You have conquered many hurdles; application forms, covering letters and telephone interviews and now you’re here here: the Assessment Centre. You are ready to show that company you have been relentlessly stalking at Careers Fairs and researching since first year that you are their next valuable recruit. You’re confident you’re exuding professionalism through and through; adorned in your smartest suit and ready to show them why you deserve to be hired. You’ve done the obligatory networking over coffee and lunch- a bit awkward, but it’s yet another great opportunity to highlight your abilities.
On to the next task: the Group Activity. The part of the day you’re looking forward to the least. What can they possibly ask us to do?
• A discussion around a topic? – What if I don’t know anything about it!?
• A business task and presentation? – I’m not a natural leader or presenter!
• A role play!!? – I am a terrible actor- how embarrassing!
Maybe I’ll just keep ‘shtum’ to avoid making an idiot of myself…
No! Sitting there quietly, hoping that you can just get by saying the bare minimum or agreeing with the other candidates is setting yourself up for a fall. If you give nothing to the Group Task- whatever the task may be- you will be giving your assessor absolutely nothing positive to relay about your contribution.
Remember at an assessment centre, the ultimate aim is to make the most of what you have to offer to demonstrate that you meet their criteria in order to get to the next stage, whether that’s final interview or a job offer! Here are some top tips on how to ensure you are making positive contributions to a group task:
• Do work as a team
Whilst you might be competing against each other at the assessment day, during this task your team work and interpersonal skills will be assessed so make sure you are demonstrating the key interpersonal skills that make you a valuable asset. Remember it is not the person who shouts the loudest that gets the job- demonstrate your abilities through making logical suggestions, listening to and encouraging others and using any information provided purposefully! Have a look at our Transferable Skills Framework if you would like further information.
• Do opt for responsibility
There are a number of questions that you could bare in mind to give yourself an additional responsibility during the group task which nod towards positive leadership skills. Try thinking to yourself ‘is time being used effectively?’ or ‘is the group fulfilling to the brief?’ so that you can constructively promote efficiency and direction.
• Do use people’s names
A really useful tip when working in a group is to use people’s names, it shows that you are paying attention to people and the points they are making. Give people praise for their ideas but also don’t be afraid to be creative and build on them.
• Do adopt a persona seriously
As unnatural is it might feel, you need to make sure you take any role play activity seriously. They’re not assessing your acting ability; they will be looking for evidence of the skills required for the role and to fit in with their company. Even if you’re not asked to do a role play, adopting the most professional version of yourself is key.
• Do bear in mind the role and company
The group task is your opportunity to demonstrate exactly how effectively you use the skills required for the role and show how well you would perform for the company. Think about the brief you have been given, the research you did around the company and the skills you highlighted in your application and interview. Work out how you can naturally draw on this to enhance your ‘performance’ in the group task.