make a list of questions that you might be asked. Brainstorm responses and start practicing your answers aloud. The job description, advertisement and selection criteria will give you ideas around the types of questions you are likely to be asked. Ask friends and family to provide constructive feedback on your answers and presentation. Were your answers clear and relevant? What was your body language like? Were you speaking at steady pace? You can also use Big Interview to help you prepare – all JCU students and graduates can access this free resource. It gives you hands-on practice with mock interviews tailored to your specific industry, job and experience level.
Regardless of the type of job you are applying for, the interview questions are likely to cover:
- Background information about you
- Cultural fit with the organisation
- Behavioural questions
- Skills-based questions
You must ask questions at the end of an interview – asking intelligent, meaningful questions shows the employer that you have done your research and genuinely want to know more about the role and organisation. Don’t forget the purpose of the interview is also for you to determine whether the role aligns with your career goals and there is a cultural/organisational fit with your attitudes, values and beliefs. This is your opportunity to resolve any uncertainty that you may have about the role or the organisation. Question ideas:
- What are some of the objectives you would like me to accomplish in this job in the first 30/60/90 days?
- What types of professional development opportunities can you offer?
- How is performance measured and reviewed?
Reduce your anxiety
Don’t let stress impact on your performance. The interview is a two-way conversation. While the interviewer is deciding if you are the best fit for their organisation, this is also the opportunity for you to determine if the role and organisation is the best fit for you. Once you make this mind-set shift it puts you back in control, gives you more confidence, and reduces your stress levels. It is normal to feel some stress, but if you’re too nervous you won’t be able to do yourself justice.
There are simple steps you can follow to make sure your nerves don’t let you down
- Appear confident – Even if you are not feeling confident, you need to appear confident. Your mindset and the way you hold your body, will affect your interview nerves and will have a positive impact on your performance.
- Think positive – Thinking positive will help you to display a confident and enthusiastic attitude. Remember that you were chosen out of dozens or even hundreds of other applicants for this interview. The employer has chosen you because they believe you could be the perfect candidate for this job. All you need to do now is prove they were right.
- Calm breaths – Deep breathing has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels by reducing heart rate and blood pressure to allow oxygen to flow to the brain, which expends nervous energy and allows you to think more clearly. Exercise also helps, so consider a brisk walk or run the evening before your interview as this may help you with a better night’s sleep.
- Smile – The most important thing you can do to relax before an interview is smile! It might sound odd, but smiling releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural antidote to stress.
- Plan your trip – drive to your interview location prior to the interview; check how long it will take and add a buffer for the unexpected. Check where you will park and make sure you have a full tank of petrol to reduce any stops on the way. Being organised and arriving early will help to ease your nerves.
Right or wrong, first impressions are generally made in less than 10 seconds. Aside from dressing appropriately for the interview, here are some tips on making a great first impression:
Switch off your phone
Don’t be tempted to scroll through your phone whilst in the waiting area, you don’t want to look surprised or startled when the interviewer walks in. Switch off your phone, or at least have it on airplane mode. A phone on silent may vibrate and this is equally as distracting as a ringing phone.
Being late can send the message that you are unreliable or have poor time management. Make sure you know where you are going and how you will get there; this will also give you time to calm any nerves. Be conscious of your behaviour and body language in the reception when you arrive and while you are waiting. The receptionist could be your future colleague and may give feedback on their encounter with you.
A firm handshake with each person interviewing you is customary. Make sure it is firm but not too firm; this demonstrates confidence.
Smile, be enthusiastic and positive
Being happy, upbeat and enthusiastic can help you engage the employer and show your interest in the role.
Be aware of your body language
Be conscious of the way you hold yourself, how you are sitting and your hand gestures. Make sure you have good eye contact with each panel member.
Speak clearly, concisely and at a steady pace
It’s easy to speak too quickly when nervous! Lots of practice will help you improve your techniques. Using Big Interview to record your responses is a great way to check.
Interview question types
Background questions are asked to find about more about you and get some insight into who you are, your achievements, what you’re passionate about, and your goals. These can include:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why do you think you would be the ideal candidate for this role?
