It is only natural to feel anxious before an online assessment centre. Typically this is the final round before the employer decides if they will make you an offer for the position. You should therefore be proud of your achievements in reaching the final stage, you deserve to be there as much as anyone else!
Assessment centres are designed to simulate key aspects of the role you applied for and are seen as a strong predictor of future job performance. Conducting these online does have benefits:
Flexibility: Assessors can, in theory, be anywhere across the globe to join and assess candidates.
Cost: Often companies provide food and drink or have to book meeting space. Candidates also save on travel expenses.
Time: In-person assessment centres historically would have lots of additional networking time; between tasks, lunch etc, whereas we are seeing a much more efficient schedule with the switch to online.
How you perform in a team setting is seen as a key ‘soft skills’, as with most graduate roles collaboration is involved.
Group size is typically 6 to 10 (it is harder to assess multiple people in a virtual environment at the same time). Tasks include; choosing a new project/strategy for a company to invest in, or more obscure; including being on a virtual life raft, and only one candidate can remain on the life raft by the end. (Candidates have to justify who should be the one person left).
Time is often limited, and the debate can become heated; allocating someone to track time and ensuring everyone has a voice could be useful.
Deciding, as a group, a clear goal and criteria to move forward could help you be more successful. Often you are being assessed on your method; how you reached your decision, as opposed to purely the decision itself, there is often more than one correct answer to complete group tasks.
These can be based on a fictitious company, or the company you applied for. They link to the key competencies the role requires and can simulate a typical challenge or ‘day in the life of” situation.
You may have to analyse financial and company information, spot mistakes/errors, make recommendations having reviewed multiple documents, or organise a schedule.
Your ability to be organised, and demonstrate attention to detail is often tested in these tasks. Ensure you read all the material thoroughly before taking action, and do take notes as you review the information. Understanding the companies values in advance may help you shape your decisions, e.g. at Enterprise – Customer Service is our way of life, are your decisions/strategy in line with this statement?
For role plays, one or multiple assessors will see how you would approach a situation you would encounter in the role. You may have to handle a customer complaint or lead a morning team meeting.
Common virtual presentations involve conducting an “elevator pitch” (30-second introduction on yourself) or presenting a summary of your CV/experience.
Many candidates are unfamiliar with role plays and find this scenario unnatural and awkward. Practising with friends and family may help build confidence. We find candidates who have a clear goal and can explain the method, score higher on these tasks.
Normally in a one-to-one setting but may also be in a rotational setting with multiple assessors asking a few questions each. This tends to be the ‘hiring manager’ or most senior person conducting the interview. Their time is viewed as highly valuable and only candidates whom the organisation deems could be hired will have gotten through to this stage.
The types of interview questions may include more on your motivations and long-term goals, as well as reflections on how you have performed during the assessment centre; often employers want to see if your reflection of the day matches theirs.
This is often your last opportunity to leave a lasting impression, we recommend having some high level, strong questions to ask at this stage. If you have used answers on previous interviews with the company you believed were strong, please do reuse these, do not feel you have to create a new example to use. We recommend the STAR technique to answer questions.
Finally, being stressed before and during assessment centre’s is natural. Not knowing what to expect on the day can be a primary cause of this. The company you are interviewing with should provide you with a full schedule in advance. If not, we recommend asking directly for further information. This is best practice, as the employer should ask you if you require reasonable adjustments.
It is also worth remembering that not all employers use assessment centres, we removed this stage from our application process to ensure a more accessible and inclusive process. Check out the great graduate jobs and internships that we have available and apply.
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