How to ace the APC final assessment interview
APC expert Kate Taylor shares her top tips for doing well on the day.
An APC assessor explains how he judges your submission.
In my 13 years as a RICS assessor, I’ve seen more than 1,000 case studies so I know what works and what doesn’t. A lot of people find it hard to write about themselves but this is your opportunity to shine, so don’t be shy about reinforcing your skills as a surveyor.
The whole APC process, including the case study, is designed to show how you react and respond to a brief. So never lose sight of the fact that your case study is about your work and your achievements; it’s not a technical description of a project.
At its simplest, your case study must:
Some of the most obvious mistakes include:
We want to see detail, but it has to be relevant. I strongly recommend reading the description of the case study submission in the APC Candidate Guide before you start.
Your case study should focus on a project (or projects) in which you have been personally involved in the two years prior to your assessment submission date. It also needs to provide tangible evidence of the competencies you have achieved.
So, how should you choose? Personally, I recommend selecting a project you’ve lived and breathed, where you (not your boss) provided the client with advice. You need to have been at the very heart of this project, not acting as a spectator. Choosing a topic you know inside-out will also make the face-to-face interview easier because your passion for the project will shine through.
I often suggest creating a matrix of key competencies for two or three possible topics. The ‘winner’ will be the project that showcases all of the skills and competencies you need in your chosen pathway.
Mentors and supervisors can be very helpful, as long as they fully understand what’s required. I’d recommend reading the Counsellor Guide for up-to-date insight; there’s also a useful RICS course for supervisors and counsellors.
Ask your mentor or counsellor to read your draft case study and question you on the detail, to check you fully understand what you’re writing about. Your case study presentation and Q&A session will represent around one third of your final assessment interview, so you need to be able to respond with detailed answers.
These questions could include:
Certain key words and phrases (I call them ‘hooks’) are more likely to generate questions. So, ask your mentor or counsellor to help you identify the obvious hooks in your case study so that you can properly prepare for potential questions.
I recommend several RICS training courses that make the case study process easier – there’s a half-day face-to-face course and a two-part online training session. Finally, here’s a list of tips I hope will also help.
Tony Ward FCIOB, FRICS, MCIArb is Managing Director at Award Consulting Ltd.
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