January 4, 2024, by pcylr7
My group activity assessment centre advice
By Lucy Rayner-Thomas, chemistry student – © Agefis via Unsplash
This year I have been applying for my industry placement and have learnt a lot about how to prepare for the processes involved in applying for placements. One of the companies I applied to, Pfizer, required me to do a group activity assessment centre as well as an interview.
The assessment centre was online and started off with us watching a series of introductory talks about the company, we also heard from students who were currently doing placements there and were told what the agenda was for the day and what we would be doing. When it was time to do the group activity, we were put into chat rooms of about five people and were told to independently read a document detailing the task. We were then told to discuss and problem-solve with our groups, our activity involved ranking a series of objects. At the end of the discussion time the whole call group were brought together, each group had a designated person speak about how the group had tackled the task and what they had concluded.
- Be methodical and make objectives at the start: After everyone introduces themselves make a quick plan as to how long people will read the task for, then agree to plan how you will spend the remaining time before discussing the task. Arguably planning is one of the most important things to do as you need to use your time efficiently. On starting the discussion decide what the overall aim is with regards to the task. This would have saved us a lot of time as would’ve made it easier to rank the objects if we knew what our ranking criteria was.
- Task allocation: On almost any group activity you will need someone to set timers/monitor time and to write down the ideas discussed. Even if you are not quick enough to offer to do these things make sure that they are being done.
- Actively be aware of how much everyone is contributing. If someone is being quiet use their name and directly ask them a question.
- Don’t be afraid to share your ideas and to disagree/challenge people’s ideas but do it in a way where you engage the group. For example, asking for other peoples opinions on what has been proposed.
- Remember the task will require you to problem-solve, so do think carefully about it. I found it very easy to focus on my team working rather than the activity itself.
- Learn as many names.
How to prepare yourself for assessment centres:
- Watch YouTube videos.
- Practice group activities/presentations with friends or family.
- Have a look at the companies values so you can show that you possess the desired attributes.
Key takeaway: Planning is essential!
If you have an assessment centre coming up and need some additional support, please visit our page on assessment centres for more information.
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