Prepare for Telstra Cognitive Ability Test, Assessment Centre and Interview

Are you applying for a role with Australian telecommunications company Telstra? The recruitment process for all roles with Telstra is long with a series of tests and assessments designed to examine a variety of skills. Learn about these tests and how to prepare for them in this article.
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Telstra recruit at a range of levels, with a popular graduate program as well as experienced recruitment. They offer variety in their business areas, with six strands to the Telstra graduate program: Engineering, Marketing, IT, HR, Finance, and Business and Commerce. Competition is high for each place, so preparation is key to progressing your application. The following article reviews the recruitment process for Telstra’s graduate scheme but other positions may follow a similar recruitment path.

The Telstra Recruitment Process

The order of assessments for experienced hires may vary, but the graduate program recruitment follows this path. You will be notified what the next stage involves each time your application is progressed.

Telstra Application Form

The application form is your first opportunity to impress the recruitment team as they read this thoroughly, so you need to ensure that your form sells you well. The application form asks questions about you, your experience, education, and personal details, as well as a set of questions specific to the role you are applying for. You are also required to attach your resume and cover letter. In order to ensure your application form is taken forward, complete every question, and plan your answers to the specific questions carefully giving a good account of yourself within the word limit. Wherever possible your answers should demonstrate how you meet the criteria for the position you are applying to.

Telstra Aptitude Test

The next stage for the graduate program is the online cognitive ability test. Applicants for other positions may be invited to take the test at a later stage in the process. The online cognitive ability test is provided by (formally OneTest), and it measures your verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning in the same test, unlike many other tests which will require you to sit three separate tests.This test contains 51 questions to be answered in 20 minutes. In order to progress to the next stage you are benchmarked against a sample of other cohorts. The three types of question rotate throughout the test and there is no particular sequence to them. In other words there may be three verbal questions followed by one abstract and two numerical. Questions are randomised so you never know what to expect.

Verbal questions: These questions examine your verbal skills and is more of a check to see if your vocabulary is up to scratch. These questions are based on as your rudimentary language skills with questions. As an example, you are given two words and asked to determine if they are similar or opposite to each other.

Numerical questions: The numerical questions are based on the four basic numerical functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). The questions are quite varied with some looking like Sudoku puzzles and others being presented in sentence form giving you five different answer options.

Abstract reasoning questions: these questions present you with a number of different shapes with a particular logic pattern running through them. You have to work out this pattern and use it to decide either the missing or next picture or the odd one out. Known as the fairest assessments as they do not rely on any language skills, these questions are a measurement of your lateral thinking skills on a number of different levels.

You may find that you need to get a very high score in order to progress to the next stage. It is very challenging to answer that many questions in such a short time frame. The testers are also looking for evidence that you thought about your answers, and did not just guess to answer in time. The best way to overcome these challenges on test day is to prepare for the test in advance. Taking practice tests can improve speed and accuracy thereby increasing your score.

Practice all question types with our Revelian-style pack to sharpen the skills you need to ace this test.

Personality Questionnaire

Some of you will be invited to take a personality questionnaire. These tests are used to measure your individual preferences and preferred working style. Personality questionnaires ask a number of questions that look similar but are designed to tease out different elements of your personality. Taking practice personality tests can eliminate stress, indecisiveness and help you know what to expect, all of which will help you create a better profile in the test.

Get familiar with the questions using our practice personality test!

Telstra Phone Interview

Successful applicants take part in a phone interview following the cognitive ability and personality test. For some it may be more of a conversation verifying your application form and asking one or two simple behavioural interview questions. For others, the phone interview may be a longer interview. You are usually told to keep 20 minutes clear for the call. Keep a copy of your CV in front of you and any notes you feel can help you with your answers. The Telstra phone interview is your opportunity to really sell yourself and your skills as well as ask questions about the program and your position.

Iron out any interview wrinkles using our free Guide to Interviews pdf!

Telstra Assessment Centre

If you performed well during the phone interview, you will be invited to the Telstra assessment centre. The assessment centre typically lasts three and a half hours, and you work with a small group of other applicants. The day focuses on some of your interpersonal skills, for example leadership skills, teamwork, listening and organising. The assessment centre typically contains three tasks, a group activity, an individual case study and presentation, and an interview.

Some advice from Telstra on how to prepare includes:

  • Do your research on the company. This involves not just the company, what it does, and where it can be seen publically (eg awards, schemes or so on), but the field that you are applying to work in.
  • Prepare examples of where you have demonstrated the skills required in the job in the past.
  • Prepare examples of significant events and achievements in your life, and what they taught you and you have applied going forward.

Group Discussion 

This is a discussion which requires you to work as part of a team whilst also contributing new and useful points to the argument. In this exercise you are given a topic relevant to working at Telstra to discuss amongst yourselves. Assessors are watching you for how you interact with the other members of the team, including neutralising difficult or dominant team members, or drawing out members of the group who are not saying enough. You are also assessed on the quality of your contribution. Plan your strategy in advance using our group exercises tips.

Individual Case Study and Presentation 

For the case study, you are given a packet of information describing a role-related situation. You need to read through the packet, outline the problem and develop a solution. Once you have come to a solution, you should think of the best way to present this as the next step is a presentation given to a small panel of assessors. Learn how to manage your time, complete the task and prepare an impressive presentation with our case study practice pack.

Telstra Interview

The final interview in the graduate program recruitment is with managers from the area you are applying to, and lasts for 45 minutes to an hour. These interviews are behavioural based, but with technical questions thrown in for some areas. During the interview, give answers that accurately reflect you and your previous experiences. Remember to use recent examples of your experience as something that you did more than two years ago is no longer relevant. Think of and prepare answers in advance, using your own examples and use the STAR method to organise your answers (Situation, Task, Action, Result). This ensures that you cover all you need to in the interview. Review some example interview questions below. Be prepared for follow up questions on the answers you have provided and come up with good questions to ask the interviewers.

Feel like you could use some more preparation? Our Skype-based interviews with a trained assessor can give you constructive feedback and help you feel at ease with your upcoming interview.

Telstra Interview Questions

Some of the questions asked in Telstra interviews in the past include:

  • Following on from the previous question - if you had to repeat what you did, how would you go about doing it this time?
  • What aspects of your field of study did you enjoy the most? Please elaborate on the reasons why.
  • Please describe a situation when a hurdle got in the way of achieving an ambitious goal. How did you use your initiative to tackle it?
  • Why should we choose you for the spot? What can you bring to the company?
  • Describe a situation of leadership you have experienced.
  • Explain how you have demonstrated excellent customer service in your previous experience or jobs.
  • Tell me about a conflict you resolved in another role.
  • When has a project failed, and what did you do about it?

  • Given a new technology, how would you go about learning it as quickly as possible in order to provide maximum value for money towards the business?

  • How well do you think a certain practice is implemented at the organisation?

In Summary

Competition is fierce for all positions at Telstra, the telecommunications giant is a popular choice for applicants across a range of disciplines. To illustrate, Telstra received 5,000 applications for the graduate program in 2013 for approximately 200 places. Making sure you are fully prepared for each new assessment is the best way to improve your chances of progressing further to the final job offer. This article has detailed each stage of the recruitment process, and highlighted JobTestPrep’s resources designed to help you prepare. We hope you have found this article useful, and good luck!

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