- Why did you choose to study …?
- How do you balance your work and personal life?
Tell me about yourself
To answer this you don’t need to cover every job listed in your resume, nor do you need to talk about your personal/family life. What the interviewer really wants to know is how your qualifications, skills and experience that are relevant to the job you are applying for. This question is usually the first question asked in an interview, so answering this question well will set the tone for the rest of the interview and give a great first impression. You can try breaking your answer down like this:
Step 1: Who you are professionally
Mention past experiences and proven successes as they relate to the position. Consider how your current job/degree relates to the job you’re applying for. For example: My Bachelor of Business Majoring in Tourism sparked my interest in eco-tourism and sustainable development.
Step 2: Your biggest selling points
Discuss key accomplishments, strengths and experiences – they must be relevant to the role and provide proof of performance. What are your achievements from university? What did you study and what relevant skills did you develop through university/placements/work history?
Step 3: Why you want the job
Show your enthusiasm for the position; be concise. Consider why you genuinely want this job/want to work for this organisation. For example: Your organisation is leading the way locally with tourism projects that combine education and sustainability; this matches with my own beliefs and skills…
Behavioural questions are based on the assumption that past behaviour is the best indication of future behaviour. In asking detailed questions about specific tasks you undertook or experiences you had in previous roles, the employer can determine how you may react in similar situations in the role you are interviewing for.
Make sure you talk about a specific instance/event where you deployed the skill or task in question. Avoid talking about what you ‘normally do’ as this may be interpreted that you did not actually have that experience. Whatever examples you select, make sure they are as closely related to the job you’re interviewing for as possible. Once you have come up with some examples it is a good idea to practice them but not memorise them. You want your story to seem effortless, but not so rehearsed that it sounds robotic.
Listen carefully to behavioural questions in interviews as sometimes there are several parts to the question, all of which need to be answered. These questions can assess your transferable and technical skills. Examples of behavioural questions:
- Tell me about a time when you had to manage a project? What was your role? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? What was the outcome/s?
- Describe a time when you have taken on a role that involved leading or coordinating the activities of a group
- Tell me about a time when you were under pressure and how did you manage the situation
- Give an example of work which displays your ability to work well in a team
- Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it
- Give an example of a time during one of your placements when you did work which you felt was above the normal standard required
Use the STARL model below to help you give concise and specific examples for your answers. This model is also used to address selection criteria and other written responses.
SITUATION – Where these experiences occurred and what was the context.
TASK – What was required of you? This could be a technical performance, project, dealing with a problem.
ACTION – What action did you take to deliver the task, resolve a problem, or present a case?
RESULT – What was the outcome and how did your actions affect this positive result?
LEARNING – What did you learn from this process and how could you apply this to other tasks?
Give me an example of a goal you’ve met.
SAMPLE STAR(L) RESPONSE:
Situation (S): Advertising revenue was falling off for my university newspaper, The Review, and large numbers of long-term advertisers were not renewing contracts.
Task (T): My goal was to generate new ideas, materials and incentives that would result in at least a 15% increase in advertisers from the year before.
Action (A): I designed a new promotional package to go with the rate sheet and compared the benefits of The Review circulation with other ad media in the area. I also set-up a special training session for the Account Executives with a School of Business lecturer who discussed competitive selling strategies.
Result (R): We signed contracts with 15 former advertisers for daily ads and five for special supplements. We increased our new advertisers by 20 percent over the same period last year.
Learning (L): This experience taught me the importance of understanding our competitors and target audience. Through my research I was able to determine what unique marketing initiatives we could offer at the most competitive price. Also, ensuring that our Account Executives were included in the process greatly aided the success of the campaign.
Skills based questions
Sometimes called competency based questions, these questions are used to assess the technical components of the position. Consider the technical/clinical skills you have learned in your degree. The STAR(L) method can sometimes be useful in responding to these questions. Some examples include:
- What would you do to ensure you provided accurate project estimates?
- Tell me about a standardised assessment you have used.
- What is an effective method you have used to determine realistic rehabilitation goals for patients?
- Tell me about an effective health promotion program you developed and/or participated in.
