Assessment Centres involve taking part in several activities related to the role that you have applied for.
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They normally take place over a day and are a chance for you to show employers how you perform in a work-based context. Typically, activities will be a mix of individual and group work, may involve presentations, case students and interviews.
Employers want to see how effectively you work in a team. This could include how you negotiate and influence, your skills of leadership, problem-solving and creativity. It's likely the objective will be to complete a task or come to a unanimous agreement as a group.
Prepare by: being aware of what the employer is looking for in terms of skills, knowledge of the industry and the business you will be working in. Make contributions in your seminars and get actively involved in group projects.
- During group work exercises speak clearly and make regular contributions
- Back up your arguments with information provided and your own knowledge
- Listen respectfully to everyone in the group and bring quieter members into the conversation when necessary
- Avoid dominating the discussion, interrupting and getting off topic
Presentations test your ability to clearly communicate your ideas in an engaging and well-structured way. You may be asked to present on a topic given to you on the day or provided with details in advance.
Prepare by: taking every opportunity to present during your course or by getting involved in co-curricular activities such as the Gold Award.
- Use an appropriate style, speak clearly and use good eye contact
- Stick to the brief and get across any important points
- Back up any assertions with evidence and be prepared to answer questions that challenge your position
- Avoid covering too many points, going over time and looking at your notes to often
- Practice makes perfect, ensure that you are fluent and familiar with the content
- Use one of our appointments with a careers consultant to get feedback on your presentation
Case studies test your ability to take in information, analyse it and then communicate your findings. Typically, you'll be given a range of information, often including reports, data and articles, which you report back on in presentation or written format.
Prepare by: Trying your hand at these case studies and by developing your analytical skills during your course.
- Take time to read the instructions carefully and look through all the information that you are given
- Identify the important issues, paying attention to any contradictions, key details such as dates and figures, and anything that involves a client or manager
- Be ready for the unexpected – sometimes further information arrives during the activity that could change things
- Avoid getting too involved with one piece of information and not managing your time effectively
- There is often no 'right answer'; rather the aim is to make logical conclusions using clear, well-reasoned arguments
Download our helpsheet on assessment centres (PDF on Learn.gold) for more advice and keep an eye on our events page for mock assessment centre practice and presentation skills training.