One topic that was lively debated at our ‘Interview Tips and Mock APC’ workshop in Manchester on 7th May 2015 was the use of visual aids for your case study presentation at the beginning of your APC interview.
Below are some of the key points discussed at the workshop.
IT based supports
Candidates should be aware that for logistical reasons, APC interviews are traditionally held in unconventional locations such as hotels rooms, airports or football stadia. As a result the rooms are generally small, not equipped with any IT facilities and may present the odd feature such as bedside lights or a couple of busy groundsmen mowing turf under your windows!
Candidates are also strongly discouraged from bringing in laptops, I-pads or mobile phones.
IT equipment takes up valuable time to set up and is notorious for letting you down when you need it the most, so do not take any chances.
Please be also aware that recording your interview under any form of media is strictly forbidden.
A3 easel folders
Having spoken to many assessors, we do not agree with this statement. These A3 easel folders are like Marmite in APC world: some assessors love them, other detest them!
The underlining reason for this division among assessors seems to be that many candidates are very clumsy when using them. In other words, if you want to use one, make sure that you have practiced many times and that that they enhance rather than hinder your presentation skills.
Your slides should be brief and limited to a few key bullet points. Assessors will be very busy listening to you, referring back to your case study and taking notes; they will not have time to read lengthy slides.
You should only use slides to clarify or illustrate a point, and summarise a section if necessary. If they do not add anything to your presentation, you should reconsider whether you need them at all.
If you decide to use an A3 easel, place it on the table to your right or your left (depending whether you are left-handed or right-handed), but never in such a way that it would form a barrier between you and the assessors. You may insert a copy of the slides or some notes for your own use at the back of each slide but chances are that you will have to twist your neck to read them! Practice many times until you find what work best for you and consider using a mind map to assist you.
Once you have finished answering questions on your presentation, remember to put your A3 easel out of the way, may it be on the floor if no better place is available!
Other visual aids
It is perfectly acceptable for candidates to only bring in a chart, graph or plan if it works better for them or if it is all that is required to enhance their presentations. As they say, sometimes less is more!
In such case, we would recommend that you print three A3 copies of your graph / chart / plan for handing over to the assessors at the beginning of your presentation.
As we have mentioned, assessors will not have time to read any large amount of text so hand-outs are not a good idea. Also avoid A1 or A0 drawings as you will have nowhere to open them up.
One-to-one mock APC interviews
Are you sitting your APC in the next couples of months and ready for the final stages of your APC preparation?
Each session, we offer mock APC interviews for candidates in the construction pathways (QS / PM / BS / Infrastructure).
Please e-mail us at Sonia@APCsupport-ltd.co.uk for details.
We also offer many seminars and workshops throughout the year in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield.
You can find all dates and booking links here: http://wp.me/p5Nraq-5j
Best of luck!