Assessment days are events that are designed to help employers find the very best candidates for their job vacancy.
They are usually a latter – or in fact the only – stage of the selection process and combine a number of eclectic activities and tasks in order to assess candidates.
Assessment days are useful as they allow candidates to demonstrate more skills than if they were simply tasked with a traditional face-to-face interview.
Often, the candidates will have already “passed” a traditional face-to-face interview or telephone interview this is an opportunity to prove the great things they’ve said about themselves!
How Long Are They?
Assessment days can vary in length, though they usually cover one afternoon or a couple of days (usually only for very competitive roles at sought-after companies).
Very occasionally you might be asked to do an overnight stay at a nearby or attached hotel – but this is rare.
Where Will You Have To Go?
Assessment days could be hosted at a specific assessment center (opened specifically for this purpose), at the employer’s office or a completely random event space!
What Should You Expect From An Assessment Day?
You will join a group of competing job candidates and take part in a variety of activities, for example:
- Psychometric tests.
- Group tasks.
- Interviews (panel and individual).
- And anything else they might feel like throwing at you!
These tasks are all designed to give the potential employer as comprehensive a picture of you as they can possibly get.
This would clearly give them a lot more detail than they would get from just a traditional interview.
The tests and activities you encounter on an assessment day are designed to test numerous facets of your personality, interpersonal skills, job skills, and adaptability.
Days can, of course, vary from employer to employer, but will usually start with an introduction and icebreaker segment for the candidates, followed by psychometric tests, group exercises, interviews, individual presentations, and evaluations.
That may sound a little intimidating, but once you get into it, these days can actually be quite entertaining!
What Skills Will Be Assessed?
As aforementioned, assessment days are designed to assess a wide range of skills, your knowledge and your personality.
Employers will often be looking for generic skills like…
- Critical thinking skills.
- Commercial awareness.
…as well as essential and desirable skills directly related to the job vacancy.
Your assessment day performance will often be compared and scored against competency frameworks, which will help the employers to analyze your results.
When the assessment day is complete, there will usually be a closing section to the day and your assessors will usually inform you about when you can expect your results and hear whether you have got the job or not.
How To Prepare For Assessment Days.
You should treat assessment days like supercharged interviews and make sure you are mega-prepared with the usuals:
- Research about the company and their competitors.
- Information about your relevant past experiences.
- Any training you’ve taken part in and knowledge you’ve accrued.
- What they are looking for from you (read the job spec thoroughly)
- Answers to interview questions (especially if there’s an interview on the day).
And certainly get a lot of sleep the night before because assessment days can be really intense – especially if you’re tired and grouchy!
You may also have to be prepared for psychometric tests.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask.
Before you attend the assessment day, ensure that you understand everything that is asked of you in the preparation material, calling the recruitment team if you need any questions to be answered.
It is always better to ask questions and be prepared rather than “winging it” and making assumptions.
If you receive any practice material, be sure to complete it thoroughly and to the best of your ability.
Plus, if you’ve already been to a job interview with the company, have a real think about that and try to work out what they liked about you (and disliked if relevant).
You can then practice and prepare yourself based on that information.
Consider how you can show off all your strengths and improving on your weaknesses from the interview.
And remember, practice makes perfect.
Throughout your assessment day, ensure that you remain assertive and prominent, especially in group exercises.
It’s ok to stand your ground – in a non-aggressive way.
If you make any mistakes or give any incorrect answers, be sure to take it on the chin. It’s best to show a proactive attitude towards the tasks.
I know “be confident” is easier said than done! So if you’d like some tips on calming your nerves, or just making yourself look more confident – check out this blog.
But Don’t Be Rude.
Although you’ll be surrounded by your rivals on an assessment day, it is important to remain polite and congenial throughout the process, as being rude or dismissive to your competitors will reflect badly on you.
You should assume that interviewers will be assessing your teamwork throughout the process.
Try not to come across too bossy or argumentative. They’ll want leaders, but leaders who work well with and who can gain respect from others.
In fact, you shouldn’t concern yourself too much with what the other candidates are doing; try to remain focused on yourself.
Show Your Thought Processes.
If possible, make your working methods clearly visible to the assessors, as it allows them to understand your way of thinking and assess your cognitive reasoning skills more thoroughly.
Ensure that you complete all the tasks at hand thoroughly, even if you are not too sure about how to answer a question.
Try your best to shine!
Assessment days can be really intense.
It takes a lot to focus and put your best self forward for a long time. It’s often intimidating to be competing with your peers.
But as long as you prepare yourself fully and try to be confident when you walk into the room, you should be absolutely fine.
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Good luck with your assessment day!