- Tell me about your greatest success in using logic to solve an engineering problem.
- What checks and balances do you use to make sure that you don’t make mistakes?
- Which software packages are you familiar with? What is the most interesting thing you can do with one of these software packages?
- Weaknesses questions subtopic – first bullet point – final word should be weakness and not weaknesses
- Future questions subtopic – amend text to under ‘Questions you shouldn’t be asked’
For more information on what you can’t be asked during a job interview, please see the Fair Work Claims website.
Sometimes called situational questions, hypothetical questions ask you to assess imaginary/future-focussed questions and describe how you would respond to them. These questions usually start with “What would you do if…” which are future-orientated rather than behavioural questions which focus on your past experiences. Examples of hypothetical questions:
- How would you respond if your team resisted a new idea you introduced?
- What would you do if you had almost finished a project on a tight deadline, but realise you made a mistake in the beginning that required you to start over?
- What would you do if you were assigned to work closely with a colleague on a project, but you both couldn’t see eye-to-eye?
- How would you deal with someone who is not satisfied with his or her patient care?
Hypothetical interview questions deal with how you think, including how you structure problems, assumptions you make, and how curious you are about exploring the problem. This is why it is significantly more important to show how you work through the question rather than what your answer is. Taking the time to walk the interviewer through your thinking gives them a glimpse of what it would be like to collaborate with you.
Allow you to demonstrate your most relevant assets for the role. Describe each strength, why it is important to the role, and how you have developed it – be specific and provide detail on what you have done that has developed this skill/strength. Narrow it down to five strengths, even if you don’t mention all of them in the interview. Strengths questions are often asked at the start of an interview and can include:
- What are your three major strengths?
- Why should we employ you?
- What qualities make you the best candidate for this position?
Form your answer like this: Strength + Context + Story (State your strength, the context in which you developed the strength and a story to back it up). Watch the following video to hear example answers for “Tell me about your strengths”?
To view this video, login to LinkedIn Learning through the JCU website and then search for ‘Example Interviews: Tell Me About Your Strengths’
If asked about your weaknesses, think of a weakness that you have already taken steps to overcome – this shows the employer you have self-awareness, and the drive to continually improve. Highlight the positive aspects of the weakness that you have identified and indicate what strategies you are employing to overcome it. Common weakness questions:
- What is your one major weaknesses?
- What aspects of study did you find most difficult/challenging, and why?
- What additional professional development would you need to successfully fulfil this role?
For example: I had poor time management during my first semester at university, but after losing marks due to the lateness of my assignment, I became conscious of prioritising and making deadlines. I have completed a time management course with LinkedIn Learning, which gave me some tips and helped me to identify some things I could improve. I now use an electronic planner to keep track of my to-do list and set reminders. I prioritise my workload and adjust my daily plan when more urgent tasks arise, and I review my progress weekly to ensure I stay on track.
Watch the following video to hear example answers for “What are your weaknesses”?
To view this video, login to LinkedIn Learning through the JCU website and then search for ‘Example Interviews: Tell Me About Your Weaknesses’.
You may be asked questions about your plans for the future. The employer is trying to find out if you have given thought to what your future might look like within their company. You will need to have researched the organisation well to be able to answer this question thoughtfully. Your answer will also help the interviewer gain insight into your personality/interests, and gauge whether your career goals are a good fit for their company. Example of future questions:
- What are your short-term goals?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Questions you can’t be asked
Questions that are related to your age, ethnic background, religion, marital/family/pregnancy status, sexuality, politics, or physical or mental disabilities are illegal for employers to ask. If asked a question that you believe is illegal, you have the right to ask why it is important/relevant to the role, or you may choose to politely decline to answer the question on the basis that the answer is not relevant to your ability to perform the role.
It is important to finish on a positive note and leave the interview with a good lasting impression. By asking thoughtful questions you have the opportunity to:
- Demonstrate your interest/knowledge/cultural fit in the organisation
- Find out any more information about the job that may help you make an informed decision
You should also:
- Enquire about the next stage of the recruitment process and any timeframes
- Thank the interviewer(s) for their time and consideration, using their names if possible
- Shake hands and leave promptly in a confident and positive manner
You may often be asked at the end of the interview if there is anything you would like to add. Even if you are not asked this specifically, try and find a way to add a final comment/pitch to reinforce your strengths for the role and why you would be a great candidate.
