Life at Cleo

How To Smash Your Task Interview at Cleo

Luke, our Talent Lead for Tech, outlines how task interviews work at Cleo. He includes some top tips for preparing to wow your interviewers.

How to smash your task interview

If you’re reading this, chances are you are interviewing at Cleo already, or interested in some of the roles we’re hiring for. And why wouldn’t you be? 2024 is going to be our biggest year yet. We have ambitious expansion plans, so we have lots of exciting roles to fill this year. 

When it comes to hiring, especially across non-technical or management roles, the interview process will often include a form of task presentation. But why? 

First Up: What is a task presentation?

If you’re successful in your first couple of interviews with Cleo, we’ll ask you to complete a task (usually in your own time), and present it during an interview. 

The task will be tailored to the role you’re applying for, and will help us to understand how you work and your skillset a little better. You’ll typically present a short slide deck, and then answer questions about the content, before having your own opportunity to ask questions. 

In a task presentation interview, rather than just answering questions, we let you, the candidate, drive the content of the session. The exact nature of the task can take different forms - it could be asking you to explain how you’ve dealt with certain scenarios in the past, or you could be briefed on a scenario in the interview, and asked to work with the interviewers to gather information and work toward a solution with them. 

We’re looking at your skills and experiences and how you could translate them to the role at Cleo, rather than asking you to do fully formed pieces of work. We’d never ask people to do unpaid work, and we keep things purposefully high level to avoid this ever happening. 

Why do we do task presentation interviews? 

First off, we find tasks to be the most effective way for you to showcase your on-the-job experience. By leaving tasks open-ended, we can see which parts of your experience you're most proud of, as well as understanding how it translates to a potential role here at Cleo. 

We want to see how you can add to the Cleo team, so we give you the chance to showcase expertise that we may not have otherwise known about. We’re excited by people coming in and telling us what they have done, and what they would like to do at Cleo too. 

As we said above, we mostly run these types of interviews for non-technical or management roles. Presentation skills are important in these roles, so the task gives us a chance to see how you communicate with multiple people simultaneously, and how you hold the attention of the room. 

Cleo is a fundamentally cross-functional business, so you’ll always be expected to work with different teams and people that you don’t know, often having to influence and collaborate with them. We use tasks to assess these skills too. 

Surely there are some drawbacks to task interviews?

We appreciate that task presentations aren’t for everyone. Interviews can be nerve-wracking to start with, and presenting to a bunch of strangers in a company that you’ve never worked for can be daunting. We’re always happy to make any reasonable adjustments if required, just speak to your Talent Partner.

We may not be able to do this for more senior roles where presentation skills are a prerequisite, but we’re always happy to discuss how to make the session less daunting. This could involve meeting the interviewers beforehand, or practising the presentation with one of the Talent Team before the actual interview.

We also know that task presentations take time to prepare, and when you have another job to work and life to lead, we appreciate that this can be a big ask. We try to give everyone at least a week to prepare for a task presentation interview, and we will never ask people to spend more than a couple of hours on preparation. That being said, please ask your Talent Partner if you need more time or support. 

How do I tackle a task presentation successfully?

Here are some tips to help you out: 

Answer the question

  • It sounds simple, but make sure that your content is answering the question or meeting the criteria that we’ve sent across.
  • Don’t skip out on any questions. If you don’t have a specific example of where you’ve demonstrated something in the past, then think about what you could do in that situation instead. 
  • Try not to reuse examples for multiple questions. We only have a short time to get to know you, so we want to hear about as many examples as possible.

Know your content

  • Read and reread what you’ll be discussing before the interview.
  • We prefer candidates to use the STAR method to talk through examples, so have notes ready. The result (or impact) is the most important aspect to focus on. 
  • Be ready for follow up questions. Try and challenge yourself to think of any gaps, or logical follow up questions, and have some answers prepped. We’re a naturally curious bunch, so we’ll probably have a few questions for you. 
  • Presenting to someone you know in advance is always a good idea, as they may come up with questions that you hadn’t thought about. 

Think about best practice for the presentation.

  • When it comes to visuals, keep it simple. Don’t fill your slides with too much info, and try to use stats and diagrams to emphasise your points where possible. 
  • Make it Cleo. We often send a Cleo-branded slide deck to detail task requirements. We’d suggest re-using this format.
  • Think about timings, engagement with your audience, and your speed of speech.

Let’s Wrap This Up

So, now you know why we do task presentations, and how to excel at them. 

Please remember, no one at Cleo is trying to catch you out! We want to learn more about you, and we want you to feel comfortable. If you’re interviewing for a role at Cleo and have more questions, reach out to your Talent Partner who will be happy to help you prepare. 

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Life at Cleo

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This summer, we asked students from the University of Nottingham to spend a week at Cleo. Safe to say we learnt more from them than they did from us!


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