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Is Your Career the Right Kind of Equestrian Event?

Is Your Career the Right Kind of Equestrian Event?
A guide to selection processes...

The word career has a number of possible origins, one of which is the French word for horse race ‘carriere’. But if a career is a horse race, what kind of event would it be? Over the summer we have watched a range of equestrian events: cross country, show jumping, dressage, team and individual.

There are also flat races, steeplechases and point to points.

A cross country career would involve lots of twists and turns, different gradients and a series of
challenges some more unexpected than others. A dressage career would be one where perfection would matter, a slow and precise exercise after years of training and practice. It might be a career that is one of the exercise of consummate skill. A show jumper learns simple  jumps and keeps on progressing to higher and higher jumps. Horse racing is more of a career  of tactic, at what point in  the race do you go flat out? Where do you position the horse on the  course? How well will your horse respond to the ground conditions? Breeding and training are the foundations of a good racer.

Going over the jumps in a steeplechase adds an extra challenge, and unlike show jumping it does not matter if you knock the fences down!

Careers are not really horse races, but there are some things to be learnt by considering the
parallels. And in another respect we would do well to remember the similarity.

When it comes to applying for jobs and going through a selection process you could do worse than think of it as an equestrian event; but more of a three-day event than a dressage or show jumping.

You need the right breeding, i.e. background of education, skills and aptitudes; and then you need the preparation and practice. Just as a jockey or rider walks the course and tests the ground, you need to familiarise yourself with the territory and plan out how you are going to win the race - because in selection there is only one winner. It is a first past the post event.

And because it is a first past the post event it is not a cumulative event. In show jumping you
accumulate (faults) points as you progress around the course, you can knock the first fence down and still end up with the best score and take the gold. In recruitment/selection if you fail at the first hurdle then you fail. If your CV is not spot-on, then you are out of the race. And what you put in your CV may count for little once you get into the interview; it is your performance in that interview that carries your forward to the assessment centre. The assessment centre is a three day event in its own right and less of a race and more of a show jumping event. And if you are successful you can progress to the Grand National equivalent of a final interview.

One of the lessons we have learned from the fantastic sporting summer is that every athlete needs their trainer or coach. If you want to excel at any sport or in any selection event, get yourself a coach. Someone who understands what it takes, who will give you great feedback, who will correct your faults and give you all the encouragement and confidence building you need.

So remember, applying for a job is a steeplechase, get round the course and get past the post first... and do it better with a coach!

About the author: This is Mary Hopes second blog article. She is a careers coach, for more information about Mary you can visit her website.

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New Advanced Managerial Test!

Advanced Managerial Test at JobTestPrep
Our test writers are at it again! Our latest test to be developed is the Numerical Managerial Test. This is our most advanced numerical reasoning test, as it can require you to analyse three sources of data for one question.

Who is this test for?

This test is usually used in the screening process for business settings. It parallels business environments where you will be required to hone in on specific details and recognise patterns from multiple information sources.

It is targeted at manager and executive level positions and is our most sophisticated and challenging numerical test yet, meeting the standards of the most recent developments in numerical testing for these levels. 

The test will be included in both our managerial level packages (Aptitude Tests Practice Packs for Managers £69; All-in-one Customised Practice Pack for Managers £115). It will also be added to our Numerical Reasoning Pack (£29) which you can now purchase at no additional cost.

Test yourself with our free Numerical Reasoning Test Sample >>

Format of the Test

You will have 35 minutes to complete 30 questions and may use a calculator. This test is multiple-choice and is split into several sets of questions. For each set you will typically be presented with at least three different sorts of data (it could be written texts, tables, diagrams, pie-charts, fluctuation charts, etc.) You will then need to pick the relevant information for each question, identify trends across a wide range of data and combine statistics from different sources. After finishing the test, our test-system will allow you to view your normalized score.

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More information on Numerical Reasoning Tests >>

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How to Dress for an Interview

Dress for success for your interview - JobTestPrep's Blog
Interviews are one of the most daunting processes you can experience. Whether it be a group or individual interview, it can be difficult to keep your nerves under control when all eyes are on you. With this in mind, it is important that you look your best as first impressions are everything.

