1. Arrive really early
If you are one of the first few people waiting, the assessors will most likely be walking back and forth past you in the lobby and might recognise you later. Also, you’ve got a chance to chat to the other applicants around, making it way easier for you to remember names, which will impress the assessors. If you’re able to be the first friendly face to another nervous applicant, they’ll be likely to turn to you for confirmation and support during the group activities, making you seem like a natural leader to the assessors.
2. Make sure you remember names
Remember names - this one goes a long way. It’s really awkward to stop in the middle of talking and say “sorry, what was your name?” and the assessor will definitely notice. Remembering someone’s name is a great way of demonstrating that you’ve been actively listening and are engaged with the matter at hand.
3. Address the quietest person in the group by their name
Pay attention to the group dynamic. If there's one person who can’t get a word in sideways and you’ve noticed, chances are, so has the assessor. Call them out by name and ask them what they think about the problem or the idea. “Hey John, what do you think about implementing this?” It not only shows that you’re a team player, it shows that you’re observant, kind, and inclusive of others.
4. Look like you’re listening
Even if you really are listening, if you keep really still and look down at your paper, there's no way for the assessor to know that you’re actually engaged. You want to make eye contact with the others in your group, nod when they’re speaking, and say “Yes! that’s a really good point, I think we can expand on it by…”.
Another great tactic to demonstrate listening skills is referring back to what others said previously. For example, “I think we could really boost profits like this, and this strategy also ties in with the previous idea about cost-saving”.
5. Sell your experience in every interaction
When you answer questions, make sure you’re always relating your answer to the company and what they do. For example, if you are applying for a banking role, even if someone asks you what kind of sandwich you are, you should answer, “I want to be XYZ sandwich because there is lots of demand for this sandwich and I want to be a high price since there is less supply”, hence demonstrating your knowledge of economics. Every question is an opportunity to say something about yourself. Don’t waste it even if the question sounds silly.
6. Don’t be afraid to challenge a dumb idea
Most of the time, no one in the Assessment Centre has a clue about what the answer to a case study or group task is. If you hear something that is clearly wrong, the assessor probably noticed it too. Don’t just nod and accept a terrible idea. While the AC is designed to test how well you work with others, it’s also a test of how well you challenge ideas when appropriate and deal with conflict.
For example, if someone proposes a solution that clearly will not work, you should gently say “Hey John, great ideas about *ABC* that would be great in a situation like *EFG*, however I don’t think that will work because of *XYZ*, what do you all think?”. If you explain your thoughts and ask for contributions from others, you’ll impress the assessors with your quick thinking, tact and leadership.
7. Talk to others during waiting periods
Yes, while it might seem daunting to be talking to ‘the competition’, it looks really bad if you’re quiet and standing awkwardly in the corner. This is also a great way for you to assess the competition. Treat the people around you like real peers, after all, there's a very real chance a few of them could become your colleagues in the future.
8. Ask specific questions
Interviewers are sick of hearing the same old “What do you look for in an ideal candidate”. Remember, every interaction is an opportunity to sell yourself. Ask them about the industry to show that you’ve researched the company and know about the career you’re about to have. “In this industry, I know that there are some emerging challenges with navigating the digital landscape, how has that affected this company?”
You can also demonstrate your active interest in them, and the company by asking “I’m interested to know what you think sets this company apart from its competitors in this industry?”
9. Relax, stand up straight and be confident
Assessment Centres can be long and filled with anxious students all vying for that prestigious position. If you’re able to smile and appear relaxed, assessors are going to think that you're a calm, confident person. Slow down your talking speed, make sure you’re not fiddling with random bits of paper and tell yourself that it’s only one day in a very, very long career you’re about to have.
10. Show some initiative and follow up
This is optional but after a few days, it’s a good idea to add your interviewer on Linkedin and send them a warm message. Even though this won’t add too much, it shows that you’ve paid attention to who they are, and that you’re going to be able to be a warm, friendly person to be around. All you have to say is “Hi Name, I just wanted to reach out and thank you for your time at the company assessment centre. I really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot about the company.”
For more information and insights into assessment centres, check out our blog
to hear from people who have gone through them and been successful in getting offers! Once you’ve received an offer, don’t forget to get your super ready before you start work. Student Super
has fees discounts for balances under $5,000 and is fee free for balances under $1,000.