Friday, January 18, 2013

How to Succeed at Assessment Centres, Phone and Panel Interviews

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Panel Interviews
A panel interview typically involves two or more people interviewing one candidate. The reason for this is that hiring decisions are generally made by a consensus of a number of interviewers, and it is often more expedient to get everyone to agree if they all partake in the same interview. The downside is that, ceteris paribus, one single panel interview may be less thorough than a series on one-on-ones, and your talents and expertise may not be fully disclosed.

The key point to remember is don't treat these differently than one-on-ones. When one interviewer asks a question, as you answer it keep your eyes forward on the person as if this was a one-on-one interview, but also make occasional eye contact with the other panellists. Sometimes the participants may play roles. One being the aggressor, one the interrupter and one the observer. In such cases the secret is to remember that they each may be playing specific roles, and that may be part of the interview. It's not a personal attack; it's probably designed to see how you react under pressure. So, just stay calm. Be polite, keep smiling and avoid getting into an argument, for that will surely be your down side.

Telephone Interview
Telephone interviews are becoming increasingly common as the world of investment banking is becoming more and more homogeneous and hiring mandates are undertaken on a global basis. Another reason may be that the interviewer may be based overseas, and for time or financial reasons, it is not possible to arrange for either of the parties to travel for a face-to-face meeting. If given the choice-and you are willing to travel-a face-to-face, rather than a phone interview, is recommended.

When you do participate in a telephone interview, make sure you are in an environment where you can talk without any interruptions and have a notepad and pen for taking notes. Whenever possible, always conduct your interview on a landline rather than a mobile phone.

Assessment Centres
These interviews typically come at the end of the recruitment process and are most common for graduate-level positions. You will generally spend half, or a whole day at the bank's offices with a mixture of:
• Interviews: one-on-ones or panel.
• Group exercises. For example, the group of people being interviewed is split into teams of six people and given a set of information. They are asked to provide a five-minute presentation with a recommendation to a potential client. The audience would be an interview panel.
• Psychometric tests.
Let's assess your behaviour during assessment centres, especially group exercises. Your participation should be a fine balance between providing your input, helping to make things happen and involving other group members, especially the less-performing ones:
• Listen: Make sure you listen to the instructions, carefully. Listen to what other team members have to say.


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