You’re the Best Around!
Last month marks the one-year anniversary of the end of my assessment centre tribulations which I was forced to undertake in order to obtain a summer internship. Although I am by no means an expert, I have had a fair bit of experience in that bizarre environment, so it seems appropriate to give whatever advice I can to anybody who might soon find themselves in a similar situation:
Don’t be over-competitive. Sure, you are there to demonstrate why you are more suitable for the role than the other candidates but throwing them under the bus is not only easily noticed by assessors, but it is also a snakey move. Show the big dogs why you are great, not why the other people are bad.
Be friendly. Nowadays, companies are looking more and more to cultivate the warmest working environments possible and are forever placing a greater focus on personality over knowledge. Being a pleasant and social person is a great advantage which will get you on the assessor’s side too. Even if you are nervous, scared and really not in the mood to be chatty, just fake it – your nerves will soon be forgotten.
Don’t get stuck being the timekeeper. This is a simple one. Most assessment centres will have you undertake some sort of group task where the candidates must work collaboratively. Being the timekeeper simply volunteers you to be side-lined while the others make meaningful contributions. Stay in the mixer and offer something more!
Don’t get your phone out. Seems like an obvious one but you would be surprised! Obviously, nobody does this in an interview or when being spoken to but more often than not, the days will contain small breaks where you can ‘relax’ for a second. Rather than getting out your phone, talk to some of the other candidates or other people in the room, it will be noticed by the assessors. Sometimes, a break really is just a break and you might be able to afford to get your phone out but my view is, why risk it unless you have to?
Relax. Again, an absolute classic but worth reiterating. Yes, the environment is scary and yes, you will be nervous but the more you can subdue those nerves, the more you will shine. Like most things, this will improve with practice so don’t worry if your first assessment centre doesn’t go as well as you might have hoped. With time you will be able to relax more, think straighter and focus on letting your best qualities shine through.
Make the most of it. This will no doubt be repeated a lot on the day, but assessment centres are a great experience and you can certainly learn a lot from them! Use them to practice your interview technique, outline your weaknesses and pinpoint your strengths.
Best of luck to anybody who is going into the lion’s den in the coming months, I’m sure you will smash it!