Acing assessment centres - The Careers Group, University of London
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Assessment centres are considered by many organisations to be the most accurate selection method, ...

Assessment centres are considered by many organisations to be the most accurate selection method,
because different selectors get to see you over a longer period of time and in a variety of situations. This relieves the pressure on you to convince them of your suitability in just one interaction; instead, there are a number of chances for you to shine.

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Acing assessment centres - The Careers Group, University of London Document Transcript

  • 1. Applications and interviews ACING ASSESSMENT CENTRES Play your cards right at assessment centres. A ssessment centres are considered by many organisations to be the most accurate selection method, because different selectors get to see you over a longer period of time and in a variety of situations. This relieves the pressure on you to convince them of your suitability in just one interaction; instead, there are a number of chances for you to shine. What happens at an assessment centre? You will normally undertake activities similar to what you’d be doing in the role you’re applying for. Typically these include: • information sessions, which provide more details about the organisation and the roles available. Be attentive, as this information will probably be more up to date than your previous research and you could use it in your interview. • tests and exercises, such as presentations, group discussions, case studies, written exercises and aptitude/psychometric tests. These are designed to show how you interact under pressure or in difficult circumstances, as well as reveal your potential against the set of competencies (skills) required for the role (these can usually be found in the graduate scheme description). Don’t worry if you make a mistake in one of the exercises; you will have other opportunities to show that you have what they are looking for. CONVINCE US! We’re looking for evidence that a candidate has the skills required for the role, such as collaborating in a team; candidates are assessed against these competencies rather than against each other. Make sure you talk during the group discussion and bring in those who haven’t had a chance to speak; have a good introduction and structure to your presentation; and prepare in advance for your interview by thinking about what the company is looking for. Successful candidates convince the assessors that they want the role, have researched the company and possess the skills required. Drop into your Careers Service to find out more about different elements of assessment centres. We have advice sheets on all areas of assessment, run mock assessment centres and offer online practice psychometric tests. Fiona Thurley, graduate recruiter, RBS www.careers.lon.ac.uk THE CAREERS SERVICE GUIDE London 2014 31
  • 2. Ima ge c opy rig ht w ww .jo n Applications and interviews an ath m y.co raph tog ho lep co Group exercises Group exercises vary, but most test how effectively you can work with others to come to an agreed outcome. To show you are a good team player try to involve quieter members of the group and make sure that everyone has the chance to give their opinion. Referring to people by name and picking up on points they have made demonstrates that you really listen to, understand and support your colleagues. Aim to make regular contributions that are well thought out and clearly delivered and don’t forget to appoint a time-keeper so that you can finish the exercise! E-tray exercises An e-tray exercise involves dealing with a full inbox of email messages in a limited amount of time. Messages will often be a mixture of requests, internal memos and notes about phone messages and it’s your job to put tasks into order of priority and indicate what type of action is required. Try skim-reading the emails first to get an overall sense of what you’re dealing with, then try organising them. For example, you could categorise them into different types of content: meetings, phone responses, etc. Finally, think about what to do and when. If it’s urgent but not important you can delegate it to someone else; if it’s urgent and important act on it immediately; if it’s not urgent but is important you can schedule a meeting to deal with it at a later date. Case studies You will be given information about a certain issue and asked to write a brief or report based on the facts, such as numbers, reports, newspaper cuttings and correspondence. A case study tests your ability to take information in quickly, analyse it and then make your case to the reader convincingly and succinctly. Make sure that if you have to make a recommendation in the report, you do so: it’s fine to acknowledge other points of view, but avoid sitting on the fence. The ability to sift useful information from irrelevant is key in this, so decide as quickly as possible what information you can discard. You can practise for a case study by giving yourself a short time frame to speed-read any article or section of a book and then noting down the key facts. Presentations Sometimes you are given information in advance and asked to prepare a presentation before you arrive; other times you are given the brief on the day and you prepare it then and there. With a presentation the delivery is as important as the content. Make sure you consider how you will introduce the presentation, and give the audience a ‘road map’ for where you are going with it. It is also important that any written/digital aids look professional so allow enough time to put them together. Finally, remember to smile, look directly at the assessors when presenting and – if you can – relax. Social/informal events These range from drinks to office tours with graduate trainees, but these opportunities allow you to meet other candidates and the selectors, recent graduates and senior management. This is a chance for you to find out more about the organisation and ask questions in a more relaxed setting. Although these events may appear not to be part of the assessment procedure, it’s beneficial to behave in a way that reflects well on you. For ideas of questions to ask see the ‘Proactive job-hunting’ article on page 15. 32 THE CAREERS SERVICE GUIDE London 2014 www.careers.lon.ac.uk