Action: Go to your downloaded workbook and complete Activity 1 and 2.
One-way video interviews
One-way video interviews provide candidates with pre-scripted questions. You will usually receive the questions in advance and allowed time for preparation before you record your answers. The questions may be pre-recorded by a staff member or appear in writing on the screen. Your answers will be timed, and while you record your answer to each question you may notice a timer on the screen, try not to let that distract you! In some cases, you may be allowed to re-record your answer.
One-way video interviews are becoming increasingly popular with recruiters as they save time in the selection process and allow the employer to screen more candidates than they could face-to-face. It also helps to assess the suitability of a candidate, including their technical and transferable skills, presentation and personality. This type of video interview often takes place earlier in the recruitment process, and is used as a replacement to the phone interview. It breaks down barriers, such as location and availability, and gives the interviewee the opportunity to showcase their personality.
You will receive instructions on how an employer’s video interview process works – read the instructions carefully and do some preparation beforehand, as you would do for a face-to-face interview. Here are some additional things you will need to consider:
- Location – be aware of your environment and what it says about you. Choose a room that is clear of distractions. The background behind you should be free of clutter, neat and tidy. Good lighting is important too, you don’t want to be sitting in darkness or have too much glare on the screen.
- Noise – Make sure the people in the surrounding rooms know you are doing a video interview so that there is no background noise. Don’t leave a pet in your room or home – sometimes pets can be loud even if kept outside.
- Equipment – Make sure your webcam works and it is a reasonable quality. Do a test run. Check your camera view and audio, and play the test recording back. Connect your laptop or device to a power outlet, or make sure you have ample battery charge for the interview duration.
- Body language – Make sure you’re in a comfortable chair, so that you don’t slouch, and avoid swivel and recliner chairs. Use hand gestures where appropriate. Keep your laptop/computer at eye level, this will help you to maintain your eye contact, which should be with the camera and not the screen.
- Dress – Wearing the right clothes will help you make a great first impression. Dress in professional attire as you would for a regular interview – it will also help you maintain a professional manner.
- Prepare and practice – Prepare in the same way you would for any other interview. Read over your application, research the organisation and position. Use Big Interview to practice your responses and view your recorded response.
- Notes – Having a few notes nearby can help calm your nerves; short points are better than paragraphs. It’s also best not to memorise your answers as it may make you sound robotic and doesn’t let your personality shine.
- Internet Connection – ensure your internet connection is reliable – if you don’t have access to the videoconferencing tool the employer is using, test your connection with something similar like Skype or Zoom. It is a good idea to have an alternative connection ready as a backup, such a phone hotspot.
Action: Go to your downloaded workbook and complete Activity 3.
To view this video, login to LinkedIn Learning through the JCU website and then search for ‘How to Nail a Phone or Video Interview’.
Well done, you have made it through the interview!
Take some time to reflect, make some notes about what happened, and follow-up with the employer to prove to them one last time that you are highly motivated and the perfect candidate for the role.
Take notes and reflect on your performance
After the interview, think about the questions that you were asked and how you answered them. Were the questions what you expected? Did you feel well prepared for them? Before too much time passes, write down the questions you were asked so that you can practice them again for future interviews. Analyse your responses and identify any areas that you need to improve on. Don’t wait too long after the interview to do this as you might forget some of the questions! Take some notes on the key points or important details that were raised during the interview. This will help you when writing your follow-up email to thank the panel.
Thank the interviewer
Send the interviewer an email to thank them for the opportunity and their time. Keep the email brief and professional, remind them why you are excited by the opportunity, and why you are the perfect candidate for the role. You can highlight your strengths relevant to the role, why you would like to contribute to their organisation or project. This is also a great opportunity to mention anything that you didn’t get a chance to say in the interview.
