We know that upcoming Assessment Centres can be daunting for some, especially those of you who have never attended one before! We want to assure you that there is nothing here to catch you out and we have provided you with some extra hints and tips to ensure you get the best out of your Assessment Centre experience.
The group exercises are a crucial part of the assessment centre and help us to assess how well you perform in a team environment. Here, we use the tasks to look at your planning, communication, leadership, team-working, problem-solving and time-management skills.
Try to use lots of engaging and open body language and eye contact. Stand tall with your head high and a balanced posture – that means no slouching or folding your arms! Crossed arms can work as an invisible barrier that makes people perceive you as being closed off – or not part of the group, which is definitely not the impression you want to give off.
Another useful tip is to make lots of eye contact with the other group members. When being spoken to, look people directly in the eye in order to let them know you are listening. If you find eye contact particularly awkward, you can try this small tip… Draw an imaginary inverted triangle on the person’s face around their eyes and mouth. During the conversation, switch your gaze from on point to another every 5 -10 seconds. This can really help to make eye contact feel natural and will also make the other party feel like you are really engaging with them. Another useful tip is to use people’s names when speaking with them – this is another way to be direct and immediately attract the person’s attention. This is particularly useful when speaking in large groups.
One of the most important things to remember is not to rush! Your group needs to take the time to process the task and discuss the solution so speeding through the task at 100mph might throw your team members off and could reduce the chances of coming to a mutual conclusion.
It’s also important not to waste too much time, so an equal balance is important. Try to keep track of how much time is passing and try to measure how much progress your team has made. How far are you from reaching a conclusion? Does your team have enough time? If you notice any other members taking too long (or rushing through too quickly!), then don’t hesitate to give them a gentle reminder of how much time you have left.
Make sure you look to involve the quieter members of the group – if you see a member of the group not contributing or you see that their body language is particularly closed off, try to give them a little push to get them involved. Why not ask them for their opinion to get the ball rolling? They might just need a nudge to build their confidence up! Try your hardest to engage with the other members of the group. Including others in the group discussions will show the assessors that you are considerate of the other members in your team! The point is to work with the group, not against it.
Be sure to speak clearly and assertively, explaining your reasoning concisely to avoid conflict. If the other members still disagree, why not try to reach a compromise or a group consensus? In these situations, it is always important to carefully consider all suggestions from all others participants – everybody’s opinion counts!
It sounds like a no-brainer, but this is something we’ve seen plenty of times! It’s very easy to forget that you are in a professional environment in these situations and it’s not uncommon for there to be disagreements in a group task. Just be mindful during these disagreements not to use aggressive body language or hand gestures – for some people this can make them perform less confidently. Another thing to remember is your tone of voice. Even if another member of the group is displaying confrontational behaviour, it is in your best interest to keep calm, reserved and professional to show the assessors that you can deal with these types of behaviours in the workplace.
Another thing to avoid is overuse of jargon – you don’t want to use too many technical phrases that others might not understand – this will just slow the process down and reduce the chance of completing the task on time. Keep it clean, simple and professional!
The most important tip of them all is to have fun! Our Discovery Days are here to provide you with essential assessment centre experiences. No matter how well (or not) you perform on the day, we always provide feedback to help you improve. So, no matter what happens, you can use our feedback to help you to reflect and develop, ready for the next assessment centre! Enjoy the group tasks, enjoy the experience and enjoy networking with the other candidates… the experience is invaluable!
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