You’re at an assessment centre. It’s been a long gruelling day already, and it’s only lunch time. You’ve been up for hours, you’re wearing your smartest clothes, you arrived early to make a good impression and you’ve been concentrating hard on being at your best all morning. So far, so good. But now that it’s lunch time, you’re ready to relax. You join a couple of the other candidates you’ve been getting on with throughout the morning and take the opportunity to take a load off your mind…
“How annoying was that guy in the group activity? I hope he doesn’t get the job!”
“I know, did you see the way the assessor was looking at him? She did not look impressed! But she doesn’t really look impressed with anything…”
“I know. It’s so stressful having her breathing down our necks. I can’t wait to hit the pub straight after this. I’ve got a big night out planned at this new bar in town. I went there with my mates last week and I couldn’t move the next day, I was so hung over!”
… And then you realise the assessor is behind you and is listening to your every word.
We get it. You’re under pressure, it’s competitive and you were taking the opportunity to relax with the other candidates. But unfortunately the damage is done. No matter how well you’ve performed throughout the exercises, if you make a bad impression, there’s no coming back from that. Here are some top tips for making a good impression:
- Be friendly to everyone you meet, including reception staff, catering staff, cleaning staff, as well as your fellow candidates and assessors. The way you treat other people can say a lot about how you will fit into a team.
- Think about the impression you’re making when the attention is not on you. For example, if other members of your group are talking or presenting, try to look engaged and interested instead of slouching away in the background.
- Remember you’re being watched at all times, not just in the parts that are formally assessed. It’s ok to relax during the breaks but try to maintain a certain level of professionalism. Pick ‘safe’ topics to talk about (university, hobbies etc.) and take care not to say anything that might offend or create a bad impression.
- Use networking time to your advantage. Striking a rapport with other candidates can create useful allies in the tasks you will face throughout the day, but they may also be your future colleagues.
Need help with assessment centres? Why not come along to a Mock Assessment Centre to find out what it’s all about? Book your place on MyCareers.