Winning at Assessment Centres

Our ‘Winning at Assessment Centres’ E-book will tell you what to expect and how to prepare so that you can perform at your best.

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Congratulations! Getting through that initial interview whether a telephone interview or face to face is a big step and you should feel confident. Now you have a letter inviting you to attend an Assessment Centre.

Employers don’t invite people to an Assessment Centre just to make up the numbers. Everyone who is there has the opportunity to get the job. If candidates are very good the employer might even take on more people than originally planned. So it’s all up to you.

The Assessment Centre is the final stage for selection but what happens there and how do you prepare? Well, unless you have applied to the Armed Services it won’t mean crossing a river using three different length planks nor will you have to climb over a 4 metre wall in your P.E. kit.

The good news is that most Assessment Centres take place indoors usually in an office or hotel environment. The bad news is that people who attend Assessment Centres are sworn to secrecy as to what happens so as not to give an advantage to other candidates.

The thing about Assessment Centres is that until you have been involved in one or two it all seems a bit of a mystery, full of secrecy and black arts. Employers deliberately create this impression because they want you untainted by knowledge of what goes on.

Do you remember how the people who set IQ tests always say that you will gain no advantage by practising because IQ tests are a test of pure intelligence? Yet we all know that if we are familiar with a process and know what to expect then we tend to be more relaxed and comfortable with the process and that relaxation and fore-knowledge can help our performance.

Well, having run lots and lots of Assessment Centres we can let you into a secret. Most Assessment Centres follow a similar process.

You will face exercises and activities in a group and sometimes one-to-one. You will be assessed and scored against pre-set criteria.

The sorts of criteria you will be assessed against are, for example, Planning, Leadership, Teamwork, Persuasiveness, Negotiation Skills etc., etc.

If you are familiar with the TV programme “The Apprentice” you will have seen teams of candidates trying to achieve a particular outcome or target in a limited time frame. It’s not always been a pretty sight but it’s been good TV. Remember the two observers who watched everything, made notes but didn’t comment to the teams on what they were doing. Well that’s how assessors work.

Now you probably won’t be scuttling around London in the back of a taxi nor will you be living in a multi-million pound house for 3 months, but, over probably a day, maybe two, you will be given tasks in which to display your Leadership, Teamwork, Persuasiveness, and Negotiating Skills etc., etc.

The tricky bit is that everyone else in the team is being observed for the same criteria so how do you MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL?

For example you are in one-to-one negotiation with a fellow candidate; you are the buyer they are the seller. You have 20 minutes to familiarise yourself with the facts then you are negotiating under the eyes of probably two observers, one for each candidate. What is your strategy, what are your tactics, what is the top price you will pay, do you have a lowest price you will pay, what about delivery, what about quality control etc., etc.

Well you did have 20 minutes to prepare! Don’t panic, we can help you succeed in the task by showing you what the Assessment Centre is looking for.

Don’t think that you can ‘fly by the seat of your pants’; don’t think that someone with your intelligence is bound to win through, in most cases it just won’t happen.

Here are the questions we will answer for you so that you can be prepared for your assessment day.

* What is an Assessment Centre?
* Who Designs the Assessment Centre Exercises?
* Who Makes the Assessment?
* What sorts of Exercises Can I Expect?
* An Example of an Actual Assessment Centre Exercise.
* Other Typical Exercises You Might Face.
* What You Should Do to Perform Well.
* What You Should Not Do

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Make sure you check out our other popular e-books:

* Winning at Competency Based Interview
* Winning at Telephone Interviews
* Winning at Assessment Centres

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This might seem weird, but six in 10 interview candidates wear lucky pants to ease them through an interview, according to new research.

The research, by employment law firm Peninsula, found that 84% adorn themselves with a ‘lucky’ item, with six in 10 opting for lucky pants.

Advice is also taken from a horoscope reading of the day for 73% of respondents.

The top 10 lucky charms are:

* Lucky underwear (sometimes unwashed!)
* Lucky jewellery
* Brooch
* Lucky shoes
* An object from childhood, e.g. blanket/teddy
* Four-leaf clover
* Key ring
* Lucky stone
* Lucky pen/pencil
* Lucky photograph of someone e.g. boyfriend/relative

Peter Done, managing director at Peninsula said: "Union Jack underwear is not guaranteed to get you the job, so get prepared, turn up early for the interview, dress smartly and sell yourself. Leave the lucky underwear at home. I'm amazed at how superstitious people are, one employee we spoke to took wearing lucky underwear to the extreme, claiming his briefs are so lucky that he refuses to wash them."

"There are so many applicants who submit CVs which are below par and will not make it past recruiters' inboxes. There is an ongoing concern that graduates are limiting their chances of success at the first hurdle."
Sunil Duggal, MD Just IT Recruitment.