Blog by Priya Karda
HR Officer at QA @qagateway
“I manage the assessment days for the QA Gateway Programme. A lot of the graduates who attend these assessment days have never experienced one before. At QA we always provide an information pack in advance to let candidates know what to expect, but here are 10 top tips that you should follow if you want to succeed at any assessment day”
Top 10 tips – how to succeed at a graduate assessment day
#1 Be on time
First impressions are important – you don’t want to be remembered as the person who was late! Plan your journey in advance and aim to be there 30 minutes before the day starts.
#2 Be yourself
Assessors want to find out what you would really be like if you got a place on the programme. Relax and be yourself, but remember to remain professional.
#3 Look the part
Even if there isn’t a stipulated dress code, you are far more likely to impress if you are dressed smartly – it shows you are taking it seriously.
#4 Research the company
As well as remembering all of the important information on your own CV, try to remember at least five key facts about the company that you are applying to. This demonstrates that you have done your research and it will impress the assessors.
#5 Prepare for aptitude tests
Many assessment days include an aptitude test. In my experience, people who score low on the aptitude test generally don’t perform as well in the other assessments. Prepare yourself by taking example tests online from third-party websites.
#6 Understand the role
Think about the role that you have applied for. What types of skills and attributes are required to do the job? Look online at job descriptions for similar positions – see what skills are being asked for.
#7 Don’t panic
Try not to let the nerves get to you. Take a glass of water into the interview with you to stop you from fidgeting. If you are required to do a presentation, make sure you know the content and try to practice what you are going to say.
Ensure that you contribute to group exercises and communicate well. You will be observed throughout the process. Think of some questions to ask the assessors in advance. This is as big a deal for you as it is for the assessors, so make sure by the end of the day you have all the information you need to make an informed decision on whether the role is right for you.
#9 It’s not always a competition
It’s likely there will be a number of roles available, so whoever demonstrates the right skills and attitude will be offered a place, not just the one best candidate. Assessors will look at how well you work as a team, as well as assessing you individually. It isn’t The Apprentice!
#10 Finally, try to enjoy it!
It will probably be challenging, but also fun. Remember, the more you put into it, the more you will get out. It’s a real learning experience. You may not see it at the time, but it will be good practice for other team exercises once you get into working life. You may find that you keep in touch with other candidates from the assessment day that could form part of your ongoing network of contacts. You may even end up working together in future. Look at the day as a great opportunity for you to gain experience and obtain new contacts.
It sounds obvious, but make sure you show enthusiasm for role and career that you have chosen. Just because you have applied and made it to the assessment centre, it doesn’t mean that assessors can read your mind and know how much you want the role. You need to be able to demonstrate that you are keen, passionate and have a real interest in your chosen role/career.
Good luck with your assessment day and I hope that these tips are helpful!