Assessment centres can be scary. The thought of visiting a place you’ve never been before, meeting with a bunch of strangers and having to complete a number of exercises and tests can be nerve-racking. But how rational is this fear? Can you get over it and succeed at the assessment centre?
It’s important to understand what makes you afraid of assessment centres so that you learn how to deal with them. So, here are some possible causes and suggestions on how to overcome your fears:
#1 You Don’t Know What to Expect
The most terrifying thing about assessment centres is that you don’t know what to expect. Well, you may have a vague idea – provided that you have been to an assessment centre before, but you never know what is actually going to happen. Since each assessment centre is different, they involve a variety of activities or tests that you are not familiar with.
If you want to get an idea of what the day will involve, don’t be afraid to ask for more information. While there are only certain tips employers can provide, some of them are kind enough to send you practice material. To give you a heads up, activities during an assessment centre may vary according to the position, but usually these include:
- In-tray exercises: carrying out administrative tasks, time exercises.
- Short interview: a ‘second’ interview that tests job-specific skills.
- Role playing: exercises where you practice for the role you are applying for.
- Group tasks: group activities that prove your leadership, team work, creativity, motivation (e.g. presentation).
- Case study: a scenario related to the role you are applying for.
- Psychometric tests: verbal/numerical reasoning and personality tests.
#2 You Don’t Know Who You Are Competing With
The difference between a typical job interview and an assessment centre is that in the first scenario it’s only you and the interviewers. In an assessment centre, it’s you, the interviewers, and what could be a hundred other job candidates competing for the same position. While this may be intimidating, it shouldn’t scare you.
Don’t forget that the purpose of an assessment centre is to give employers the opportunity to evaluate you in ways the standard job interview can’t. To find out if you are a good fit or not, they will want to know how you work individually and within a team. So show them how you stand out from other contestants – but without minimising them. Be proactive, friendly and take more initiative to show your willingness to work.
#3 You Don’t Want to Give Too Much Away
At assessment centres, employers expect that you are going to be yourself. So, what they want is for you to relax, forget that you are under the microscope and reveal your true self. This, however, may encourage you to make mistakes such as saying or doing something that you will regret.
It’s only natural that you are going to be worried about this, but try not to take the whole thing too seriously. Employers are right; you do need to be relaxed to make a good impression at assessment centres, but you don’t want to treat the assessment day like a casual meeting with friends at the coffee shop. What this means is you need to be aware of what you are doing but at the same time remain your cool without giving too much away.
See Also: How to Succeed in a Group Interview
Assessment centres may be frightening, but in reality they are only as bad as you make them. So don’t let these fears control you and try to manage your nerves as much as possible. Instead of seeing assessment centres as a ‘now or never’ kind of thing, consider them an opportunity to meet interesting people, to learn something new and to simply have fun.
Have you ever been to an assessment centre? What was it like? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!