Assessment Centre Skills Session1st June 2012Westminster UniversityElla Pilc & Sophia Swidzinska
Today’s objectives To describe the context of the current graduate marketplace To explain different tasks and activities that employers use at Assessment Centres, and know how you can prepare To assess and analyse strategies that might ensure your success at Assessment Centres with a focus on Interviews and Group Tasks
The graduate marketplaceSTARTER: Look at the statements below and decide whether ornot they are TRUE or FALSE1. The number of graduates receiving grade A at A-Level andreceiving a 1st or 2.1 is higher than ever before.2. Competition is fierce – in the current market it is harder to getthe role that you want.3. The current average starting salary for graduates is £29,0004. There are an average of 83 graduates chasing every graduate job5.Graduates from a Humanities background are in particular demandfrom employers
Why do companies assess people?Why?Recruiting and selecting the right people is paramount to the success of every company.It allows a company to check a persons skills, attributes, professionalism, ability to make an impact, commercial awareness, potential and most importantly SUITABILITY. the ability to make a Skills, Knowledge,A SUITABLECandidate = Experience and qualifications + positive contribution to the values and aims of the organization. The ability to demonstrate all of these are critical to success
How do companies assess suitability?It is widely recognised by many graduate recruiters that “The best indicator for future behaviour is past behaviour”Companies need to ensure your knowledge, skills, qualifications and experiences match the role and the culture of their organisation.What methods have you come across that employers use to assess candidates? Ways to assess suitability
What is an assessment centre? “assessment of a group of individuals by a team of judges using a comprehensive and integrated series of techniques” Prof C. Fletcher 1992 An opportunity for the employer to see what you can do rather than to hear what you can do Measure skills and behaviours required to be successfulFeatures of a good assessment centre Focuses on doing rather than talking Simulates tasks and situations in target jobs Ensures multiple opportunities to observe participants Ensures multiple assessors to reduce bias Provides an opportunity for candidate feedback post assessment centre Provides the candidate with a better insight into the job and culture of the organisation
What activities might be used at assessment centre? TASK: You will be split into groups and given information on how to be successful in one activity. Interviews As a group you have 8 minutes to prepare a presentation on Panel Interviews Psychometric Tests that activity. BE IMAGINATIVE! Think about these questions. 1. What is it? Assessment Centre 2. Who uses it? Impromptu or 3. What are assessors lookingSocial Events prepared presentations for in this exercise? 4. How can you be successful in this exercise? Group Exercises Role Plays
How can we be successful in each activity?Listen to the presentations and make notes of useful tips!TASK What is it? What are assessors looking for?
How to crack an interview..Interviews are the single most successful way to asses suitability for a job PLAN PREPARE Logistics Research Answers PRACTICE POSITIVITY Mock Visualise the outcome Recite Belief Go to all interviews OptimismDON’T PANIC!Interviewers want you to perform wellThis is your opportunity to talk about nothing but yourself and sell your best bits -where else can you do that?
What is a competency interview?Competencies are skills and abilities required to perform job tasks competently.• Most widely used and objective of all interviews – notes will be taken• Questions are predetermined and based on job analysis – asked in a standardised way• Can seem impersonal as they remove subjectivity – don’t be intimidated by that• Test previous behaviours and allocate scores against required competencies• Look for examples of a specific set of skillsUse examples from:Academic projects and achievements,Responsibilities during work experience or voluntary activities,Involvement in societiesManagement of sporting activities.Responsibilities travelling
What competencies may be tested?Understand all the competencies required…Times Top 100 Graduate EmployersWhat do they look for in their assessment process? Skills / Competencies included: Teamwork Leadership Communication Commercial Awareness Company Awareness Responsiveness Initiative Problem Solving Innovation Critical Thinking Creativity Task Management Ambition Confidence Adaptability Personal Effectiveness Influencing Integrity Thrives on Challenge Technical Ability Entrepreneurial Top 5 skills that the Top 100 graduate employers look for? - Teamwork / Communication / Problem Solving / Confidence / Creativity
Interview Practice Don’t forget you can draw on You are going to have a go giving a examples from: competency question answer to your ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE partner! WORK EXPERIENCE 1. Choose the competency from the Top 5 ACTIVITES AND INTERESTS 2. (see bottom of powerpoint) 3. Prepare your example RECENT (the last 2-3 years) Choose unique key events Use the STAR approach Extract the skills acquired and S ituation lessons learnt Task 3. Deliver your example to your parntner Actions 4. Get feedback – what went well/ even better if R esults Teamwork / Communication / Problem Solving / Confidence / Creativity
Case studies come in different flavours Brainteaser • ? How many piano tuners are there in Birmingham? Market share • How many potential applicants are there for Teach First? Profitability • How could Teach First reduce its overall cost per participant? Strategy/ • Should Dinheiro Bank donate Creative thinking £50,000 to Teach First?
