Career transition specialists Renovo shed some light on what you can expect at an ‘assessment centre’…
Assessment centres are set up by organisations to gain a clearer understanding of how you will react in scenarios relevant to the role you are being considered for and to observe how you respond to tests determining your workplace skills. Typically, this will involve other candidates being interviewed for the same position.
Most tasks you will be set will be unseen so while it may be difficult to prepare, having an awareness of what to expect will help you to mentally prepare and be more confident on the day. Rather than telling the interviewer what you can do, you get to demonstrate this through your actions.
You will generally be assessed by key stakeholders within the business and will be evaluated against the core competencies within the job specification. You will be scored for each task, the higher score you achieve, the better chance you have of being offered the role.
Presentations give the employer the opportunity to assess a candidate's communication skills. Sometimes this is an unseen task to see how you prepare to present at short notice. Find out as much as you can about the presentation beforehand. If they do not provide you with this prior to the assessment centre, try and manage your time effectively and understand the brief.
Every presentation requires a beginning, middle and an end – tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you have told them. Make eye contact with the audience and talk to everyone on the panel.
There are various types of group tasks, from discussing a topic, to having a specific problem to solve and ‘ice-breaker' exercises. This a group exercise, so you’re being viewed within the context of a group. Volunteer to take notes, keep an eye on the time or present answers back. This will show leadership skills but try to include others and encourage input from those less vocal to demonstrate team player qualities.
A typical task could be to decide, as a group, ten things to take to a desert island and rank in order of importance. The interviewers are watching how you reach a team decision rather than what you would actually take!
Depending on the position you are interviewing for, you may have a role-playing task. This could be something like resolving a customer service issue to test your problem-solving abilities and communication skills. Keep calm and stay focussed. To prepare in advance think of some possible scenarios and practise what you would say. Even though you can’t predict every scenario, think about how you have resolved similar situations.
The best way to identify values and characteristics is to undertake these personality profiles tests. It is really important you answer these questions honestly and don’t try and change your answers to reflect what you think they are looking for. Don’t spend too much time contemplating your response.
This is one part of the day you can prepare for. Prepare as you would for a normal interview. Pre-empt questions based on the job specification and practise your answers out loud. Try and position yourself as an interviewer; if you were interviewing candidates for this role, what would you ask?
For career coaching and further support with Assessment Centres and Interviews, get in touch with the Renovo team.