Recruitment selection methods - The Careers Group, University of London


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Selection Methods

Useful advice on preparing a presentation, group exercises, written or e-tray exercises and other selection methods you might need to prepare for in your interview process.

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Recruitment selection methods - The Careers Group, University of London

  1. 1. SELECTION METHODS Presentations You might be asked to prepare a presentation prior to your interview or be given a topic on the day. Usually you will be told how long your presentation should be. Subjects vary, but some common themes include challenges facing the organisation or sector; what you have to offer; selling a product or service; or talking about an aspect of your experience. Tips • • • • • Structure your presentation clearly. Introduce yourself and your topic. Note the key points you want to make and elaborate around these. Sum up your case at the end. Avoid having too much detail and facts. Know your audience. Pitch your message to their level of understanding and their interests. Consider posing a question or using practical examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points. Noting key points on index cards or a sheet of paper can stop your mind from going blank. Body language and nerves • Engage your audience by making eye contact, smiling and showing enthusiasm. • Face your audience, don’t turn your back and start reading your slides. • Most people have some nerves before an important presentation. The trick is to work with the adrenalin and don’t let it overtake the process. • Tell yourself that the audience is on your side and needs to hear what you have to say. Written and e-tray exercises Written exercises assess your thinking and drafting abilities and your ability to work quickly and decisively under pressure. Tips for all written exercises • Spend a few minutes at the beginning skimming over the task and planning out your ideas. • Work out an outline of what you want to say before you start writing. • Follow the instructions and make sure you are clear about what needs to be done. The main types of written exercises Case study This is an in-depth analysis of a topic or situation. You will normally be given a lot of information about the issue which may be presented in official reports, tables of figures, newspaper cuttings, emails and other correspondence. You have to decide what the main facts are, the problem which has to be solved and possible alternative solutions. You will then be asked to write a report which summarises the facts, indicates the various alternatives, and outlines your own preferred solution with reasons. Tips • • • Watch out for contradictions, ‘red herrings’ and irrelevancies in the information. Decide quickly which information is useful and relevant to the task and which can be discarded. There is not necessarily one right answer. What counts is how you analyse the problem and how well you argue your case.
  2. 2. In-tray/E-tray exercise Here you are presented with a scenario such as arriving at your desk after a few days away. In your inbox are a number of requests to be dealt with within a specific time frame. These may include: returning a phone call, sending an email, drafting a report or presentation. Your task is to put them in order of priority, note the action you will take along with your rationale. Tips • • • • Don’t get distracted by items which are seemingly urgent but in reality could wait. Consider which tasks might be delegated. Outline clear reasons for your choice. Look for inbuilt contradictions in the materials. Drafting exercise You are given the facts about a sensitive issue and have to express them in a clear and tactful way. An example might be ‘Respond to a journalist requesting your organisation’s comments on accusations made by a competitor’. Tips • • • Use tact and diplomacy but make sure that you don’t lose your message by being too indirect. Keep to the point, don’t include information which is irrelevant. Show you understand the key issues involved for the organisation and situation. Make sure you deal with these. Group exercises A group of candidates, usually four to eight discuss one or more topics. These topics may be related to current affairs or an issue relevant to the employer. You may be given a case study or scenario to read through beforehand. Sometimes you will be given different roles such as a marketing director, HR director or finance director. These are likely to have conflicting agendas. Usually you will be expected to reach a unanimous decision by the end of the allocated time. What are the assessors looking for? Employers are usually looking for a number of different behaviours. Assessors will be watching your performance and scoring you when you evidence a particular skill or behaviour. Below are some of the key skills of an effective group member: • Listening to other’s points, responding, developing an idea, referring back to earlier comments. • Showing an awareness of the group dynamics, drawing quieter members in. • Knowing when to stand your ground and when to compromise. • Adaptability - ability to recognise when a plan of action isn’t working and change tactics. • Clarity of expression - getting your points across clearly and concisely. Tips • • • • Try to forget the assessors are there. Be confident in who you are. Assessors are rarely looking for one type. Contribute throughout the tasks. You will be scored on how much evidence the assessors see. Focus on the key issues, don’t get too bogged down in detail. Remember all of these assessments test skills that you are developing in your university course and beyond. Take every opportunity to try new challenges and stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. © 2013, The Careers Group, University of London This material can be provided in alternative format upon request. An electronic version of this document is available at For further formats, please contact your college careers service or email