My Assessment Day Experience
Firstly, apologise for the sparse blogs as of late, the current system for Chemistry students in their third year is to sit their exams at the end of term 2 so currently my year is in full exam mode.
However, to break away from being nose deep in textbooks all hours of the day and to try and do something productive with my last summer as a “free man” before entering the real world I have been applying to various summer placement schemes, predominately focusing on science with a few finance based roles.
Fortunately, I was invited to interview/ assessment centre at a company for a 10-week lab-based role and I thought it would be useful to inform others of what my assessment day experience was like from a first-person perspective.
8:30am: The invitation email requested interviewees to arrive at 8:45am and so as advised I arrived 15 minutes early as to give off a good impression. To my surprise I was not the first to arrive, as they were two other interviewees waiting in reception. This was much nicer than being sat on my own as everyone just chatted and got to know each-other. Remember, even at this stage what you do could be being watched by receptions so as soon as you step into the building be in interview mode.
8:45am: The seven of us were rounded up and taken to a room to be told details about the company, the role being offered and the layout of the day. This would include the seven of us being split into a group of 4 and a group of 3 and while one group did the other would do the . Even at this stage try and ask a question or two, it shows you are keen and will give off a good impression at this early stage.
9:20am: I was picked up by one of the two people interviewing me and taken to a separate room where my individual interview would take place. Unfortunately, every interview at each company will be very different so it is hard to advise what will/ won’t be asked. For science-based roles expect some competency-based question (give us an example of where you’ve worked in a team… answer using STAR technique) and technical based questions (exam style questions testing your base knowledge of the science you would be using during the placement). Have common competency-based question answers prepared and revise up on science done in previous years.
11:00am: Group assessments are interesting as everyone has different tactics going into the assessment; some try and lead from the off but can come off over assertive while others tend to be quieter, which can also be a negative. Group assessments usually involve some sort of task; build a marshmallow tower with spaghetti, as a group decide what items you’d take to a desert island, argue why you should receive funding for a project. Remember, the outcome of the task is not as important as most think, the interviewer’s main objective is to see how you work in a team. This means being brave enough to participate in the group discussion and have a voice but remember to listen to others and try not to dominate others in your group. If you can get someone who seems quieter involved this will look amazing as you as a candidate.
12:00pm: Lunch provided.
1:00pm: Assessment day finished.
This is just my experience of an assessment day. From speaking to friends and researching other companies’ assessment day procedures no two will necessarily be the same. Some may ask you to create and deliver a presentation and will give you a couple days’ notice to do so while others may only give you 30mins. You may be asked to complete numeracy, abstract reasoning or verbal reasoning tests. Always research and prepare as much as possible to have the best shot possible at being offered a place.