TOP TIPs to Conquer Assessment Days
Planning and Preparation:
- Conduct a LinkedIn search about the people in the company whose Assessment Day you will be attending. These should include people who are doing the job you applied for, or those who have done the job in the past. Try connecting with them and even asking their advice about how to prepare for the day. Most employers are keen to hire candidates who are proactive and results-driven, so rest assured that if the relevant Hiring Manager is not made aware that you have gone the extra mile to prepare, at least you will feel more confident
- Assessment Days usually start with an introduction, both to the corporation and to the group. So it’s a good idea to prepare what you will say about yourself. Keep it genuine and concise, but not too salesly. You need to create an impact to be remembered.
- Be prepared to answer some of the traditional interview questions, like: Why do you think you are the best applicant for this job? Remember to talk only about yourself and no one else. Avoid the use of clichés and be specific.
- Regarding individual presentations, there is always a rule of thumb: the more senior the job they are assessing you for, the higher the chances that you will be given a presentation to prepare. So remember: facts tell, stories sell. With this in mind, be memorable and bring your presentation to life by using images instead of text, or combine both. Use slides where text is required, but always remember the 6/6 rule: (No more than six words per bullet point and no more than 6 bullet points per slide).
- Be sure to stick to the time limit, as running over could ruin your chances, especially if the assessor has back-to-back presentations to sit through. Know your content and keep it tight by deciding in advance which slides you can skip if you are short on time.
- Last but not least, do your research on the company’s website and social channels to mirror their corporate language. You’ll be amazed how well this works!
How to Listen
From our professional perspective we recommend that you listen twice as much as you speak. During an Assessment Day you want to be regarded as thoughtful and inclusive and definitely not loud, too outspoken or bossy. For instance, small details like re-reading the instructions or repeating the instructions to the group will show sensible leadership traits that hiring managers are normally keen on. Try to avoid the irresistible temptation to interrupt or make silly comments about others. If you do feel the urge to challenge someone, which is a clear illustration of strength of character, use charismatic sentences like “playing devil’s advocate for a moment,” or “let’s look at this from a different angle for a second.”
The Golden Rule
And this next tip is the golden rule: Never be the scribe. It will kill your chances! Standing at the flip chart won’t give you a chance to shine. Leave that role to someone else. It’s better to provide solutions to problems, or at least ideas.
Assessment Days are normally designed to test your resolution skills and evaluate how you really perform under pressure and/or when information is incomplete. When these situations occur, it’s important that you are in “solution-provider mode” and able to make assumptions about the incomplete information in order to illustrate the reason you are recommending that specific course of action.
The follow up
Then there’s the follow up stage. Get on LinkedIn as soon as possible after you have finished the Assessment Day, and connect to the assessors who took part. As mentioned before, this shows that you are proactive and motivated. Hiring managers are always looking for candidates with these two traits. And in case the decision about you is a close one, this simple follow up could tip the balance in your favor.