Assessment centre: learning how to outsmart an interviewer

interview meme
If only it was this easy! 

In an event held by the Bio-enterprise and employability module, we were tasked with becoming an interviewer for the day and at the same time we also had a chance to be the interviewee.

Small groups of students were put together and an envelope full of interview-type questions, was given to us. I was not the first to be the interviewee and im quite glad I wasn’t as I can imagine it would have been quite nerve-wrecking, especially having to do it in front of a small group of people.

interview

The ‘interview’ would have a 5-minute time limit, which forced us to be concise and to get straight to the point. Each question fell along the lines of typical general questions that might come up in a real interview situation.

After watching a couple of people go before me and experiencing what it was like to be in the seat of power asking the questions, it was finally my turn. I had to sit in a chair facing the other members of the group and when the 5-minute stopwatch began counting down, I was suddenly stuck with an instant quiver of nervousness, it caused me to pause after the first question and made me stumble over my beginning words. I quickly regained composure, took a breath, apologised and then continued with my answer to the question. I have used this technique for getting over a ‘vocal hurdle’ per se when talking in a professional manner and it appears to work every time.

The remaining questions were quite easily answered. I’m used to this kind of speaking as I have practiced my interview skills quite a lot and this gave the confidence to speak about myself with ease. When the interview was completed I had to leave the room and wait for my peers to assess me and fill out a feedback sheet. Upon completion of this, I returned to find that I had scored highly out of 100 and that my peers had found it hard to pick out any possible improvements that I could make.

The only complaint I got, remarked upon my very relaxed and calm state and I was told that I was almost too relaxed. I was very happy with my performance but I think I could improve more on my literacy and I also found myself saying the word ‘always’ which my peers did not pick up on but a well-seasoned interviewer may have noticed.

Becoming an interviewer was one of the best aspects of this centre as I have never been in that situation before and I don’t think most of the other students had either. At first, it was hard to critically analyse someone’s skills especially when you had to judge and deliver feedback to the more un-experienced people in the group.

My Opinions

This assessment centre helped in the re-assurance that my interview skills had not fallen from the high standard I strive to reach. It was very beneficial to get instant feedback on your performance and this made for quite a fun and challenging workshop.

Thanks for reading,

Cian.

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