How to Prepare for Assessment Centres?Reading Time: 3 minutes
What Is an Assessment Day?
The assessment day is often (but not always) the final stage in the application process. Assessment days can take place at the employer’s offices or at a private assessment centre. You are evaluated through a series of individual tasks, all of which are aimed at giving the employer a rounded profile of your competencies as well as insight into your performance in the workplace.
Assessment days usually run four to eight hours over a period of one or two days, although mass recruitment campaigns are sometimes a three-day process. The exact schedule for each employer’s assessment day varies according to the position for which the assessment is being held. At Apostrof, we regularly run assessment centres.
Our tailor-made assessing approach is based on Assessment Centre methods (professional role plays and observations of behaviours including expertise and interpersonal communication skills). It’s not a test: you won’t receive a score. Most of the time, the assessment will actually be very much like your everyday experience. To prepare the best you can, here are a few pointers.
Preparing for Assessment
The good news is that there’s not much preparation to do for the assessment. You can’t ‘cram’ for this special type of exercise. Assessment centers use a method of measuring your skills through your ways of being and acting; there are no right or wrong answers. However, on the day before your assessment centre you should consolidate your knowledge of the firm you have applied to.
Review the job description and any other material the employer may have sent you. Think about the key skills and competencies your assessors will be looking for in you and other candidates during the assessment centre. They will be making selections based on these criteria, so think about ways you can demonstrate these skills during the various tests and exercises you will be involved in tomorrow.
On the Day of your Assessment Centre
On the day of your assessment centre you must be polite to everyone you meet and join in with discussions, including informal ones (e.g. during lunch). You should give the process your full attention (remove any potential disturbances e.g. mobile phone) and pay attention to the instructions (ask any questions necessary to carry out the exercises properly).
Assessors are not expecting you to be perfect in all areas, so try to be assertive during exercises and to moove on quickly, if you make a mistake. During group exercises, your assessors want to see evidence of good leadership and teamwork skills as well as your own intelligent input. Sometimes stress can get the upper hand in simulations, but this allows the candidate’s ability to cope with stressful situations to be measured. This can be an important selection criterion for some strategic positions that are particularly stressful. However, the assessors will never deliberately set out to create an extreme situation.
The basic principle is that the exercise should be run in Assessment centre exercises are used to determine the best candidate for the job. However this method is also used as Development Centre. In that case, your assessment day will end with a deep feedback. If you don’t get a job offer this time, you need to know why, so that you can make sure you get an offer next time round. . Coping with stress is just one factor among many criteria measured.
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