Job Search Part 6: Phone Interviews, Group Interviews and Assessment Centres
Are you looking for work? Then you have come to the right place!
This is the sixth post in our series on Job Search.
In the first post at this link, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/05/job-searchwhat-kind-of-work-are-you-looking-for/ , I said that you have a decision to make! The clearer you are about the kind of work you want, the more likely you are to be successful.
In the second post at this link, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/12/job-search-part-2-where-are-you-looking/ , I set out some options for you about where to look for work
In the third post, you can find it here, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/19/job-search-part-3what-networking-can-do-for-your-job-search/, I said that networking was the most effective way to look for work and I discussed how to do it well.
The fourth post at this link, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/26/job-search-part-4-writing-that-winning-cv/, set out how to write a CV to help you stand-out from the crowd.
In Part 5 we discussed how you prepare to be a star at a conventional interview. http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/08/09/job-search-part-5-preparing-for-the-interview/
Some employers like to go straight to a conventional interview stage. Others screen candidates by asking them to take tests or to attend an assessment centre. Sometimes they like to have a telephone discussion before inviting you to a face to face interview. Today I’m going to cover Phone interviews, Group Interviews and Assessment Centres. But remember as I said last time whatever they choose to do, your winning CV has got you over the first hurdle.
The Phone interview
Lots of organizations now use phone interviews to screen candidates. This helps them cut costs and narrows the pool of applicants.
Preparing for a phone interview
You need to take phone interviews seriously – you don’t want to lose out to better prepared candidates. A telephone interview is as important as any other form of interview or recruitment process. The first impression you make on the phone, how present yourself, answer questions and handle the conversation will decide whether you go forward.
As for a face-to-face interview, you need to find out as much as you can about the organisation and the job. The best place to start is the employer’s website. This will give you the background information you need – the size and structure of the organization, what it does and field/market it works in.
Carry out a quick online search for news about the organization, such as, is it planning to expand or is it in difficulties? This can help you to stand out – have you got ideas for solutions to problems ? You can certainly show familiarity with the issues they are currently addressing. Prepare any questions you want to ask – you can find out more about the role, their culture and opportunities for growth in the company.
Make sure you have a pen and paper handy for note taking and have your CV to hand! They will probably open with questions about your experience.
And, odd as it sounds, dress as you would for an interview to handle the call – it usually helps you to sound more professional.
Some organizations invite several candidates to attend an interview together.
If you are invited for a group interview, again prepare by finding out about the organization and the job, as we have suggested above. The advantages group interviews provide for the employer is that they should see you both as a team player and as a leader.
If you are given a topic to discuss, it can be an opportunity to show both capabilities. You can give a well argued opinion and lead the discussion! But you should also spend time listening carefully to what others say and taking forward the discussion with them. You can ask questions for clarity and at some stage you can sum up the discussion. Don’t try to put others down – show you can lead the group into a useful discussion where everyone takes part. That is most likely to get you an invitation to the next stage.
Assessment centres and tests
If you’re expected to sit numerical reasoning and psychometric tests before an interview or during assessment days, you need to prepare. There are many companies offering free online tests, so you can see how well you do and the areas you need to improve, if you are to get the job you want. We’ve written about assessment centres here before at this link.
And you can also consult the book below. You′ll be guided through how each activity is conducted and how to prepare for each part of the selection process. You′ll find expert advice on how to shine in every activity.
Succeeding at Assessment Centres For Dummies
The next post in this series will tackle be how to negotiate a good offer after you have been successful at the interview stage. If you are serious about career and personal development, I think you will find our new programme at this link http://gettingtherewithwisewolf.com/ interesting!
Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with managers and professionals who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR. She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com