How to deal with job rejection
It can feel deflating to find out that you were unsuccessful in securing a job you thought was perfect for you. Try not to be too hard on yourself. It is important not to take it personally and be proud of yourself for being one of the few people to make it to the final round.
Instead of feeling negative about the experience, focus on what you could do to improve your chances for the next interview. Focus on the side benefits of an interview – scoping out the organisation and industry, making connections (they may interview you in the future), and learning what unexpected questions may come up. Reflect on what you have gained from the interview, what you might do differently next time and make a firm commitment to move on.
Keep practising in the mirror and in front of friends, family or a mentor. Choose people that will be honest and open with their feedback. Keep your momentum going and continue looking for other roles.
Ask for feedback
If you have been unsuccessful, you should email the interviewer to let them know you appreciated the opportunity for an interview and show your continued interest in working for the company. You’ll never know why you didn’t get the job unless you ask for feedback. This is the perfect opportunity to do that. See below an example of a job rejection notification email. Be sure to include specific details so that your reply does not seem like a generic letter:
Dear [Hiring Manager Name],
Thank you for getting back to me about your hiring decision. While I’m disappointed to hear that I was not selected for the [Job Title] position, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to interview for the job and meet some of the members of your team. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about your organisation and would love to be considered for any future job openings that may become available.
If you have a moment to spare, I would be interested to hear any feedback you have regarding my application and interview. I’m sure any details you can provide would be helpful to my job search.
Thank you again for your time and consideration, [Hiring Manager Name]. I hope our paths cross again, and I wish you and the rest of the team at [Company] all the best moving forward.
Indeed Career Guide. (2019). How to respond to a job rejection email. Retrieved from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-respond-to-a-job-rejection-email
Assessment Centres, Psychometric Testing and Gamification
Assessment Centres utilise a selection of tests and exercises that are designed to assess a range of competencies prior to a one-on-one interview. Assessment centres allow employers to assess a large number of candidates at one time, and are considered a fair and objective way to recruit. Activities may include work-scenario exercises, group discussions, and role plays. Some may use psychometric tests at this stage. Assessment centre testing can last from a few hours to several days. Employers are looking for applicants with the most suitable personal attributes, problem solving skills and general aptitude, and for those who would fit best and excel within the organisation’s structure and culture. They are looking for your work-related abilities and competencies, rather than your technical skills and knowledge.
Prepare and research as you would for a face-to-face interview. Make sure you are familiar with the role on offer, desired competencies, and read all test materials carefully and thoroughly. Take practice aptitude tests – see links to examples of free tests in the Additional Resources section at the end of this topic.
How to stand out
Demonstrate your leadership and communication skills by showing initiative. Voice your ideas and solutions to problems, and be inclusive and respectful of the other team members during discussions. Be confident but not aggressive in your approach to solving problems and working in a team. The assessor will not know how perfect you are for the role unless you speak up and share your thoughts and ideas. The assessor isn’t always looking for the correct answer to a problem, but your problem solving skills in reaching your answer and the way you interact with others.
To view this video, login to LinkedIn Learning through the JCU website and then search for ‘Prepare for Pre-Employment Testing’.
Assessment centre exercise types
Written exercises and case studies
These exercises involve reviewing/analysing a work sample and presenting your findings in person as a presentation or as a written exercise in the form of a letter, email, memo or briefing.
This exercise simulates an in-tray/email Inbox and your challenge is to prioritise the tasks. You will be given a short time to do this. Time will be of the essence as you will not be able to read all the material thoroughly; be prepared to read enough to enable you to come up with an understanding of the issues and be able to suggest a sensible justifiable solution.
