Assessment centres can be an intimidating prospect, but they’re also an essential step in the recruitment process for many large employers. If you’ve been invited to an assessment centre and don’t know how to prepare, then don’t worry! LSE Careers can help you get ready for this.
All assessment centres are different, but we also have a lot of resources to help you with what you’ll probably face. Below we’ve listed things you need to be mindful of when doing an assessment centre.
1. Know what to expect
This may seem obvious, but make sure you read all of the material you’ve been sent about the assessment centre you’re invited to thoroughly. Some companies may have different tasks or structure to others, so make sure you know what to expect.
Sites like Wikijob and The Student Room are great resources that include forums where people who have already gone through the assessment centre for a certain company will explain the process. If in doubt, you can also Google, for example, ‘EY assessment centre 2017’ for more information around the web about what may happen during the day.
2. Practice tests
Many assessment centres include a psychometric test portion to the day. You may have already completed psychometric tests to get to the assessment centre, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue practicing.
On the Careers website we have a large amount of information for different psychometric tests, including a subscription to Graduates First which offers practice tests. We also have a large number of books on psychometric tests in the Careers library on Floor 5 of the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, so come and have a look to see if any would be helpful.
3. Understand the company and their needs
Different companies will be looking for different things, so do your research on the role and where it fits within the organisation before getting there. Visit the company website, read their annual report, and keep an eye on any news or trade press to see if there’s any stories about them. Companies often have a mission statement or key principles (usually on their website) so make sure you’re familiar with these too.
Knowing about the industry is key too. Think about the organisation’s competition, and how they fit within the sector. Make the most of our Vault subscription to help you with your research – it offers up to date company profiles as well as in-depth sector guides, and don’t forget about our employment sectors page for news and more information.
4. Your appearance
Appearance isn’t everything, but an employer will probably notice if you turn up having not showered or if you haven’t ironed your clothes. You should dress for an assessment centre like you’d dress for an interview: make sure you look smart and professional, but also make sure you feel comfortable.
5. First impressions
First impressions are linked to your appearance, but there are many more things that contribute to a first impression which you should be aware of. Make sure your handshake is firm, but not aggressive, and that you present yourself as a positive and confident person.
Our recent blog on making a positive first impression goes into more detail, so have a look for more information.
6. Presentation skills
One of the things you may be asked to do in an assessment centres is a presentation. Have a look at our website for more information on how to make a presentation.
We also have a guest blog from an Accenture recruiter for insights into what they look for in a candidate’s presentation. If you have an LSE login, you can also view our recorded seminar How to master presentations for more advice.
7. Group exercises
Group exercises may seem quite daunting, and it may feel like you’re being pitted against each other to stand out to recruiters. This isn’t necessarily the case. While it’s good to stand out with strong ideas, you’ll also be assessed on your cooperation with others.
We have more information about group exercises on our website. You can also have a look at our recorded seminar on How to perform well in group exercises for more information, although you will need a valid LSE login to watch this.
8. Prepare for interview
Many assessment days include a panel interview. You can prepare for this in the same way you would prepare for any job interview, and we have lots of resources at Careers to help you. Our key resource for interviews is a practice interview appointment that you can have with one of our consultants. You can book this in advance on CareerHub.
9. Be yourself
There’s no point in going through a recruitment process trying to be somebody else. If you go against your natural behaviours then that will probably be noticed by the assessors, and won’t work in your favour.
Equally, if you get the job by pretending to be something you’re not then you might realise once you start that, actually, it’s not the job for you.
Remember that you’re assessing the job’s suitability for you as much as the recruiters will be assessing your ability for the job, so be true to your wants and needs when career hunting to find the right path for you.