When applying for work placements and graduate jobs it is quite common to be invited to an assessment day with the company you have applied to. This is so that employers can get a better idea of whether you are the candidate for them.
To prepare us for this experience the Manchester Fashion Institute recreates an assessment day experience every year for their students. This works as practice for the real thing, so that we know what to expect when we are actually invited to one for a job that we have applied for. So, if you are ever invited to an assessment centre then here is the kind of thing you should expect (bearing in mind that all these days vary dependent on the company and job role).
They are likely to want to interview you one- to- one, if they haven’t done so already. In the interview at my Assessment Centre I was asked a variety of questions relating to the job role, the company, myself and my previous experience. It is important that you have a few examples of situations from work experience or university that you can whip out such as times you’ve communicated well, or been part of a team etc. Always have the job role memorised and fresh in your brain so that you can relate back to it and answer questions about why you would be suitable and make sure have done lots of research about the company. At the end of the interview they will 100% ask you whether you have any questions to ask them, golden rule is to have a question prepared to ask even if you already know the answer it looks much more professional and interested as opposed to you just sitting there going “umm”.
The whole purpose of an assessment centre is so that employers can see how you interact and work with others. So, you should definitely be prepared for a group work element of the day, this may seem daunting but this is the perfect opportunity for you to show them the kind of person you are. Interviews can be a bit intense and people often struggle to be themselves but group work is a much more relaxed situation for you to come out your shell and get your personality across. Just make sure you aren’t the quiet one in the corner, interact with the group and contribute ideas.
As an example, the group work at my Assessment day involved us reading through an information booklet and developing a campaign idea from it in 10 minutes, and then presenting to the recruiter.
Sometimes they ask you, prior to the day, to have a presentation prepared. At mine we had to complete a comparison SWOT analysis of two magazines which the company we were pretending to apply for owned and we were told that we would have 5 minutes to present.
Give whatever task you are given your all, if you want to impress them stand out. Don’t just make a Powerpoint presentation and stand and read from a script. Know what you’re saying so you can interact with the audience and speak passionately. Go the extra mile and think of ways that you could present differently so they will remember you, you could bring visuals for example or handouts for them to keep- go all out and be enthusiastic. Something to remember is that if they give you a time limit then stick to it! At my practice assessment centre my presentation ran over and I was cut off, that’s a lesson I learned the hard way.
We then received feedback at the end of the day which has been a massive help for my confidence and also when preparing for other interview situations. If you do go to an assessment centre and aren’t successful then don’t hesitate to email them and request some feedback, this will help you be better prepared for the next time. Or you’ll get the job and know you did well!