According to the 2017 Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE) Employer Survey, 62% of employers used group exercises as part of their graduate recruitment process. These will involve working in a small group on an activity while being observed by assessors. Assessors will take note of your problem solving, negotiation and communication skills, and how you behave in a social setting and deal with different personalities. Some exercises will require you to work as a group to find a solution and present it back. Examples include:
- Authentic business scenario where candidates are assigned different roles to play
- Debating a work-related problem
- Group discussion on a relevant issue, such as a policy or wicked problem
Individual or group presentations are a common form of assessment activity. You may know your topic a few days in advance, or it may be given at shorter notice. An understanding of good presentation structure and style will help you to successfully get through these exercises. Remember to concentrate equally on content and how you come across – your body language and tone of voice can make a strong impact on your presentation. Try to anticipate the needs of your audience and tailor the presentation to them. Essential elements of a good presentation include:
- Well defined structure
- Relevant, succinct content
- Appropriate body language, eye contact, voice and pauses
- Use of visual aids, if appropriate
- Preparation of answers to likely questions at the end of your presentation
Sometimes tests, tasks, role-plays or presentations can be given to you on the day of the interview without much, or any, warning. Remember, these tests are only one part of the recruitment process. The person who performs best in tests may not be the most suitable candidate for the job. Try to relax beforehand. Unless you know that a particular test will be given, don’t try to predict and prepare for tests that you may not need to do. You should listen carefully to instructions, but don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand what you need to do. Time management is important – if you have to answer 50 questions in an hour then you can only spend just over a minute/question. Try to concentrate on each question, but don’t waste time on difficult questions if you get stuck, as it is better to move on and come back to them at the end if you have time.
Psychometric assessments (in the form of aptitude and personality tests) are designed by psychologists and implemented to assess a candidate’s abilities, personality, motivations, values and interests under standardised conditions and in line with a particular job description. Psychometric assessment may be used early in the selection process. These psychological assessments are generally administered as a series of online or paper-based tests and may be given at an assessment centre.
Aptitude tests are used to measure numerical, logical, verbal, abstract and spatial reasoning, as well as comprehension and job-specific skills. These tests are usually timed, so the pressure can be quite intense. The key to success is to work quickly, but accurately through the challenges. To prepare for aptitude tests, find out what type of tests will be administered and what they will measure, what the duration of the tests will be, and if materials are able to be used ie calculators for numerical tests.
Personality tests are designed to help employers gain more insight into each candidate’s work style and preferences. There is no need to study for a personality test as there are no right or wrong responses. They can be used to:
- Reveal your interests and motivations chosen through a series of preferential questions
- Reveal whether you are a good fit for the company culture and role
- Assess your personality type, emotional intelligence, perceptions and communication style
- Assess job and industry specific interests
Emotional intelligence (EI) tests
Emotional intelligence (EI) tests may be used to identify candidates who possess a good level of ’emotional competency’. EI is your capacity to recognise and manage emotions in yourself and in your relationships, use feelings to guide your thoughts and actions, and motivate yourself and others.
Gamification involves using online games to test a candidate’s suitability for a role. What you are tested on will depend on the organisation and position, but these types of games generally test your knowledge and skills, such as your creativity, innovative thinking, problem solving and time management. Through this technology the employer can track how quickly you learn, your behaviours and in some cases how you approach risks. Employers that use gamification may team this method with other types of assessments, such as psychometric testing.
- You don’t need to be a professional gamer to do well in these games. Recruiters don’t make them overly technical and difficult to follow, but you do need to take them seriously.
- Make sure you are in a quiet place where you can focus on the game without distractions.
- Read the instructions. You may not get a second chance to play the game, so be sure to do any pre-reading they give you.
- Read over the job description so that you understand the key responsibilities and skills required for the job – these are skills you are likely to be tested on, so keep that in mind while you are playing the game.
If you have a disability, you may need to ask for adjustments to certain methods of testing. Students with a disability (including mental health conditions) who are in their final year, seeking a final year placement or graduate employment (including pre-employment testing) can get support from University Specialist Employment Partnerships (USEP), which is a free, on-campus employment service. The program is available for Townsville and Cairns students who are Australian citizens.
Marriott International uses a game called “My Marriott Hotel” to screen job candidates – they design their own restaurant, purchase inventory on a budget, train employees and serve guests. They are awarded points for satisfied customers and they lose points for poor customer service.
“Reveal the Game” was developed by L’Oreal to help applicants challenge themselves in the development of a new product launch using a real-world scenario. Applicants can compete with each other and share results via social media. For recruiters, it is a great way to gauge actual performance and recruit the best.
