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Surviving the assessment centre

Published: Monday 16th February 2015

Being invited to an assessment day can be a daunting prospect. It may feel intensive, but they are invaluable opportunities to learn more about the company and people working there. Assessment centres also provide you with a chance to showcase your skills and qualities.

A board meeting with colleagues helping each other

To survive this stage of your interviewing process read our simple guide on what to expect and how to succeed at assessment centres.

Get Ready

It’s vital that you’re prepared for the assessment day in order to perform at your best. Make sure you have all documentation, notes and resources you might need. If you are given a presentation to prepare beforehand, make sure you schedule in plenty of time to do it. One of the biggest presentation tips is to practice in front of an audience and perfect your timings. If you’ve not been briefed you may be asked to deliver a short impromptu presentation so it’s best to prepare a few ideas in advance. Also, think about how you’re going to introduce yourself to the assessors and your peers as one of the first things you can expect at an assessment centre is some sort of ice breaker.

Hello, Goodbye

When greeted, make eye contact with the individual and deliver a firm handshake, whilst being polite and courteous. Don’t forget to smile. At the end of the assessment day, thank each of the assessors for the opportunity you’ve been presented with by taking the time to approach each person with another polite handshake.

Take Your Time

Many assessment centres will involve digesting a brief and responding in some way, so it’s essential that you manage your time effectively. Take your time to read any information provided during the process. One of the most common mistakes is failing to follow instructions. Whilst it’s important to complete as many tasks as possible, make sure you understand the questions before you start.

Young Office People with Happy Facial Expressions Listening to Someone Discussing

Get Involved

The assessors look for candidates who are ready to have a go at tasks, showing interest in the activities. Try not to worry about other candidates, focus on putting your key qualities and attributes forward. Make sure you maintain a friendly manner and remember you are assessed even in ‘informal’ situations.

Be Receptive

Be open to the views of your peers, demonstrate your listening skills and seek to build a consensus amongst the group. Establish yourself as someone with leadership potential by coming up with lots of ideas or issuing instructions to others. Avoid the temptation to argue with, criticise or interrupt others as this will show an inability to work as part of a team.

Know Your Stuff

Research the company and role as you would for a normal interview. Go back to the company website and check whether they provide assessment centre tips. The assessors will have a pre-defined list of competencies and attributes you are likely to be measured against. Match your own knowledge and experiences to the job competencies and identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Be Yourself

Relax and let your personality show. Assessment centres are far more complex than normal interviews, pretending to be someone else on the day would be extremely difficult. Don’t try to second guess the sort of person you think the assessor is looking for. If you’re offered a job at the end of the process and you’ve not been entirely honest, you may find yourself in a role that doesn’t align with your expectations. Enjoy the day, you’ll gain some valuable experience and meet some new people along the way.

 Headshot of businesswoman happy smiling at an interview or at work or during assessment

Stay Motivated

Although some activities may be more difficult than others, they are designed to test you and find out how you react under pressure. Don’t be discouraged if you feel you’ve underperformed in any of them. It’s important that you stay motivated throughout the whole process and remain focused on the task at hand. Remember, there will be several exercises during the course of the day with opportunities for you to show your skills.

Follow this simple guide and you will increase your chances of success, securing your dream job. If you are looking for more jobs visit Zoek!

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