Completing a task during the interview, or in some cases even at the application stage of applying for a new role, is a trend that is becoming the norm with hiring managers and companies. Although applicants might groan at the time and effort this takes, it is a great way for companies to compare you to other applicants but also can give you another opportunity to showcase your skills, creativity and ideas and as a result the positives of setting a task usually outweigh the negatives.
When preparing the task consider how to reflect your abilities and really showcase what you will bring to the role if you were to get it. You will be aware at how varied the tasks set can be from company to company and therefore making an assessment of the level of work that needs to be done is important. Some tasks may be a simple ideas project, plan, or strategy or even a presentation on yourself. All will mean you need to make sure you prepare, plan, and execute correctly in order to present with confidence and give yourself the best chance of success.
Analyse what they are asking you to do
It can be fairly overwhelming receiving a task to complete, it's important to not rush into things but to really take time figuring out what they are asking you to do. Put pen to paper and start making notes on things that come to your head as you’re reading it.
Speak to connections/previous colleagues who are in a similar field
Don’t be shy gaining a second opinion from ideally someone in a similar department to the role you’re applying for. It is always worth checking with someone else that your understanding of what needs to be done is correct.
Read the latest industry news
Before you go full steam ahead check the latest industry news, see if anything new from the industry has come out that could impact the department you’re working for and how this might be included.
Start to plan out your points and ideas
Once you feel you have a wider understanding of not only the role and the industry and what you are being asked to do, start planning! Split the task up into subtasks and make notes under these areas.
Bulk out your thoughts
Once you have gathered your ideas and thoughts it's now the time to bulk out your ideas with facts, imagery and context. Companies love when you consider the wider market and industry during interview tasks.
Give it your own personal flare
Although the ideas you produce are exceptionally important, it's also a great opportunity to showcase any creative abilities you have. Make sure any task you hand in is not only well presented, a given, but has a little personal touch to it.
Proofread by a friend or someone in the industry
Once you’ve completed everything to the best of your abilities go back to the same person that initially analysed the task with you and ask them to look over what you have produced. This is an important step to make sure there are not only no mistakes but that you’ve completed the task in full. Give yourself enough time for this process in case there are any changes that need to be made.
If necessary, practice!
Sometimes you may be asked to formally or informally present your presentation. Make sure you practice and time yourself! Practice makes perfect after all.
This is a great opportunity to prove what you can do, so best of luck and hand in anything with confidence and excitement.