Grad scheme applications are gruelling, and they are made up of oh so many parts! If you’re lucky enough to have made it through to the assessment centre, first of all well done – that’s a pretty big achievement. Secondly, I know how you’re feeling. Overwhelmed, nervous and confused – especially if it’s your first one. Here are my 3 top tips for impressing at an assessment centre:
Know the company
It’s so so important to know the ins and outs of the company, and don’t just glance at their website. Look them up on news websites, search them on LinkedIn, follow their social media. Make sure that you are as up to date as possible going into the assessment centre and use all of this knowledge when answering questions or doing tasks. It’s also important to keep it natural though, don’t bring stuff up for the sake of it because they’ll know! There will be plenty of opportunity to show what you know without having to force it.
Knowing the company also extends to knowing their dress code and culture. If they dress smart, don’t wear jeans but likewise if they wear jeans, don’t come in a suit!
Be confident, but not cocky
There’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness, and not crossing it during an assessment centre is vital. It’s good to be confident; be assertive in your capabilities, know your stuff and show then what you can do. Don’t be too forceful and let others speak – I promise you that they will value your listening and teamwork skills more than you overpowering everyone else there!
Confidence can also be shown by talking to everyone. Ask your fellow candidates about themselves, speak to the assessors and make conversation with other people you make throughout the day. If they are choosing between you and someone else who didn’t make much of an effort to get to know them, guess who they’ll choose?
This is the most important thing. If you aren’t being yourself at an assessment centre then there’s really no point in being there at all. They’ve read your CV, and they’ll know what kind of a person you are. If you go into it acting as someone you’re not, then even if you get the job you may realise later down the line that it really isn’t for you, it’s for who you pretended to be on the day. Even if you don’t get it, but you were yourself the entire time, that’s ok – that company just wasn’t for you!
Assessment centres are hard. They are intense and they feel a little bit like The Hunger Games. Hopefully these tips will make them a little easier for you.
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