How to Handle a Technical Test in an Interview
It is generally considered good business practice to inform a candidate in advance if they will be performing some kind of test at interview – this is to ensure you can plan your time effectively. Therefore, you can normally expect to be forewarned that you will face a technical test at interview. If there is no mention of a test, it may be worth while clarifying the situation with the employer prior to interview to avoid any nasty surprises.
Having prior knowledge that you will be facing a technical test (or any kind of test) at interview is advantageous because you can prepare for it. And prepare you should as there is good evidence to suggest that preparing and practicing tests will improve your performance when under real test conditions.
So what kind of technical tests are you likely to face?
It is likely that you will face some kind of accounting and book-keeping tests which will look at:
- Your understanding of book-keeping and double entry booking concepts,
- Your ability to maintain accurate and updated reports,
- How well you can solve book-keeping errors,
- Data entry and computing accuracy,
- Attention to detail in relation to book-keeping,
- How well you understand basic and complex interactions,
- Situation analysis and improvement in Book-keeping.
With this knowledge in mind, you should ideally look on the internet and find some sample book-keeping tests. Many of the websites will allow you to take sample tests for free, although you will have to pay for the more comprehensive tests. You should take these tests under exam conditions and this will prepare you well to handle a test at interview.
Since accountancy has become so dependent on software and new technology it is likely that the employer will want to assess your software skills – in particular your ability to use their in-house accounting software, e.g. (Sage, Quickbooks, Microsoft). Once again, you can prepare for these tests by searching on-line for ‘accountancy software hiring tests’ and you will find a long list of sites where you can do a software based accountancy test.
Therefore, one of the most effective ways to handle a accountancy interview technical test is to prepare in advance by doing mock tests in all the areas – as this should improve your subsequent performance in the test.
Of course there are also tips to help reduce anxiety and to ensure that you are in an optimal frame of mind on the day of the test as this will also aid your performance during the test.
To help reduce anxiety candidates should avoid caffeine both the day before and on the day of the test and you should ensure you get a good nights sleep the night before. Also, try and reduce common stressors such as getting lost, showing up late, or wearing uncomfortable clothing. Give yourself plenty of time to find the employer and ready yourself before arriving at reception. Don’t arrive too early, as the prolonged anticipation can soon turn to stress.
You can also look at visualization techniques which aid positive thinking and reduce negative automatic thinking – it is used by most successful sports men and women to achieve their goals, so should be taken seriously. Once again, there are a variety of sites of the internet that can school you on visualization, but try and use a site with a credible and qualified author who is registered with a professional body such as the Australian Psychological Society.
If you employ all these preparatory techniques, which include practicing technical tests under exam condition and adopting stress reduction techniques prior to interview, you will be in the best possible position to handle your technical tests.
As the old saying goes, ‘Success is 90% Preparation and 10% Perspiration’.