Over to you… So, how many piano tuners are there in Birmingham? Population of Birmingham = 1,000,000
One way… Population of Birmingham = 1,000,000 1,000,000/ on average 4 people per household= 250,000 homes Roughly 1 in 10 homes have piano so 250,000/10 = 25,000 pianos 25,000 pianos need roughly 4 tunings a day = 6250 days of work available But you know that…52 weeks a yr/6 weeks’ holiday = 46 weeks = 230 days 6250/230 days’ work = 27.2 (or 28!)
What really matters? Process The right answer!
How to come across well Pay careful attention to instructions Read written material thoroughly – don’t rush Take part with whole-hearted commitment Get involved – don’t work mainly on your own Help others, be supportive, use others’ strengths Be assertive, diplomatic, inclusive Keep calm and use your sense of humour
Anatomy of a good case study Beginning Middle End • Understand the • Explain assumptions • Make argumentDefining problem • Pursue each argument logical • Check it makes sense • Explore limitations • Paraphrase the •Tell, tell and tell again • Summarise processQuestioning interviewer • Explain limitations of • Question unknowns answer • Suggest improvements • Look engaged • Check understanding • Involve externalDemonstrating • Notice hints • Look for help reference points
Case Study: Bunker Exercise Read the packs you have been given – 2 mins Discussion: 20 mins Please write the team’s answers on an A4 sheet and hand them in. All team members must sign the bottom to show that they agree with the final answer.
Case Study: Bunker Exercise Process The right answer!
Common errors Do’s Don’ts Listen to initial instruction Misunderstand or answer the wrong question Make sure the question is fully understood Proceed in a haphazard fashion Begin by setting a structure Asking a barrage of questions Communicate your train of Fail to synthesize a point of view thought clearly Not asking for help Step back periodically & reflect Leave the quieter members out Be comfortable with numbers Don’t fixate on “cracking the case” Relax and enjoy the process.
Some people may feel… Nervous Anxious Inferior Deflated Tongue-tied Talkative Stumped Panicky Overly analytical Overwhelmed Overly concerned about displaying certain behaviours and come across as too dominant/too passive ITS ABOUT BALANCE!
Key points to rememberBe yourself Positive Interesting/Interested Enthusiastic TruthfulParticipate and don’t forget to listenRemember it is not so much about the answer - showyour skills!Prepare well and don’t panic!Enjoy!
Top 5 tips from a Recruiters’ perspective1.Be prepared!2.Have a clear understanding of why you want to work for the company and also why you’ve chosen this organisation over the competitors.3.Remember you are being assessed all day. Don’t let your guard down at lunch time or on breaks.4.Ask insightful questions in your interview (how much will I get paid? / How much holiday allowance? do not count!)5.Remember the basics - don’t be late and wear appropriate dress
What have you learned?…it’s as long as a piece of string…Those people that have been given lengths of string have to talk about the following as theywrap the string around their finger…1) What you have learned in this Skills Session2) An area that you need to work on
Let’s review the objectives To describe the context of the current graduate marketplace To explain different tasks and activities that employers use at Assessment Centres, and know how you can prepare To assess and analyse strategies that might ensure your success at Assessment Centres with a focus on Interviews and Group Tasks