Being yourself is the key to success at assessment centres

So, you’ve applied for your dream job, but what do you know about the process that will assess your application?

Hannah Rolfe is the Graduate Recruitment Manager at Newton Europe, an operational improvement consultancy that works with a wide range of companies such as Babcock, Bombardier and the NHS to implement transformational change. Newton are looking to engage military talent in their business and are keen to support military personnel in growing their knowledge as they transition.

Hannah has designed Newton’s assessment centre tools and was also involved in assessment centres at Rolls Royce. Here she shares some top tips and insight into how to prepare, perform and deliver when being benchmarked for a role in civilian employment.

So what is an assessment centre? It’s a method for assessing aptitude and performance applied to a group of participants by trained assessors. The process uses various aptitude diagnostic processes in order to obtain information about an applicant’s abilities or development potential. Assessment centres are used by a wide variety of organisations from manufacturing firms to local authorities to the NHS to assess senior roles.

Testing is usually done on core competencies, essential skills and core attributes. There are many ways that candidates can be tested, written analytic tests, behavioural interviews and group exercises can all be part of the process. Delivering a presentation is also a common method. “My top tip in delivering a presentation is – know your audience”, says Hannah, “I have seen a lot of candidates forget who their target audience is. Make sure your presentation is accessible. Think about the key points you want to get across, your intonation and how you are going to deliver. Look in the mirror and practise, practise, practise.”

In addition to an aptitude test, candidates may be asked to do a personality test, especially at more senior level of recruitment. These are short behavioural questionnaires which are looking to identify your preferences.

”With these questionnaires there are no right or wrong answers,” explains Hannah “So answer honestly and be prepared to discuss areas you know are not your forte. Often if personality questionnaires are used it’s to inform the interview questions and are used at a more senior level.”

Before applying for any role Hannah advises:

  • Take time to reflect on your key qualities and how they fit with the role you are applying
  • Research the process and company via Glassdoor and LinkedIn
  • First impressions count so turn up!
  • Be yourself
  • It is a two way process so ask about the role, the team, the culture and the company

Listen to the blog: How assessment centres, as part of the interview process, hold the key to unlocking jobs here