Most of us will be familiar with gearing up for an occasion where we know we have to do our very best.
But how do we make sense of the conflicting advice of ‘just be yourself’ when we know that we need to do more for any sort of selection situation?
Whether you will be completing an application form, attending an interview or facing an assessment centre, it’s unrealistic to expect that candidates won’t behave a bit differently from normal. When the outcome is important we will all be tempted to exaggerate a little in interviews, or behave in ways that might be a little idealised in a role-play.
So how can we make sure that ‘putting on our best face’ is really going to present us in the best light after all? What if we misjudge it? What if it isn’t quite good enough?
One tip which works wonders, irrespective of type of assessment, is to give more detail than you normally would.
For an ADC
For instance, in a role-play situation for a promotional assessment centre you may find yourself in a situation where you need to deal with someone who is unmotivated or disillusioned. As you go through the meeting you will try to get to the bottom of the issues and discuss ways to improve the situation. At the end of the meeting you might confirm a time to meet again to follow up. This is where it’s important to add more detail. In real life, you would probably leave it at that- assuming that it is implied what you will discuss at a later date. In a ‘simulated’ or ‘fake’ situation you need to be more explicit. This might involve saying not only that you will meet again, but outlining what you intend to cover in that meeting. Again, in real life the conversation you had with the individual might have implied enough information that you don’t need to reiterate it. It might feel false, but your assessors don’t work with what’s ‘implied’. If you don’t state it th ere was no point thinking it!
For an interview we can apply a similar rule. If a friend was asking you about when you have had a successful result to something you have done you might give an overview but there will be a lot unsaid. That’s because you know each other- there is a lot you don’t need to say. In an interview it’s different.
Don’t worry too much about trying to be the perfect applicant- but DO give enough detailso they get a sense of the very best YOU.