Meeting people: selectors, current graduates, senior staff, other candidates
Gathering information: about the organisation, the job, and the working culture
Demonstrating your potential: tests and exercises about your competencies
Assessment centres …
… are used for selection by larger employers to assess competencies
… can last from 1/2 a day to two days
… are considered a fair way of assessing candidate’s skills and abilities
… use a range of selection methods for individuals and for groups
A typical 1-day assessment centre
Introduction of participants and candidates
Coffee break, socialising informally
Buffet lunch, socialising informally
Group exercise, solving a work-related problem
Interviews, ½ hour, skills-based
- chance for networking, food and drink, still observed!
Employer presentation, tour of premises
- description of company mission, structure, job functions
- short presentation about a topic of your choice, often prepared in advance, testing your presentation skills - can be short verbal presentation about yourself by way of introducing yourself in the group (similar to 30” CV)
In-tray (e-tray) exercises
- about prioritising administrative tasks, timed exercise, putting items in order (reports, phone messages, emails, letters – providing notes with your responses)
- usually the “second” interview, small panel, competencies, technical abilities
- one of the assessors to take on a part which relates to the role you’ve applied for (e.g. complaining customer)
- scenario related to the role applied for, about analytical problem-solving; asked for recommendations
- verbal and numeric reasoning tests / personality tests
Group roles with leader assigned
- members assigned a specific role and aim; may involve arguing your case, negotiating, persuading others - not about winning or losing but communicating effectively in a group to achieve your goal
Group discussion without a leader
- topic given, often timed and required to make a group recommendation (often a group case study) - get involved and contribute in whatever way you can (e.g. leading, facilitating, generating ideas, encouraging, monitoring progress, questioning, analysing)
Practical team exercises
- Timed exercise, groups may be competing against one another; task could be anything from building a structure with simple materials to solving an imaginary problem such as conveying ping pong balls from a to b - Purpose to assess drive, leadership, creativity, motivation, team working.
It’s Friday afternoon and you’re clearing your desk, as you’re about to start your holiday on Saturday. You still need to pack.
There are some items in your in-tray for you to clear before you go. Decide:
A: What needs your immediate attention? B: What can be postponed until you return? C: What can you delegate to someone else?
Minutes of a recent management team meeting circulated for your information.
A mail shot from a regular supplier, asking you to act within 5 days to qualify for a huge discount.
Phone message from the MD’s secretary. He needs to deliver a speech at an important function tonight and wants to clarify some figures.
Message from the marketing department – have you had a chance to look at her proposals for your product. Arrange meeting to discuss strategy?
The report of the latest customer survey you’ve been waiting for with anticipation.
Movies R Us – 1/3
Your client is a small independent cinema.
Profits have been in decline for some time.
Your tasks is to suggest possible ways to increase their revenue.
Background Information: 4 screens, opening hours 2pm – 11pm, snacks and soft drinks are on sale, average age group of visitors 18 - 40
Movies R Us – 2/3
How would you tackle this exercise?
What factors do we think may have led to a decline in profits?
What recommendations would you make?
Discuss with your neighbour – 5 min.
Movies R Us - debrief
What recommendations would you make? Key point: no right or wrong answers! Answers might include:
Show children’s movies to attract whole families
Include special midweek deals (2 for 1)
Extend opening hours to have morning screenings for school children at weekends
“Golden Oldies” nights to attract older people
Investigate snacks – what sells well? What not? What else might people want?
Tips for success
Relax, be yourself and enjoy the event
Be pleasant and positive to everyone including other candidates
Prepare a short introduction about yourself that you could use in a group introduction or during the interview (why you have applied and what you have to offer)
Prepare as you would for an interview (research employer, read press releases, practise questions and answers)
Remain interested and involved throughout, show enthusiasm for tasks
Make eye contact, speak up, speak clearly, don’t interrupt
When working in groups:
try not to dominate, include others
pay attention to time and check details
articulate your thoughts and ideas; be concise
respect other views, acknowledge better ideas even if this means changing your mind
You are NOT in competition with other candidates!
It’s about how you behave and work with them - some, all or none may be selected!
Watch AGCAS video/DVD about assessment centres (approx. 25 min.)
Handouts about assessment centres, group exercises, presentations