Interviews, tests and assessments give employers a chance to consider the following questions in more depth:

  • Can you do the job? – An employer will want to hear more about whether you have the skills, experience and knowledge to fulfil this role and may ask you to actually demonstrate this via online tests or assessment exercises.
  • Will you do the job? – Do you have the interest and enthusiasm to give your all in this particular role?
  • Will you fit in? – You look good on paper but how will your working style, values and goals fit with those of this organisation?

Interviews

Preparation really is the key to a successful interview. Researching more about the role and company you are applying to can help you predict the sorts of questions that could come up, and practise how you can answer them based on your own skills and experience.

Personal safety is also important with an increase in smaller companies, studio offices and working from home.

Telephone and video interviews

You should prepare for telephone and video interviews with the same care as for face-to-face ones, but there a few extras to keep in mind.

How we can help

Tests

Psychometric tests are assessment techniques designed to measure a range of human characteristics including intellectual ability/ aptitude, personality, motivation and situational judgement.

Typically, they are timed and completed online, and should have been carefully selected to measure whether you have the specific abilities or personal qualities referenced in the job specification. Your score (or profile) is compared with the scores of previous, successful applicants and/or successful employees, to predict your potential for performing effectively in the job.

Psychometric tests may be used as an initial filter to determine whether you will proceed to the next stage of selection (usually an interview). In this case, there will be a cut-off score to progress.

Alternatively, psychometric tests may be used at the final stage of selection as part of an assessment centre. In this case, the test results will be considered alongside the other elements of the selection process.

Our top tips for psychometric tests

  • Give yourself plenty of time in a calm and familiar environment and make sure you have the equipment you need (stable internet connection, pen and paper, calculator etc.)
  • Pay careful attention to any instructions.
  • For ability (aptitude) tests, where there is a right or wrong answer, take advantage of practise tests to familiarize yourself with the test experience and style of questions. Pace yourself to balance accuracy Vs speed.
  • For situational judgement tests, research what the company is looking for and their core values to help you decide what is the most appropriate action to take in a particular situation.
  • For personality tests there is no right or wrong answer, so answer them in an as straightforward manner as you can; trying to guess what a specific employer is looking for may well be counter-productive.
  • Declare any disabilities to the employer in advance, if you need adjustments to be made.

Sample tests and advice 

You can find more detailed psychometric testing advice and sample tests on Engage (login required).

University of Westminster students can also create a free account on the Practice Aptitude Tests website to take sample tests and access further resources.  

Assessment centres

Some employers will ask you to attend an assessment centre, so a larger number of selectors can assess your performance in a range of job-related activities over a longer period of time, usually lasting a half or full day, together with a number of other candidates.

Assessment centres may involve the following:

  • Simulation exercises – to assess your performance in a job-relevant task, such as a business case study or e-tray exercise, and/or assess a job-relevant skill or competency. These may be performed in a group or individually.
  • Presentations – You might be asked to bring along a prepared presentation or prepare one at the assessment centre to deliver to the assessors and potentially other candidates.
  • Interview(s) – as above, to further discuss your suitability and motivation for the role within this organisation.
  • Psychometric tests – as above, including aptitude (what) and/or personality (how) tests.
  • Information sessions – to update you on the organisation, its activities and job opportunities. Take advantage of these to make sure you are fully briefed on the organisation and the job roles, prior to the other exercises.
  • Social periods – such as lunch with other candidates, recent graduates and more senior management. This is an opportunity to find out more about the organisation in an informal setting, ask lots of questions and display your enthusiasm.

Visit our Engage resources to read further advice on how to prepare for an assessment centre or make an appointment to discuss this with a careers consultant.