Assessment Centres, These vary from firm to firm but generally last half a day and can consist of:
- Group Exercise
- In tray exercise
- Case Study
- Online tests
Group Exercise: you are normally split into a group of 4 and given a task. You will be observed throughout. You are being observed as to how well you work in a group, collaborate, influence, lead, support and get the best out of people. This does not mean you therefore have to immediately lead or dominate but neither is it acceptable that you contribute little. You need to take an active part. Here are a few tips:
- Make sure you actively listen to the other members of the group and do not talk over them;
- If there is someone who is very quiet, rather than ignore them, ask them for their opinion and try and involve them;
- Ask for the groups agreement on something rather than being assumptive;
- If others have good ideas or points of view, say so and act on them;
- Take a role if its relevant (time keeper, scribe etc)
- Do not argue or be aggressive in any way;
- Be logical, not emotional;
- Stand up for your point or idea and explain it and justify it – be assertive without being over bearing. Have an opinion!
- It’s a good idea to summarise the decisions along the way or push for decisions/progress to be made. You may say, “I think we have discussed this enough now, we need to make a decision which way to go”.
- If relevant, ensure you delegate tasks at the beginning;
- Try and bring some structure to the exercise if relevant;
- Don’t forget to plan;
- Don’t lose sight of the objectives;
- Be respectful at all times;
- Remember there are often no right or wrong answers – they are simply examining how you interact with others.
You may also find that you will be asked to present your findings or conclusions at the end of the process.
"Make sure you stick rigidly to the time allocation you have been given."
Many firms will stop you when your time is up. One true example of this was where an individual was given 2 minutes to present. He started by introducing himself – took 2 minutes to do this and was then stopped as he was out of time. So be sensible about how much information you can impart in a short space of time and ensure you cover the salient points.
"It’s a common mistake to get lost in the introduction or the detail."
Case Study: The case study exercise can be for individuals or groups. You will usually be given some information about a business scenario and invited to examine the evidence before presenting your findings and advice. You may also be drip-fed additional information to assess and respond to throughout the allocated time.
Case studies are particularly popular in assessment centres for graduate jobs in banking, financial services, accountancy and management consulting, but they can also be part of assessments for other business sectors and industries. They are typically based on real-life business situations.
Practice tests for Case Study HERE
You may well need to perform a SWOT analysis on the company and would be well advised to understand what PESTLE analysis is, as this will help you. You may be asked whether a particular company should be bought or sold, your recommendations as to how you could help the company or what the key issues are.
"You will no doubt be provided with some financial data. Ensure you establish the key trends – are sales/profit/costs rising or falling.
Are certain products or geographies doing better than others."
Think through the 4 P’s (product, price, place & promotion) as well as how the company will grow and compete, its people and management. There is probably no right or wrong answer.
"Try and understand the company’s positioning in its marketplace – what is its competitive advantage.
Your strategy and recommendation’s must be inline with this."
Practice tests for Case Study HERE
More Information: E-BOOKLET ON DELIVERING A COMPELLING PRESENTATION
More information: E-BOOKLET ON HOW TO PERFORM WELL IN ASSESSMENT CENTRES