Assessment centres – how to do well

Assessment centres – how to do well

Advice from Wendy Smith; Career Coach and author of The WiseWolf Job Search Pocket Book – order on Amazon

Assessment centres are daunting for most candidates. There are lots of different views on their value. But I think they can provide a very good opportunity to show a potential employer just what you have to offer. I’ve set up a run assessment centres. Also I’ve been through a number as a candidate. Here are some tips based on the advice I give my coaching clients.

Here are my top tips for handling assessment centres

  1. Be Yourself! Work on the basis the assessors know what they are doing. They will be able to see through an act. Keep your wits about you and show your best but try to relax enough to let the real you shine through. You may want to use a simple relaxed breathing technique during the odd break.
  2. Know the criteria. Usually, the assessors will be assessing you against a predefined list of qualities and competencies for the job. For most public sector jobs, you’ll probably know what these are before the event. In the private sector, openness can vary. But you should try to find out the criteria before the assessment centre. If you applied through a recruitment agency they should be able to help. At the very least, the job description will usually give you an indication of the qualities they are looking for.
  3. Manage your time carefully. Many candidates at assessment centres fail to do themselves justice because they run out of time in the exercises. Where you have to read a brief and then do an exercise afterwards, start by skim reading to get an idea of the issues. Then go back and study important points more carefully. Keep an eye on your watch and allocate your time carefully.
  4. Don’t put other candidates down. Remember at an assessment centre you are unlikely to be measured directly against each other. You are being measured against the criteria for the role. Scoring points off others in group exercises doesn’t make you look good. It makes you look like a non-team player and that is not likely to make the assessors warm to you. Your best strategy is usually to support, not to compete.
  5. Practice if you can. It really helps if you can run through possible exercises with someone you trust as preparation for the centre. You will find organizations that offer paid-for practice online.
  6. Listen carefully to all instructions. Know what you are doing and show you are doing it. Listen carefully to all instructions and show you are listening through your body language.
  7. Interact with the assessors. If there is an opportunity to interact with the assessors, say at lunch time, then make the most of it. But don’t be a nuisance and certainly don’t hog the limelight. You want to make an impression memorable for the right reasons.

Your job search – other resources to help you

Stuck in your job search? Have you have been out of the job market for a while? There are new techniques to learn and some you need to refresh. From writing a modern CV to wooing them at the interview, you’ll find lots of tips in Wendy’s handy little pocket book.

assessment centres
A concise and practical little workbook. For all who have the courage to go out and learn the new skills necessary to find a job now.

You can find more help for your job search in the “The WiseWolf Job Search Pocket Book: How to Win Jobs and Influence Recruiters.” Find this and my other books on my Amazon page at this link; http://ow.ly/BRSAL .

Remember working with a career coach can really help your job search. Get in touch at the Facing a mid-career dilemmaemail address below – I offer a free half hour trial session by phone or Skype. Meanwhile I wish you every success in your job search.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can book a free 30 minute, no obligation, trial coaching session with Wendy at this Link  

 

Open to the unexpected

Open to the unexpected

Career Development – Always Be Open To Serendipity

Serendipity – the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.

Open to the unexpected – I come from a generation that was taught to make career plans looking 5, 10 and 20 years ahead. We could always tell you what our next move was going to be and when we were going to make it. Now, of course, things have changed. There isn’t an economic forecaster in the world who can predict what the economy, and the world of work, is going to be like in 10 years’ time. Even looking 5 years ahead, has lots of risks around it. But, we all make some assumptions about the future in choosing a profession or investing in a new business.

Looking back, though, life was never as my friends and I had forecast. Things happened that we didn’t expect. New opportunities arose – one former colleague was offered a year’s secondment from London to Tuvalu. Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. It changed her life forever. Another spent six months in Greece working for the UN in his forties. He changed so much his wife didn’t recognise him when she came to visit – he looked years younger. Others found themselves falling in love or having children they hadn’t expected. For others, a change was far less fortunate. But some were very lucky indeed and reached the top in their chosen field by virtue of a number of quite lucky breaks – I don’t mean they had not prepared well.

Always Be Open To Possibilities

It does help to have a vision of the kind of life you want to lead and to know the kind of work you want to do and what you are good at. Working at what you are good at does help. As does getting better at doing it and showing your enthusiasm. But, what matters most is to be open to possibilities and to be prepared to listen to your own heart and intuition.

