February 3, 2022, by Leah Sharpe
My Top Tips for Virtual Assessment Centres
By Janvi Patel, second year economics student
Reaching the assessment centre stage of the application process is an incredible achievement. The assessment centre is usually the final hurdle to land an internship or graduate role.
Here are my top tips for preparing for an assessment centre from my experience:
Tip one: Bullet point ideas for the following questions
– Why the internship/graduate job?
– Why this firm?
– Why this industry?
The purpose of preparing these questions is to drive you to research deeper into the firm and see how you align with the firm’s values and culture. You may have already thought about these questions before whilst doing video interviews or writing cover letters. This will refresh your understanding of the firm and the role.
Tip two: Interview preparation
Preparation will give you confidence and the interview will feel less nerve-wracking. Find out whether the interview is strength-based or a competency-based interview. Answer common interview questions for the interview type with a couple of bullet points. A useful format to organise your answer for competency interviews is the STAR method (situation, task, action, and result).
Finally, relate your competencies or strengths with the firm’s values. For example, your excellent teamwork skills and the firm’s value of collaboration. It is unnecessary to memorise your answers and if anything, your answers will look rehearsed. This preparation for the interview will help you combine your experiences and the firm’s values with interview questions.
Since it is a virtual assessment centre, practice your interview with friends or family over a video call. I also recommend doing a mock interview with the Careers and Employability Service if they have slots available. The Careers team can help you with knowing what the recruiters are looking for.
Tip three: Group task preparation
If you have previously taken part in a group project such as group coursework or a committee member of a society, you have already prepared. You could also attend a mock assessment centre through the Careers team. This is the closest representation of a group task in an assessment centre. I found the experience and feedback extremely helpful.
On the day, make sure you actively listen to other people’s ideas, contribute but do not be overbearing and be polite and considerate. Overall, the main thing you want to show is that you are a good team player!
Tip four: Practise other aspects of the assessment centre
If you can, practise other aspects such as case studies, psychometric tests or even video interviews. Attend assessment centre online information meetings held by the firm, they will tell you what they are looking for. In my assessment centre, I couldn’t prepare for some online challenges, but I kept in mind what they were looking for.
Tip five: Prepare your technology and yourself
One or two days before:
– Decide where you are going to do your virtual assessment centre – check if the lighting is good and your background is suitable
– Have your outfit ready
– Ensure your Wi-Fi connection is strong and have a plan if your Wi-Fi does not work on the day
On the day:
– Stay hydrated
– Have a final read through your earlier preparation
– You will feel nervous but make sure you enjoy the day – from my experience, if the firm is right for you, you feel comfortable.
All your preparation will make you feel confident and hopefully you will enjoy and successfully pass your assessment centre!
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