Does the thought of an assessment centre send you running for the hills? Assessment centres can be an intimidating process if you don't know what to expect and can occasionally send your imagination into overdrive. Fear not, as Rachael’s myth buster blog will help calm your nerves and sort the facts from the fiction.
1. The assessor is scary
Your assessor will do everything they can to make you feel at ease during the assessment centre. Just because they are your assessor it doesn't mean that they aren't nervous too. Embrace the experience and demonstrate active listening skills through positive body language, eye contact and verbal affirmations.
2. I can’t prepare for an assessment centre as I don’t know what to expect
Preparation is key to assessment centre success. Although you won’t know the topics of the exercises that you will be taking part in there are some common factors you can prepare for.
Interview: Study the job description and practice interview questions in advance using the STARR technique with family and friends. Familiarise yourself with your CV so you can talk about your experience and really sell yourself. Ensure you have your killer question ready to ask at the end of the interview.
Group Exercise: Remember this is a time-sensitive group task. Keep track of the time available and work with the other members in the group making sensible, balanced and fact-based contributions to achieve the desired outcome. If there are some quieter members in the group who have not shared their thoughts or opinions, consider how you can encourage them to contribute towards the group discussion.
Presentation: Build structure into your presentation by including a clear introduction, content and conclusion. Consider how visual aids can support your message and practice your presentation in advance to help you become less reliant on your notes. Be confident, with plenty of practice you’ve got this!
3. The assessor is aware of my experience from my application form and CV, so I don’t need to cover that
Your assessor can only assess you on what they see and hear during the assessment centre and will score you based on your performance during each exercise. Forget what they might already know and use the STARR technique to fully answer each interview question to achieve maximum points.
4. I have to take charge of the group discussion to get noticed by the assessor
You will gain points for demonstrating your leadership strengths during the group discussion, but it is important that this is done in a collaborative and supportive way. Many candidates have been marked down for dominating the group and talking over others. Think about how you can demonstrate your strengths without alienating other candidates. Assigning roles at the start of an exercise based on skills, strengths and experiences build structure into the group task and ensures everyone has a part to play towards the end result.
5. Being assessed by an assessor is off-putting
It’s easy to think your assessor will be off-putting but once the exercises are underway, you’ll soon forget that they are there. The assessor’s role is to assess all candidates and score them based on their behaviours and contribution. Try to relax and enjoy the experience. It’s only natural to feel nervous but don’t let this get in the way of your performance on the day. Remember to smile and let your personality shine through.
So, there you are, my top five assessment centre myths that you no longer need to worry about.