I had always written poetry and articles but never anything longer than about 3,000 words, except for formal written reports at work. Then, out of the blue, a while ago, I had a dream. Yes, a real dream while I was asleep. And out of that dream came the idea and inspiration for a novel.  I could have just dismissed the idea, of course, because it didn’t fit in with my plans at that time. I didn’t! I went with the flow.

A while ago saw the publication of my first novel, The Wolf Project. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed writing it and how proud I am to have my name on the cover. It is a gift I never expected– an example of serendipity at play – I discovered I could write a novel.

You never know what surprises, and what opportunities, life has in store for you. So keep an open mind. Be prepared to be flexible and open to the possibilities. Who knows, serendipity may fly in your direction any day now, just as she did in mine.  And you may end up being just as grateful.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

As well as the Wolf Project, Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Top Tips for Handling Assessment Centres

Top Tips for Handling Assessment Centres

This is an extract from my new book now to be called The WiseWolf Job Search  Pocket Book, How to Win Jobs and Influence Recruiters, to be published in September 2014. You can find my  Amazon page at this Link 
Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach

Here are my top tips for handling Assessment Centres

  1. Be Yourself! Work on the basis the assessors know what they are doing. They will be able to see through an act. Of course you should keep your wits about you and show your best but try to relax enough to let the real you shine through. You may want to use a simple relaxed breathing technique during the odd break.
  2. Know the criteria. Usually, the assessors will be assessing you against a predefined list of qualities and competencies for the job. For most public sector jobs you’ll probably know what these are before the event. In the private sector, openness can vary. But you should try to find out the criteria before the assessment centre.  If you applied through a recruitment agency they should be able to help. At the very least the job description will give an indication of what you’re likely to be measured against.
  3. Manage your time carefully.  Many candidates at assessment centres fail to do themselves justice because they run out of time in the exercises. Where you have to read a brief and then do an exercise afterwards, start by skim reading. After this there is a chance to go back and study important points more carefully once you have a feel for the overall aim and what you are required to do. Keep an eye on your watch and allocate your time carefully.
  4. Don’t put other candidates down. Remember that at an assessment centre you are unlikely to be measured directly against each other; you are being measure against the criteria for the role. Scoring points off others in group exercises doesn’t make you look good. It makes you look like a non-team player and that is not likely to make the assessors warm to you.  Your best strategy is usually to support, not to compete.
  5. Practice if you can.  It really helps if you can run through possible exercises with someone you trust as preparation for the centre. You will find organizations that offer paid-for practice online.
  6. Listen carefully to all instructions. Know what you are doing and show you are doing it. Listen carefully to all instructions and show you are listening through your body language.
  7. Interact with the assessors. If there is an opportunity to interact with the assessors, say at lunch time, then make the most of it.  But don’t be nuisance and certainly don’t hog the limelight.  You want to make an impression memorable for the right reasons.

This book is helpful “Succeeding at Assessment Centres For Dummies”

This is an extract from my new book now to be called The WiseWolf Job Search  Pocket Book, How to Win Jobs and Influence Recruiters, to be published in September 2014. You can find my  Amazon page at this Link 
Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach

Creativity, Inc. A book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights

Creativity inc overcoming the unseen

Building a sense of purpose at Pixar

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Creativity inc overcoming the unseen – as a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: to make the world’s first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream first as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged an early partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his founding Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later and against all odds, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever.

Since then, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, and WALL-E, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner twenty-seven Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Now, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques, honed over years, that have made Pixar so widely admired-and so profitable.

Ceativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation Studios-into the story meetings, the postmortems, and the ‘Braintrust’ sessions where art is born. It is, at heart, a book about how to build and sustain a creative culture-but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, ‘an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.’

Part autobiography, part history of Pixar, part business book, Creativity Inc is an inspiring look at the role creativity plays in one of the most successful media businesses the world has ever seen

Ed Catmull’s book, Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (Random House, April 2014).

Your Help Is Needed

Your Help Is Needed

Your Help Is Needed – today, I’m seeking your help.

I’ve been writing posts about job search on this Wisewolf Talking blog for about four years. That isn’t all I write about on this particular blog but recently it has been a popular subject. So I’ve decided to bring all the research I’ve done to produce those posts into a new book about job search.

I’m setting out my thoughts under six main headings:
• Job search today and creating an overall job search strategy
• Finding the right opportunities
• Becoming a good candidate
• Going through the recruitment process, with a detailed guide to managing interviews
• Making a good start in the new role
• Maintaining your confidence and self belief throughout

What I need from you now please, are your thoughts on the advice you would welcome most in a book like this.
• If you are looking for work, what is the nugget you would welcome?
• If you are a recruiter, what is it you would like candidates to know that no one seems to tell them?

