Assessment centres are a common way of conducting group interviews. Large employers often use assessment centres when recruiting graduates or for a number of different positions. For the candidate, however, an assessment centre can be very intimidating, so here are some tips to help you prepare for your interview.
How Does an Assessment Centre Work?
Assessment centres vary according to the recruitment needs of the employer, but they do have many things in common. The core purpose of an assessment centre is to test a candidate’s competency skills. There will probably be at least one formal interview during your assessment centre, but you can expect to take part in a number of other exercises, too. These typically include group exercises, presentations, e-tray exercises, role-play, and case studies. Some assessment centres only last a few hours; others may run over two or three days.
For the employer, an assessment centre is a cost-effective way to interview a large number of candidates, but if you are unfamiliar with this method of interview, it’s painfully easy to make a mess of it. Here are some tips to help you put your best foot forward.
Research Your Employer
Most of the exercises and interview questions will relate to the skills the employer is looking for. To prepare for what is to come, research the key skills required for the position you have applied for. For example, for a customer service role, your employer will be looking for candidates who are empathetic, personable and approachable. If you can demonstrate these key skills when you take part in the group exercises, you are one step ahead.
Check online for any information you can find about what to expect on the day. Websites such as Glassdoor offer a wealth of information. Candidates often leave detailed reviews of the employers, including the questions they were asked during the interview and what their assessment centre experience was like. Your own experience will not be the same, but it gives you a good idea of what lies ahead.
It’s helpful to prepare some notes to take with you. For example, if you know you will have to do a presentation on the day, think about the type of topics you will be asked to cover and put together a few notes. It’s also a good idea to prepare for competency-type interviews by thinking ahead of scenarios you can use as answers. Check out interview tips resources such YouTube videos and this infographic from www.acuitytraining.co.uk. It’s not easy being put on the spot by a panel of interviewers, so the better prepared you are, the more confident you will feel on the day.
It’s very important to participate fully on the day and be yourself. You will be watched at all times, even when you are not aware of it. Interviewers will look at how you interact with your fellow candidates, as well as how genuine you are.
Try to relax as much as possible. Whether you get the job or not, this is good experience for future interviews, so just do your best.