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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”