There will be signed copies of the book for the three best suggestions and your contribution will be acknowledged in the book itself.

While on the subject of Wisewolf Talking, it is interesting to see what the most popular posts turn out to be. Sometimes it can be a bit worrying. A post I wrote a while ago about handling a boss who feels jealous remains popular. So is the post I wrote this week about anger at work. The recession doesn’t seem to have generated a happier climate in the workplace. I’d be interested to hear what your experience has been.

Remember to get in touch if you need help with your job search; I offer a trial free half hour coaching session by phone or Skype.

I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search this week every success.

Warm regards

Wendy
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
http://wisewolfcoaching.com
Posted By Wendy Mason

  • Looking For a Job While Still Employed
  • Job Search Strategy – Planning Your Day
  • Job Search Strategy: Who do you want to be?

Presents for You From Wendy and WiseWolf

Presents for You From Wendy and WiseWolf

To celebrate my birthday on 19th December and the Christmas Season, on two special days I have special gifts for you.

On

19th December 2013

and

24th December 2013

Download my novels The Wolf Project and Blood Brothers from Amazon for free.

I believe you will enjoy them and I would very much welcome your Amazon reviews!
Find out more about the books at these links.
Wendy’s UK Amazon Page

The New Book – Blood Brothers – Coming Shortly

The New Book – Blood Brothers – Coming Shortly

I have a new book to be called “Blood Brothers” that will be published in a couple of months and here is the first extract

Blood Brothers – Meet the Glamerines

“Come with me back to the great days of rock! Oh, those marvelous bands like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin; and those other bands that managed to ride the wave right through the years to turn themselves into New Romantics and other incarnations. If you liked them, you’ll probably remember the Glamerines and the gloriously handsome Julian Justin, their frontman. Great survivors were the Glamerines. As styles changed, they just rocked on, with the base and the volume turned up or down as the time demanded. They had a special look, with makeup that would have made a Paris model jealous. Smooth as a peach and beautiful they were at the start of their set. Of course, two hours later, the black stubble was back again. On stage, once they started to sweat, they looked as rough and tough as their music required. And the lovely Julian, with a voice like wild honey? Well, Julian continued look as sweet as their sweetest song and as strong as the prince in a teenage fan’s dreams. In the early 80s, how the little girls loved Julian!

In a dressing room with the Glamerines, you could almost smell the testosterone, despite the make-up. Strong, beautiful and very masculine were the Glamerines – and Julian? On-stage, he loved and was loved by every woman. Off-stage, the girls still loved him, but Julian didn’t quite return the affection. As for the rest of the group, well, they made excuses for the off-stage Julian; fey, but not gay. Of course, not gay! There he was their wonderful, six foot two, slim but well muscled, streak of silver; so powerful on stage with his beautiful long, blond hair. And here they were on a Monday night, about to play a sold out gig at the Crescent Stadium; on the outskirts of Birmingham, on the road to Middleton.

The Glamerines were sitting round in the dressing room. In costume and full makeup, waiting to go on stage and they were stressing out. It was never an easy time, everyone got tense before the music started. Tonight, it was worse than usual. They were drinking beer and discussing their little local difficulty. Rod, the leader of the group and fierce drummer, was angry. Rod was often angry; he reckoned it gave him the edge as a rock drummer, so he spent most of his life on the verge of fury. Right now, he had no problem staying mad. “Why the fuck J, just tell me, why the fuck, couldn’t you keep your hands to yourself?” Rod was finding it quite hard to keep his own hands off Julian, who looked suitably intimidated. “Oh c’mon man, chill;” Eric the laid-back bass guitarist took another pull on his joint. “Live and let live!” Then, as he saw Rod clench his fists, Eric decided he’d quite done enough for Julian. One of the sound guys came in and Eric had a sudden need to discuss the technicalities of a sound check. Eddy, the lead guitarist, decided it was time to wait in the corridor as well. Julian just sat there looking scared. John, the manager, was out fixing, otherwise Julian would have had him to deal with as well and that would have been life-threatening.

