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Assessment centre lessons

by Harriet Clark November 23, 2012

​Following on from our session a few weeks ago, application lessons, I thought I’d share our thoughts on dealing with assessment centres with you. Now, assessment centres can be scary places, you want to do your best but how do you shine in a group? How do you balance being seen as a leader with showing that you are a team player? How do you outshine your fellow candidates without alienating all your future colleagues? It’s a minefield, so let us guide you through.

  • Arrive at the opportune moment  (to quote Jack Sparrow). This means arrive in good time but not too early – arriving too early can stress your assessors out almost as much as arriving late. My tip is to arrive 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

  • Show some personality... Don’t be afraid of letting your true self shine through on the day, assessors are looking for people who will fit into their organisation for the long term so personality fit can be a key differentiator.

  •  ...But not too much.  Be yourself, but don’t ever forget that you’re at an assessment centre, even if you’re put at your ease, you’re still being watched. Candidates who get too relaxed, and, for example, wink at their assessor (you know who you are), will not do themselves any favours.

  • Pay attention. Often there are presentations from your future employers, don’t fall asleep or daydream about what happened on Made in Chelsea last night, pay attention as there’s often key information being passed on here, which will be tested later.

  • Don’t be a bulldozer.  One of the most common pitfalls during the dreaded ‘group exercise’ at assessment centres is that candidates get caught up in the desire to showcase their leadership skills, that they just squash all competition and come across as a real bossy two shoes. Remember to speak up and get your points across, but also be respectful of others in the group. Don’t get too caught up in the every man/woman for themselves mentality.

  • Be enthused. Ultimately, your assessors want to know two things from the day, 1) are you able to do the job to their expectations and 2) do you really want to do the job?

Remember to be passionate about the company, the role and even the assessment process.

That’s it, you’re through to the other side – congratulations and good luck!

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