How to Present Yourself Well at the Assessment Centre - dummies

How to Present Yourself Well at the Assessment Centre

By Nigel Povah, Lucy Povah

Inbox exercises, group exercises, case studies, interviews, psychometric tests – you’ll need to demonstrate a range of skills and competencies to beat the job competition. Follow these top tips when preparing for the assessment centre – a series of employment selection procedures – in order to increase your chances of receiving a job offer.

Preparing for the assessment centre

Spend time thoroughly researching the organisation you’re applying to. Investigate its ethos, culture and long-term goals. You’ll be able to talk with knowledge and enthusiasm about the company if you’re asked, and will have a better understanding of the role you’re applying for.

Review the job description and think about how they relate to the skills you already have. Think about how can incorporate new skills into a development plan. Make a list of any questions you have about the role: you might get the chance to raise these at the assessment centre. It shows that you’ve thought about the position and that you’re interested in working for the company.

When you learn more about the format for the assessment centre (you’ll probably receive information in advance) think about how the exercises will relate to the competencies being assessed. Work out which behaviours you’ll need to demonstrate to get the job.

Also think about which tests will suit you most and which you’ll need to spend more time preparing for. Think of examples in which you’ve demonstrated these skills and how you can improve on these. Ask friends and families for their opinions on your strengths and weaknesses in real-life situations.

Perform at your best at the assessment centre

At the beginning of each exercise, spend five minutes planning your approach to the task and reminding yourself of the key competencies being assessed. Ensure that you manage your time so that you finish each part of the task.

At the assessment centre, you’ll need to display confident and assertive behaviour to show that you can speak your mind and make decisions, but you also need to show that you can listen to others and that you are self-aware. Always think about what you’re going to say and how this reflects on you.

When working in groups, your objective should not be to beat everyone else, but to work together effectively as a team. Aim to earn the respect of your colleagues and seek to win the support of others wherever possible. Be friendly and approachable: Interacting with other candidates will help you feel more comfortable. Assessors will want to see that you can interact effectively with people in a variety of situations. If you can memorise a few names before the group exercises, that’s a bonus.

Body language speaks volumes. People will make initial judgements about you based on your posture, gestures and expressions, so pay attention to these. Always stand up straight when shaking hands; smile to acknowledge the other person; make eye contact and lean forwards to engage people in what you’re saying. Avoid ‘closed’ gestures such as crossing your arms and legs.

Simply being yourself maximises your chances of doing well at the assessment centre. You are more likely to come across as comfortable and confidence if you’re presenting a truthful picture of yourself.