Many students worry about what will happen in a job interview, but increasingly the key phase of the selection process for many UK companies is the Assessment Centre. Usually only offered to candidates who have passed the initial stages of selection, such as an online application form or a telephone interview, assessment centres are a longer event, typically lasting one or possibly more days.
Elements that tend to be included in an assessment centre are:
- Psychometric tests
- Group discussion exercises
- E-tray or in tray prioritisation exercises
- Business case studies
- In-depth interviews
Candidates are under fairly intense scrutiny and are often very aware of competing each other, which may lead to some rather unnatural behaviour. According to careers advisers, some of the phrases that indicate successful performance are: speaking up (without being unduly dominant), taking a lead, “building” on the contributions of others, keeping an eye on time, analysing facts, facilitating, awareness of the ‘big picture’. Much of this focus is on how people work together in teams so it may be worth studying something about group dynamics in business situations.
But nothing beats having a try! Many careers services are now offering practice sessions on Assessment Centres to students and the University of Cumbria is no exception. On 13th November, we plan to run two practice assessment centres in collaboration with Enterprise Rent-a-Car at our Lancaster campus (exact location to be confirmed). Priority will be offered to students from the New Business School but a large number of places will be available, so watch your student globals at the start of next session.
If you can’t wait until then, here are a couple of links to help you gen up on the subject of Assessment Centres: