Assessment centres are a vital way for graduate recruiters to evaluate the leadership and communication skills of candidates and they’re also the fourth step in our application process. Believe it or not, networking and communicating effectively at assessment centers is being evaluated just as much as other competencies.
At assessment centres, standing out form the crowd is key. Networking can be a great way to do this as it demonstrates confidence and initiative. With all that in mind here are a couple of things to remember when networking: firstly know your audience! If the person is someone new that you have never met before, then you are essentially cold-calling them. Sell yourself. Smile, keep the exchange light rather than formal. Remember you are just speaking to a normal person, so try and establish some common ground.
Open with a strong handshake, good eye contact. If the person is someone you have seen before, or you’re aware of who they are and what they do, then start by making a point of telling them you caught them at x event, or have seen their work on y platform. Again this is a good way of starting conversation, and shows the individual that you are aware of the work they have been doing. If you’re attending an assessment centre soon, don’t forget to brush up on your social etiquette.
Remember that although opening these conversations may seem nerve-wracking at first, you are simply talking to people who already share a similar interest to you – the company and the opportunity on offer. Be yourself. Listen to any information given to you and use this to go forward and start making some memorable conversations.
If you are joining a group that is already mid-conversation then don’t hijack the conversation. If you are the one leading the discussion then encourage others to speak too. The best networkers are those who do not demand attention but make other feel included. And finally, remember to follow up. Starting a conversation with people is just the beginning but if this is an opportunity you are seriously passionate about, and then build on that relationship.
Here are our top tips of what to and what to avoid when you’re networking at an assessment centre event.
Talk about the opportunity
Ask about how that person started within the business
Discuss what you found out about the company Keep it professional
Things to avoid
Talking about religion or politics
Mentioning your boozy holiday to Ibiza
Avoid having your mobile phone out
Another really important tip is to make sure that you eat enough, as it can be a long day and you need to keep your energy level high to perform well.
Assessment centres really help us to decide who is right for a role and who can fit in with our teams. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for you to find out whether you’ll be comfortable working in the Enterprise environment.