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10 Common Reasons for Failing an Interview or Assessment Centre – Part 1

Today’s job market is highly competitive, we all know that, but with these increases in competition there is also a great chance to stand out. When you get to the interview or assessment centre stage there is lots to think about, but whilst it can seem overwhelming there are some common reasons why people fail.

In the first of two parts, we talk to Kelly Davis, one of our very own Executive Consultants, about some of these common mis-steps and, importantly, how you can avoid them.

1. “Under preparing is preparing to fail”

Preparation before an interview or assessment centre is key to making sure you are successful. It is vital in today’s competitive market place that you have left ‘no stone unturned’ in your preparation. Even when a company has said there is nothing to prepare in advance, there always is!

Try to network people who work for the company and may have already been through their recruitment process and utilise your recruitment consultants knowledge on what a manager or company looks for.

2. Be specific

This is a very common piece of feedback and is related to my first point, being prepared! As part of your preparation it is important to plan out your examples for different competencies/behaviours/capabilities. These can be often found on the job description or speak to your recruitment consultant to find out more.

Think about your previous experiences and plan out a S.T.A.R.L (Situation, Target, Action, Result, learnt) to demonstrate each competency. This way you know you will have gone into enough depth into each answer. I would advise you to write out your examples, this way you can clearly see if you have either repeated a point or maybe not discussed the ‘action’ part of the answer. Every manager will be listening out for your STARL answer!

3. Passion

It is important to demonstrate how passionate and excited you are about the product, company and role. Managers want you to be excited about their opportunity; if you are, they will be excited about you and how you can make a positive impact in the role.

Sometimes nerves can mask someone’s true passion for the job. If you know you suffer with nerves, make sure at some point you express verbally how much you would like to be offered the role.

4. Tardiness

After all your time preparing for the interview, it would be a real shame to turn up late, due to getting stuck in traffic and arriving all flustered and stressed.  Make sure you have allowed plenty of time to get to the venue, be prepared that you may get stuck in traffic. You want to aim to get to the venue early enough that you have time to locate a coffee shop or cafe nearby or somewhere you can relax, get some fresh air and look over your notes before the interview.

You want to aim to be sat waiting for the interviewer 15 minutes before your interview or assessment centre starts. Remember, it may take time to even locate the right room if the venue is in a busy hotel.

5. Lack of sales evidence

Any achievements/sales you have claimed in your CV, you will need to have evidence to back these up in your brag file. Also aim to have evidence for your S.T.A.R.L.  based examples; is there anything you can bring to life and put into your brag file? For example: Business plans (Business focused), copy of a presentation you did to your team (sharing and gathering information), thank you emails from customers (customer focused).

Practise using your brag file to sell yourself, don’t just leave it on the table during the interview and never refer to it. Most important thing to have is all sales evidence especially for you current role. It important to know your data and be able to explain it and make it measurable against the rest of the team.

Enough to get you thinking? It should be. Next week Kelly will be back to talk presentations, the NHS and how to end interviews properly. In the mean time you can check out the latest jobs on our Candidate Page.