In this ebook:
An overview of the APC interview
Find out why preparation is so important
Top tips to help you through the interview
Your final assessment interview will contain a number of standard components. After the welcome by the chairman, your first task will be to give your presentation to the panel. The panel will then question you on the issues raised. Afterwards, they will question you on your wider training and experience, in relation to your chosen competencies.
The interview can be described as an information-gathering process in which the interviewer's most important responsibility is to accurately assess the applicant’s knowledge. You will do the majority of the talking. At the end of the interview, the assessment panel will consider the information gathered and how well it meets the criteria set for the interview. This will determine whether the objective has been met, which will then determine the outcome – have you been successful?
No two assessment panels will ask exactly the same questions as these will relate to your submissions, your chosen competencies and to your experience, although broader questions may be asked to explore wider competency achievement and RICS issues and ethics.
Read on to find out:
Why preparation is so important
Top tips to help you through the interview
How isurv can help you revise and prepare
It's all in the preparation
Structured and planned revision and preparation for the final assessment are critical.
The final assessment can be compared to training for a major sporting event. To be successful, an athlete needs to approach the run-up to the big event in a planned and structured way, looking to peak, in performance terms, on the day. You need to take the same approach to the run-up to your final assessment. Put the time and effort in, and you will be more likely to succeed.
In the lead-up to the big event, you need a clear understanding of competency-based interviewing, so that you can take an informed approach to the revision and preparation needed for the final assessment interview.
Top tips to help you in the interview
Ice-breaker: ensure you prepare for the ice-breaker in advance. Give it some thought and use it to provide the panel with some further insight into your training and experience.
Pause for thought: always pause for thought before responding to questions. The panel will not expect you to leap into answers. Stand back for a moment, consider the question, collect your thoughts and then respond – it forces the assessor to revisit the phrasing of the question and may help to focus your thoughts. However, you should do this only sparingly.
Chronological order: when responding, think about chronology. A lot of the questions will command a response with a natural chronological order; for example, relating to techniques employed or the order of carrying out a particular task or function. This will help you collect your thoughts and ensure you don't miss any important aspects of the response required.
Key issues: if there is no chronological order inherent in your response, you may prefer to think of your answer in terms of key issues. In this respect, you may find it helpful to use the various competency statements as a guide to your preparation for the interview. These statements provide the trigger for the areas of questioning by the panel.
Unfamiliar areas of experience: you will be asked questions outside your main areas of experience. In these instances, do not be afraid to qualify your response. Don't forget, the assessor may have placed you outside your main areas of experience to test how well you can draw from these areas and apply your learning and knowledge to unfamiliar territory. Make sure you qualify your answers by indicating whether you have limited or no experience in any particular subject area.
Mental blocks: everyone suffers from nerves during an interview. You may have a complete mental block or stumble with the answer. Don't worry; the panel is trained to help you in these situations; for instance, by giving you more time, or approaching a question from a different angle. You will also be offered the opportunity to return to areas of questioning at the end of the interview.
Mental blocks: everyone suffers from nerves during an interview. You may have a complete mental block or stumble with the answer. Don't worry, the panel is trained to help you in these situations; for instance, by giving you more time, or approaching a question from a different angle. You will also be offered the opportunity to return to areas of questioning at the end of the interview.
Bluffing: do not try to bluff or waffle your way through the answers. The assessors are experienced surveyors and will probably detect when you are unsure or are attempting to guess the answers. Often, when you are unsure in an interview, your body language or tone of voice is a giveaway. Bluffing gives a bad impression in terms of duty of care and being aware of your limitations. If you are not sure, or really have no idea, simply tell the panel.
Final word: you will be offered the last word by the chairperson when the interview is drawing to a close. At this stage only re-open an area of questioning if it is absolutely vital. Close the interview by thanking the assessors for their time, smile and leave the room.
Here are five key questions that candidates asked APC assessors’ during a recent Q&A session run by RICS Training.
1. In the interview, will the assessors make it clear which competency level they’re targeting or will I need to work that out for myself?
Although sometimes they may do, Assessors are trained to signpost the competency, but not the level.
However, all interviews are different and this doesn’t happen every time though for various reasons, so train yourself to listen out for keywords.
2. Do you have any guidance on handling open-ended questions?
The skill is to pick up on any signposting in the question. Once you’ve done this, give a concise (but not one word) answer.
If the assessor then needs more information, it’s their job to get it from you.
3. How long do the questions on ethics last?
Typically you have 10 minutes on conduct rules and mandatory competencies - remember one wrong answer means immediate referral, so don’t overlook them.
4. How similar is it to a job interview?
The questions are all based on the competencies and to the levels you have recorded.
It’s in a panel format, usually with two assessors and a chairperson. It’s a formal process but also a professional and technical assessment - not a personality test.
5. Do you have any general advice on how to prepare?
The key to success is planning - don’t leave it all to the last minute. Plan your APC studies into your working week. It may be daunting but breaking it down into manageable chunks will help.
You will have the degree or relevant qualifications; the key is now applying yourself. Always seek help wherever you can, whether it’s from your supervisor, counsellor or resources such as RICS training, events and isurv.