Thursday, 01 December 2016

Interview tests and exercises

A interview test and task know-how by The Lady Recruits

Written by Amy Cosgrove
In an increasingly competitive job market employers need ways to ensure that they are really choosing the best candidate. For this reason tests and exercises are becoming increasingly popular as they give the recruiter the opportunity to see how you work and how you are likely to perform if they offer you the role. What form the task will take is completely dependent on the type of position you are interviewing for but we will cover some of the more common tasks here.

At The Lady Recruits we predominantly focus on domestic roles such as Nanny's, Housekeepers and Chefs Etc. In this instance a test is likely to involve completing a physical task such as ironing a shirt, assisting a child with an activity or preparing a meal. As with any test, the key is to remain calm and think through your actions carefully. The recruiter will be aware that you are potentially nervous but it is important to treat the task as if it were a normal day at work for you. You may be working with existing staff members and if this is the case keep in mind that it is highly likely they will be asked their opinion of you as well. This is an excellent opportunity to see how the company/household operates and to see if you will fit in so make the most of it and ensure you are making your own observations as well as trying to impress.

Another common interview test is a written exercise, such as writing an email, letter or essay. It goes without saying that you need to keep a keen eye on your spelling and grammar. Just like an exam, ensure that you read the instructions you are given very carefully. If you are asked to respond to a hypothetical situation via an email or letter ensure that you take the time to really understand the purpose of the email and what the key points are that you need to address. Other written tasks can include proof reading or summarising a document. The point of this task is to test your written communication skills as well as your attention to detail and your ability to pick out the key pieces of information that need to be included.

Case studies are intended to mimic a real work situation which you are required to respond to either in a report, a series of emails or verbally. This exercise is testing your ability to absorb and analyse information as well as your ability to solve problems. It insures that you think through your decisions and can justify them, as well as your ability to manage your time. In tasks such as this there isn't necessarily a right or wrong answer so long as you can justify your decisions.

In-tray and e-tray exercises present you with a fictional working day in the form or a number of emails, letters, phone calls or reports. Your task is to organise your work load and prioritise what is time-critical. You may be required to draft replies to emails, or it may simply be a case of explaining what your plan of action would be. Organise the pieces of work by what is most important and what is urgent. Important and urgent work should be completed first, important and not urgent next, urgent and unimportant third and unimportant and non urgent last. Keep calm, read the work carefully and be aware of your time limits. If you need to present your hypothetical actions in bullet points this is perfectly acceptable.

Simple exercises that test your ability on word and excel are also common. Familiarise yourself with the programmes and practice a few simple formulas such as SUM and AVERAGE. Clues to the nature of the tests you will undertake can be found in the job description but the key is to stay calm and work through the task logically and carefully. Although they are undoubtedly important, do not let them distract you from the real challenge- the interview itself.

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