3-stage approach to passing tests and interviews

Funminiyi Olubanjo

Funminiyi works in the Nigerian office of one of the Big 4 professional services firms

Ok, so you have gotten the invite to attend the aptitude tests, ohh my what a feeling , but don’t call your friends or start buying new suits yet and definitely don’t tell your extended family, yes optimism is all great but better proceed with caution. Yeah, it can be embarrassing going back to friends and family several to report rejection letter.


Stage 1: Acing the test

So now you have that invite , probably at Chams Consulting or Workforce Limited or Dragnet Nigeria, but that’s besides the point. To be effectively prepared these are my surefire tips to get you set up but as always it all comes down to you  and your depth:-

  • Visit online forums, with the most popular being Nairaland.com and read about past recruitments and if you are lucky, you will get past questions for the exams. This is your cheat sheet to success, as it gives you a guide to the format and type of questions certain employers ask.
  • Read GMAT and GRE study materials.
  • Brush up on your logical and critical thinking.
  • And this is a personal tip from my experience I call it the “who the cap fits ” method , whenever you are in doubt , input your objective answers into the question (mathematical) and see which fits , it’s faster than over calculating . *winks*
  • Finally, remember precision is the name of the game, speed and accuracy, no point being super-fast and failing or answering correctly and answering 20 out of 100 questions. Good luck.


School2job cover 2

Stage 2: Preparing for interview

“We are pleased to inform you …. Blah blah”

Congratulations you got to the next stage and you are brilliant and I am sure there is some statistic out there to support that claim ( let’s hope so. ) , but don’t  bask in the euphoria just yet , assessment center is up next , that’s a whole day of, like it says in the name, assessment, ranging from Microsoft Office proficiency, group presentations, interviews, group interviews, and personal presentation . If it’s  “a good place to work” you might get certain refreshments, but not always.


Ok, so how do you get prepared for this? If you have retained some of the knowledge from reading for the aptitude tests, it will come in handy. But what else?


  • Improve and practice various Microsoft Office suite actions across all the tools word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook, YES, I said outlook, you would be surprised but skills in this mail manager is also needed.
  • Improve on your confidence, for presentations, the trick is to speak up and get noticed, at the same time giving your team mates enough time to effectively contribute, remember to not shoot down ideas but assertively weigh opinions.
  • For personal presentations, speak up, sit right with your posture, make your case known in the first few minutes, don’t bore your interviewers, gesticulate very minimally, don’t become a musical conductor, be calm.
  • Remember to interact with your fellow applicants during break times, because networking is key and you might never know when you might need a person’s help in the near future. Remember to collect the contacts of people that align with your career objective, people and events are all springboards to your future success.
  • Final tip: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER say that you are an expert at Microsoft Excel , no matter what you think you know , there is always something in excel you won’t know , if you know you have never done a special course on Excel, please claim to be a novice, it’s one of the most complex tools in the world . You have been forewarned.



Stage 3:  The almighty Interview

In most companies, there are two interviews – the first interview with the Human Capital/Resources department and then the executive/partners interview with the members of senior management. And some companies take it further and perform some unconventional interviews like interviews by observation or phone and Skype interviews but these are rare. But the principles discussed below encompass all forms of interviews and give you a guide on how to comport yourself during these interviews.


  • Most important tip of the interview: how you dress is the way you are addressed. Please and please, dress smart. I will explain: remember that the right dress format for corporate jobs is the full suit and tie for men and the rules are more lax for women but remember to choose longer than knee length skirts, not too fitting shirts so as not to convey the wrong message to your interview panel. No bright colors, no ill-fitting clothes , no odd shoes like sneakers, so keep your Nike air maxs at home, and most importantly no Hausa perfume ( no offence to the Hausa brethren , but you get what I mean.). The key is to be conservative.
  • Get to the interview venue at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time. No African time please, it’s your future on the line.
  • Confidence is sexy, make sure your carriage is on point and this automatically creates a magnetic effect that attracts your panel to you and creates ease in answering your questions.
  • Back up your finesse with knowledge, no empty vessels allowed. Remember to have instances for all your traits, back up everything with a practical example.
  • Smile, and speak audibly, remember to convey you messages clearly and always have intelligent questions to ask at the conclusion of the interview.
  • Remember to replace your chair if you pulled it out to sit.



See also: From School to Job: A Complete Guide

For more discussions on education and careers, join our forum, HOTPROFORUM

CV Review

Interview Preparation

Career Guide

Career School

Career Networking

Professional Networking

Subscribe free to JarusHub for more tips on careers and education


One Comment

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome. Spread the word about Jarushub!
Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!