My anticipation was that the interview would be fairly technical, however the focus was entirely on softer skills. Most of the questioning seemed to focus on getting me to talk about communication skills, group work, solutions-oriented thinking and professionalism (for example, I was asked about conflict resolution and if I'd ever had personal issues with someone in a professional environment; if so how I'd dealt with the situation etc).
The interview was about 40 minutes in duration and was quite tailored to the application I had filled out, in that my responses to the application had informed and flavored the interview they set out for me. It was a one-on-one session and fairly relaxed as these things go.
The format of the interview was quite traditional and favored the interviewee (me) in leading the discussion - the questions essentially served as prompts for me to try and bring up the things I felt were relevant and gave me a fair degree of freedom to direct the discussion.
Other topics included what had attracted me to the role, why did I think I would be well suited to the placement etc. We also discussed what sort of things I had been working on while at university and what my career plans were. There was also the standard questions section to conclude.
Most difficult question
I would advise just turning up well rested and positive. Remember to bring pens etc, but I wouldn't bother taking a notepad or the like - I went expecting to take notes but didn't really need to at all. Also if you're travelling a long way, I'd recommend staying somewhere the night before. They reimburse up to £100 of travel expense, so it's definitely worth doing to make sure you're fresh and ready on the day.
The format of the interview and the day in general was very favorable, as the candidates were given a deal of opportunity to show our ability and individuality. Approach it more as a way to find out more information about the position and whether you think it would be right for you.
Experiences at the assessment centre
There was also an hour long written assessment based on this same hypothetical company. This was a solo task, which again had the candidate review material for this imaginary company in order to create a list of issues, ranked by severity. The task also had the candidate pick the 3 most important issues, defend the picking of them and suggest means by which the issues could be solved.
- Group / Panel
- Senior Management
- Verbal reasoning
- Assessment centre
- Group exercise
- Background check
- Competency based questions