Been invited to a group interview or assessment day? Here’s how to prepare…

  11th July 2017      
 Recruitment, Accounting & Finance, CIPD, Employment, Executive Search, Human Resources, IT & Software Solutions, Office & Commercial, Temps


Assessment days are used by employers to compare candidates and illustrate how you react in group situations. It is likely that someone will observe you throughout the day and you may still have a one to one interview for which we would suggest preparing in the usual way.

Should you be invited to a group interview or assessment day, you should be given prior notice. Sometimes they can be difficult to prepare for, however, if you prepare as per a normal interview you should feel confident in at least one area of the assessment. It is likely that you will attend the day with a number of like-minded candidates with a view to finding one or a number of people for similar roles. The day could be split into a number of tasks which could take the form of personality tests, observed assessments, aptitude or in-tray exercises. Make the effort to draw others into group discussions. Your assessors want to see evidence of good leadership and teamwork skills as well as your considered input.

Competency based interviews

Competency based interviews still seem to be very popular, particularly with larger organisations where they tend to use competencies as their preferred selection method. Competency based interviews provide the interviewer with a way of assessing candidates specific behaviours and skills. Using past performance and experiences, the interviewer is able to ascertain if the candidate is right for the role and the company. They can also indicate areas for future development.

Companies develop competency frameworks that are based on the role they are looking to fill and which are specific to the behaviours required to succeed in their specific environment. These questions could be based around; planning and organisation, communication, problem solving and teamwork.

During a competency based interview you will need to give specific examples of prior experience and work related scenarios.

The interviewer is likely to begin their questions with: “Provide an example of when….” Or, “Describe a situation where….”

Preparing for competency based interviews

Prepare as you would for a normal interview as much of the preparation will be similar. The company should provide you with a job description which should include information on the competency framework and skills required. Have a think about how your experience relates to the role and have examples to hand that you could give in terms of situations you have been in, tasks you have undertaken and experiences you have had. Your examples must be very specific and must relate to an actual event or situation that occurred rather than you giving a general overview of a past role.

For example, an interviewer questioning around your ability to work in a team may ask the following question,

“Tell me about a situation where you needed to work as part a team to produce a result”

The answer should include a description of what happened, the approach you took as well as the outcome. Once you have provided an answer, follow up questions may also be asked to clarify specific details. Examples of these can include:

“What was your specific role?”

“What could you have done differently?”

“How did the outcome affect your company?”


Don’t worry if you make a mistake or feel nervous, no one is expecting you to be perfect in all areas, so try not to dwell on your answers.
Last but not least find out when you can call for interview feedback. If you don’t get a job offer this time, you need to know why, so that you can make sure you get an offer next time round.


If you are looking for your next opportunity, we look forward to helping you find some exciting and rewarding career opportunities in Dorset and the surrounding areas. Get in touch today 01202 233777


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