If you have made it to the assessment centre phase of the process, this is a good sign. It shows the employing company clearly sees potential in your abilities and wants to see how you act in a professional environment. Employers find assessment centres to be a great tool, since they are a cheaper and more convenient method of interviewing a large quantity of candidates at once. Don’t fear though, assessment centres hold big advantages for applicants too; you have a chance to show off your skillset and demonstrate how well you work with others. So if you are wondering what to expect from the day, read on for StudentJob’s top tips for success…
Despite the other candidates being your competition, it is important to show how willing you are to cooperate with your team members. The employing company will have staff watching you throughout your tasks to monitor how you interact with others and cope under the pressure of group situations. With your group exercise, there will be a range of personalities present and maybe a few you are not used to dealing with. The employees will be looking for candidates who can include everyone so if you see someone looking a bit lost, or not contributing a lot, make a point to ask them what their opinion is and which direction they think you should take. The company wants to find a team player so they will appreciate your attempts to integrate the whole group.
This scenario is especially common for sales jobs, since the employer wants to see how you perform under pressure. If you are applying to work as a recruiter, they may ask you to take part in a role play phone conversation and demonstrate how you would interact with clients. Or if it is a customer service role you are after, perhaps you may have to show your skills to deal with a difficult customer request. Whatever the role play is, the key to success is to keep calm and confident. They aren’t expecting you to be perfect, they just need to get an idea of what basic knowledge you have and if you have a skillset they can build upon. So don’t fret, as long as you concentrate and try to think logically, you will do fine.
Often the employers will ask you to complete a test during your assessment centre. Depending on the job you are applying to, this may be something you are able to prepare for in advance. For example if you are applying for a finance related vacancy, you will most likely have a numerical reasoning test or a psychometric test. Although you won’t know the exact questions, you can practise your timing with free tests online. Practising with these kind of tests in advance will leave you feeling a lot more comfortable and at ease during the tasks you are set. As well as numerical tests, you may be requested to do a technical test, which is usually an assessment closely related to the job role. This is a great way for the employer to gauge which candidates have the basic knowledge they require, and a good chance for you to show off your understanding of the area.
Another standard task to be expected in an assessment centre is a presentation. These can vary significantly depending on the company you are applying to, some will provide you with information before hand, others will deliberately wait until the day of your assessment. If you receive information on your presentation exercise before, you should spend plenty of time preparing your data and slides. The other candidates you are up against will have done the same and you wouldn’t want to arrive on the day feeling unprepared or disorganised. On the other hand, some companies will want to see how you deal with being put on the spot and therefore will neglect to provide you with information before. In these circumstances the aim of your presentation exercise is to see how you can perform in a realistic and time pressured situation.
It is natural to feel nervous before an assessment centre. The important thing to remember is, you have made it this far, and this is your chance to shine. If you don’t feel you performed well in one task then don’t worry, there will be several chances during the day to make your mark. As long as you give your all through the day and stay calm, you will be on your way to success!
Written by Saffron Shergill at StudentJob. Student Job brings you into direct contact with interesting companies that are looking for temporary, part-time or full-time employees. Whether you are looking for an internship to compliment your education or a graduate placement to start your career, we have a wide range of opportunities.