“I didn’t know Rod; I just didn’t know who he was. And I was stoned.” Rod got up and came towards him. Julian found himself cowering; he wasn’t often the subject of Rod’s ire and he wasn’t easily scared, but he was tonight. “Alright, alright, I’ll do something.” Now, Rod was standing over him, “So what the fuck are you gonna do to get out of this, asshole?” Julian had never had to think so quickly and sheer panic had struck. “I’ll find a girl. No, better than that I’ll get married. I’ll marry a girl.” Lucky for him, at that moment, they got the call to go on stage. “You better man, you better. Find someone tonight before it breaks – there are plenty dumb enough out there, they’ll take you on. Though God knows why.” Rod turned away from him with a sneer.”

Career Development – Always Be Open To Serendipity

Career Development – Always Be Open To Serendipity

Serendipity – the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.

I come from a generation that was taught to make career plans looking 5, 10 and 20 years ahead. We could always tell you what our next move was going to be and when we were going to make it. Now, of course, things have changed. There isn’t an economic forecaster in the world who can predict what the economy, and the world of work, is going to be like in 10 years’ time. Even looking 5 years ahead, has lots of risks around it. But, we all make some assumptions about the future in choosing a profession or investing in a new business.

Looking back though, for me and my colleagues, life was never as we had forecast. Things happened that we didn’t expect. New opportunities arose – one former colleague was offered a year’s secondment from London to Tuvalu (a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia). It changed her life forever. Another spent six months in Greece working for the UN in his forties. He changed so much his wife didn’t recognize him when she came to visit – he looked years younger. Others found themselves falling in love or having children they hadn’t expected. For others, a change was far less fortunate. But some were very lucky indeed and reached the top in their chosen field by virtue of a number of quite lucky breaks – I don’t mean they had not prepared well.

So what did I learn? Well, it does help to have a vision of the kind of life you want to lead and to know the kind of work you want to do and what you are good at. It helps, too, if you work at what you are good at, get better at doing it and show your enthusiasm. But, what matters most is to be open to possibilities and to be prepared to listen to your own heart and intuition.

I had always written poetry and articles but never anything longer than about 3,000 words, except for formal written reports at work. Then, out of the blue, about eight months ago, I had a dream. Yes, a real dream while I was asleep. And out of that dream came the idea and inspiration for a novel.  I could have just dismissed the idea, of course, because it didn’t fit in with my plans at that time. I didn’t; I went with the flow.

This week saw the publication of my first novel, The Wolf Project. I don’t know how successful it will be – as an author you live in hope. I can tell you how much I enjoyed writing it and how proud I am to have my name on the cover. It is a gift I never expected– an example of serendipity at play – I discovered I could write a novel.

You never know what surprises, and what opportunities, life has in store for you. So keep an open mind. Be prepared to be flexible and open to the possibilities. Who knows, serendipity may fly in your direction any day now, just as she did in mine. You may end up being just as grateful.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project.  Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

The Wolf Project: A Novel From Wendy Smith

The Wolf Project

The Wolf Project A Novel From Wendy Smith

The Wolf ProjectThe Wolf Project – a heart warming story!

“Liz Morris had been a successful TV writer. Then her marriage broke up and she lost both her money and her confidence. Now, she has been asked by the formidable Annabel Meadows to help her husband, retiring American General, George “Jet” Meadows, write his autobiography. Liz doesn’t want the work but she does need the money. What she doesn’t know is that this project and meeting General Meadows will change her life forever.”

The Wolf Project shows age is no barrier to falling in love but its complications will pull at your heart strings. See how just one decision can change your life forever. For Liz, the journey leads her to London, Washington and Paris but what is it taking her towards?

Wendy Smith (Wendy Mason until her recent marriage) is career, life and business coach, as well being a writer and poet. She grew up in Walsall in the West Midlands in the UK. But she now lives in South East London.Wendy trained as a nurse at the Royal Free Hospital, London. Before working as a writer and coach, she had a management career in the UK Civil Service and worked as an independent consultant with organisations like the BBC.

 

The Wolf Project: A New Novel From Wendy Mason

The Wolf Project

A new Novel From Wendy Mason

The Wolf Project Front Cover

“Liz Morris had been a successful TV writer. Then her marriage broke up and she lost both her money and her confidence. Now, she has been asked by the formidable Annabel Meadows to help her husband, retiring American General, George “Jet” Meadows, write his autobiography. Liz doesn’t want the work but she does need the money. What she doesn’t know is that this project and meeting General Meadows will change her life forever.”

Coming shortly – regular updates will be on The Wolf Project page

Wendy Mason is a Career and Life Coach and Writer and she is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She lives in London, England with partner, Owen. As a coach, Wendy helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. This is her first novel.