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- Cameron School of Business. (n.d.). Behavioural Based Interview Questions THE STAR METHOD. Retrieved from https://csb.uncw.edu/bbtcap/interview%20questions-%20s.t.a.r.pdf
- Careers.govt.nz. (2019). Tests at interviews. Retrieved from https://www.careers.govt.nz/job-hunting/interviews/tests-at-interviews/
- Chartered Management Institute. (2019). 4 ways gamification is shaking up the interview process. Retrieved from https://www.managers.org.uk/insights/news/2015/december/four-ways-gamification-is-shaking-up-the-interview-process
- Gamification.co. (n.d.). L’Oreal uses serious games for employee recruitment. Retrieved from https://www.gamification.co/2014/10/01/loreal-uses-serious-games-employee-recruitment
- Glassdoor. (2019). Ask an interview coach: How do I answer hypothetical interview questions? Retrieved from https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/hypothetical-interview-questions/
- GradLeaders. (n.d.). 6 Gamification examples: A real game-changer for recruitment and career services. Retrieved from https://www.gradleaders.com/blog/post/gamification-examples
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- Hays. (2019). Assessment Centres. Retrieved from https://www.hays.com.au/employer-services/HAYS_028824
- HR Trend Institute. (2019). 9 examples of gamification in HR. Retrieved from https://hrtrendinstitute.com/2019/02/25/9-examples-of-gamification-in-hr
- Indeed Career Guide. (2019). How to respond to a job rejection email. Retrieved from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-respond-to-a-job-rejection-email
- Indeed Career Guide. (2019). Interview question: “Tell me about yourself” (With example answer). Retrieved from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/interview-question-tell-me-about-yourself
- The Interview Guys. (2020). How to Master the STAR Method for Interview Questions. Retrieved from https://theinterviewguys.com/star-method/
- LinkedIn Learning. (n.d.). Example interviews: Tell me about your strengths. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/learning/mastering-common-interview-questions/example-interviews-tell-me-about-your-strengths?u=2223545
- LinkedIn Learning. (n.d.). Making a great impression. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/learning/linkedin-learning-highlights-finding-a-job-and-managing-your-career/making-a-great-impression?u=2223545
- Public Service Commission NSW. (2019). Work sample exercises. Retrieved from https://www.psc.nsw.gov.au/workforce-management/recruitment/recruitment-and-selection-guide/planning-a-recruitment-and-selection-process/selecting-fit-for-purpose-assessments/work-sample-exercises#written-exercises
- Readygrad. (2019). What is an assessment Centre?. Retrieved from https://www.readygrad.com.au/blog/what-assessment-centre
- Recruiterbox. (2019). Gamification in recruiting. Retrieved from https://recruiterbox.com/blog/gamification-in-recruiting
- Robert Half. (2019). Behavioural interview questions. Retrieved from https://www.roberthalf.com.au/career-advice/interview/behavioural-questions
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- Seek. (n.d.). What employers have no right to ask. Retrieved from https://www.seek.com.au/career-advice/article/illegal-interview-questions-what-employers-have-no-right-to-ask
- Target jobs. (2019). The graduate job hunters guide to gamification. Retrieved from https://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/psychometric-tests/453607-the-graduate-job-hunters-guide-to-gamification
- TopResume. (n.d.). 7 Tips for the Morning of Your Interview. Retrieved from https://au.topresume.com/career-advice/7-tips-for-the-morning-of-your-interview
- The Muse. (2019). How to nail your digital interview (and actually get to meet the hiring manager in person). Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-nail-your-video-assessment-and-actually-get-to-meet-the-hiring-manager-in-person
- University of Huddersfield. (n.d.). Psychometric Tests. Retrieved from https://students.hud.ac.uk/media/universityofhuddersfield/content2013/services/careersandemployability/pdfs/Psychometric-Tests.pdf
- University of Sydney. (n.d.). Assessment Centres. Retrieved from https://sydney.edu.au/careers/students/applying-for-jobs/assessment-centres
- WorkPac Group. (n.d.). What to wear to a job interview: The complete guide. Retrieved from https://www.workpac.com/what-to-wear-job-interview-v1
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