Preparing for an assessment centre with a company you dream to work at and fretting over how to prepare for it? Fret not, for this guide will have you covered!
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare
Being prepared is half the battle won—yes, preparing yourself for the assessment day is possibly the most important thing you could do for yourself!
Research —find out as much information as you possibly can about the company. Apart from the company’s website, it is also a good idea to check out Glassdoor reviews about how working in the company is like. Not only does it help you know what to expect, should you be successful in your application and decide to accept the role offered, you may also be able to have a rough idea of how much do employees make and adjust your salary expectations accordingly from there!
Read the job description —a common question in interviews would be ‘why do you want this job?’ Thus, knowing the responsibilities and tasks required of you in the job would enable you to justify what attracted you to apply in the firm in the first place. In addition, you may also be able to come up with questions for the interviewer to clarify about the role!
2. Take care of yourself
Assessment centres can be physically and mentally draining. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule in the run up to the assessment day. Sufficient sleep allows you to better concentrate on the assessment day itself, while also letting you be more alert and think on your feet quicker to give the best answers possible!
Having a balanced diet is also important. On the day of the assessment centre itself, do remember to have a nutritious breakfast and try to avoid sugary stuff to prevent a sugar crash afterwards. Stay hydrated and drink up as well, but not too much till you need to make frequent trips to the washroom!
3. Be yourself
As much as you are keen to project the best image of yourself to your assessors, it is also imperative that you remain genuine in your interactions with others. Relax, and allow your personality to shine through!
Remember, it is not just prospective employers are assessing you—you are also looking to see if you can be a fit with the firm’s culture and values too.
4. First impressions count
It’s the little things you do that matter.
Bring all that you need—it wouldn’t hurt to bring some form of identification, a blazer (the air-conditioning can be really cold indoors), a bottle of water (to stay hydrated), extra copies of your resume, name cards (if you have any), as well as any other documents that you are required to bring along with you.
Be dressed for the part – wearing business attire allows you to project a professional image to others. Keep your accessories simple and to a minimum: you wouldn’t want to be remembered as the candidate who wore a pair of flashy red earrings! Wearing a watch, however, would help you manage your time better as you proceed through the different stages of the assessment centre.
Punctuality: check how to get to the location of the assessment centre out in advance, and leave home earlier to have sufficient buffer time to travel there. After all, you never know if there are any unexpected delays along the way such as an MRT breakdown, or if you get lost! Most office buildings also require you to obtain a visitor’s pass in order to enter as well. It is always best to reach earlier than the time stated on the day of the assessment centre itself.
5. Teamwork matters
A common component in assessment centres is group exercises, which are usually in the form of a hypothetical scenario presented to you.
Take charge! Not only will this show that you are a proactive individual, taking the lead will also allow you to stand out from the other candidates. You could do this by coming up with a brief overview of the solutions to tackle the scenario at hand, during the time given for the individual preparation, and then share your thoughts with your team during the discussion. However, remember not to come across as being too bossy, and allow others the opportunity to contribute as well!
Be collaborative. Encourage everyone to contribute their own views and ideas. If there’s a quiet member in the group, it doesn’t hurt to ask them for their opinions. This shows that you care about their views and see them as part of the team. If someone gives a good suggestion, do also give credit where credit is due.
6. Show your gratitude
Just like how you would send a thank-you email after an interview, do the same after the assessment centre and do so as soon as possible – preferably within 48 hours.
Apart from thanking your assessors, it also helps to send a thank-you email to everyone else whom you had the opportunity to interact with. After all, they took time out from their work to ensure that your assessment day went smoothly!
The writer is an associate currently working in finance.
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