Part 5. What Not To Do

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There are lots of important things to remember to do at your Zoo Keeper Group Assessment Day. Some of them are not specific to zookeeping, just to group interviews in general… and some just to being a good human being. But here’s a summary anyway.

  1. Be a team player.
  2. Be a leader, but not bossy.
  3. Speak up, but don’t dominate conversations.
  4. Be confident, but inclusive in group activities.
  5. Be positive about the task.
  6. Listen to other people.
  7. Have discussions and conversations with the other people.

The list goes on. It seems so obvious when written in bullet point form, but in the heat of the moment, in the panic to stand out and be noticed as the assessors scribble away from a distance on their notepads, you can become the person they don’t want. Remember: confidence is sexy, arrogance is not. Don’t be that person.

And the most important thing to remember to do is what NOT to do. Fortunately it’s not an extensive list. Mostly it boils down to just one thing… DON’T DO SOMETHING STUPID. The pressure to perform can often make people do something that gets them crossed off the list rather than put on it. It’s a crucial point, and one of the most common ways people stuff up. Assessors remember the people they don’t want just as much as the ones they do; and once you’ve been noticed for the wrong reasons, no amount of good work can undo the damage.

Examples might include rushing unnecessarily and tripping over as a result (safety and common sense rate highly at these assessment things). It could be saying something that seemed like a good idea at the time but really wasn’t. Like when I went for the tour guide interview, and one girl blurted out “so how long would I have to do this job for till I could become a zookeeper”. Needless to say she didn’t get the job. It may be trying to be overconfident. I’ve seen someone fail an assessment because they wanted to look confident handling a “dangerous” animal, so they reached in and grabbed it without thinking to stop and take the necessary precautions (getting bitten is a no-no for assessors). Or it could be numerous other silly things. Remember; relax and breathe. Everyone is feeling nervous. Everyone is feeling the pressure. But don’t worry about them; focus on you, and don’t do something stupid.



* I am posting in a personal capacity. The views and opinions expressed are my own and do not represent those of the organisation I work for.

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