How to: Ace Your Assessment Centre!

Updated: Feb 29

Assessment centres usually have three parts: Group Exercise, Case Study & Interviews.

Group Exercise:

Time Keeper – Group exercises are always given a tight time limit, offer to be the time keeper. It shows that you have considered the time constraint and are organised. Remember to remind the group when there is 10, 5 and 1 minute left etc.

Use names – There will always be visible name labels for the assessors, use them. Refer to your group members by their names when discussing/presenting. It shows impressive attention to detail and team spirit.

Speak to add value – Actively engage in the discussions but don’t speak for the sake of it. Also, if there is a group member who hasn’t yet spoken pull them into the conversation.

Focus on the task – It almost always happens that the group gets off track or spends too much time on one part. Don’t be afraid to draw the attention of the group back to the task at hand.

Case Study:

Skim & Identify – They usually involve a large amount of information which you need to digest very quickly. If possible, skim the entire document and mark the most relevant pages. You really don’t want to be the only person who didn’t see X page.

Bring a Watch – Time will go very quickly, trust me. Get a watch and allocate time to reading, questions, preparing for the presentation etc. Try your absolute best to stick to it.

Present with Confidence – You’ll almost always feel underprepared for the presentation but so will others. The key is to present with confidence what you do know. If you missed something it is okay to say something like “I don’t have the answer right now, but I can get the answer and follow up with you”, rather than panicking.

Interviews:

These can be competency, motivational or technical. I would advise to prepare for all to a degree despite what the assessment centre invite might say.

Be Personable – This can be done in many ways. For example, you’ll always be asked ‘Why this firm?’, don’t just reel off numbers you got from their annual report -the person before you probably did this. Try speaking about personal interactions you’ve had with the firm/employees or something you saw on their LinkedIn that really impressed you.

Confident, not Cocky, not Relaxed – I don’t believe there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. Especially when applying for junior level roles, it is super important that you come across as teachable. You also don’t want to come across as too relaxed even if in your head you’re thinking ‘I got this’, you need to portray ‘I want this’.

Focus on You – I often avoid speaking to other interviewee's immediately before and after my interviews. If you’re easily thrown off and prone to overthinking do the same. Additionally, my interviews with the best feedback have been the ones where the interviewer seemed unimpressed. Don’t be put off by what the interviewer is/isn’t doing. Keep smiling, keep going, you’re probably doing great. Best of luck!

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