What should I wear?

Dress smartly and comfortably. If you attend the interview in clothes that don't fit or are too casual, the interviewer will think you're not serious about the job role. As you enter the room, offer your hand to the assessor and shake firmly. This touch of confidence combined with your well-dressed appearance should create the impact needed to positively influence the employer’s initial thoughts about you.

Clothing for Men

  • Men should opt for a dark coloured matching 2-piece suit. Dark blue or grey suits are generally the preferred option as black can seem too sharp and severe. Slim-fit suits look good but generally, as long as your suit is well-pressed, square at the shoulders, long enough in the arm and leg length and not too loose or too tight you will present a solid prepared and smart image. You don't have to spend too much on a suit but if you have to wear it for work, it will be convenient to invest in one that fits correctly so you can use it for a few years.
  • Choose a long sleeved, light coloured shirt to match your suit. Make sure the colour you choose compliments well; white and light blue are the safest options. The collar should be buttoned at the top to help emphasise your professionalism.
  • To complete the look, wear a matching suit tie and ensure the tip reaches the belt buckle. Avoid loud colours, characters and patterns; this can give an informal appearance. A Windsor knot is the most traditional way to secure the tie so to save time, make sure you know how to fix one correctly before the day of your interview arrives.
Polished Shoes - Be ready for your interview! - JobTestPrep's Blog
  • Shoes should be polished and dark; socks and belt should match in colour. 
  • Keep accessories to a minimum and wear non-perfumed cologne. Any visible body piercings should be removed and tattoos covered. You don't want to distract the attention away from the main focus which is your suitability for the role!
  • For a more casual style interview, opt for chinos, shirt or polo with a jumper or cardigan. Stay away from jeans and trainers as they look too relaxed for the purpose of your meeting.

Clothing for Women

  • Avoid tight-fitting attire. Dark coloured trousers or a knee length skirt will help you look professional and smart. Alternatively, a plain suit dress will also be appropriate. With both combinations, make sure they are accompanied with a blazer that corresponds with the outfit. 
    Pale coloured blouse - Be prepared for success for interview - JobTestPrep's Blog
  • Stay sensible with a pale coloured blouse to match your suit trousers or skirt. Ensure that the neckline is not low; the employer may view you as unprofessional.
  • For footwear, stick to pumps or shoes with a low heel. Heels can help you with your posture and make you look smart and classy.
  • Keep jewellery and make-up to a minimum. Heavy make-up can make you look cheap and this isn't what you want to be remembered for.
  • For a business casual style interview, day dresses and maxi dresses are appropriate but combine them with a smart blazer to keep your outfit well-dressed and suitable for the interview.


Preparation is key so check your employer’s website to see if there are any clues to the company dress code and if in doubt, it’s better to go too smart than too casual. You will not be judged if you turn up too smart but they will be less than impressed if you turn up in a tracksuit and trainers. Most importantly remember to smile! It shows you are a confident, sociable person with a positive attitude towards working for their company.

For more interview preparation tips and example questions, check out our interview pages.

About the author: This is an article by India Cash, a music graduate from Leeds who works on behalf of ASOS who are retailers of suits, maxi-dresses and footwear.

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New In-tray Exercise and Study Guide with Explanations and Tips

New In-tray/E-tray exercise updated at
Here at JobTestPrep we are constantly looking for ways to update our material and make our practice tests as similar to the ones you will receive during the recruitment process as possible.  This means we never stop writing new material to improve.

This week we launched a new in-tray test. It is now included in the In-Tray Practice pack (£29). We have also updated our study guide which is rife with explanations and tips. Note that our simulations are adapted to In-Tray and E-Tray Exercises. The e-element of the pack is that the questions are online and generate a score report, which helps improve the preparation process.

What is the In-tray exercise?

In-tray and E-tray tests are a common assessment method for recruiters who are trying to assess specific skills such as time-management, managerial ability, prioritisation and problem solving. Such exercises simulate a real life workload and ask you to prioritise tasks as you would have to do in the specific role you have applied for.

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