When it comes to employment opportunities, many companies are known to lean on an assessment center for hiring considerations. If you are looking to establish yourself in an industry, prove certain competencies, or even land a coveted job, assessment centers might be a part of the process. In order to take the best possible approach to show off your talents, it is best to know what you are signing up for. Every assessment center is different, but there are certain consistencies that you can prepare for so that you will outperform the competition. In this article, we will discuss the best way to ace an assessment center evaluation.
What Is An Assessment Center?
Assessment centers are professional evaluation centers that are used by certain professional groups to determine how a person excels during specific circumstances. Generally, they provide individuals and groups with certain exercises that are made to bring out certain traits or demonstrate skills within a group setting. Some businesses use these readings to determine if someone is or is not the right fit for a job or a team.
The reality is that assessment centers are not all the same. Individual centers tend to have their own exercise options, evaluation criteria, and individual focuses. Despite this, they generally all search for common behavioral and problem-solving traits that can play a role in a person’s professional success. It is important to understand that these centers are not designed with “pass” or “fail” in mind, but are merely made to help create a profile of your traits and strategies. An employer can then look at the breakdown and determine if you are a correct fit for their team.
What Should You Expect From An Assessment Center?
Many people worry about what to expect at an assessment center because they believe that it will be like an exam. Though assessment centers do test those who visit, it really isn’t that black and white. When you participate in an assessment center activity, it will often involve unique scenarios and problem-solving challenges. In truth, evaluators are less interested in what solution you come up with, but rather how you get there. They will follow along with your process to determine how you think, what is important to you, and what role you play in a setting.
A particularly common exercise involves placing people in a group to solve a problem without clearly defined roles within the group. Often times, assessment centers will use these to create a profile that properly details how a person adapts to a group and what kind of role they will play in it. It is particularly effective for identifying those who are natural leaders. Since there are no defined roles, it is natural for one or two people to take control of the situation and begin making plans. This can help to show what kind of leader a person is as well as their potential for it.
At an assessment center, you should expect to be guided through a series of exercises. In most cases, these exercises will be very open-ended. Though they might explain the exercise, you might not be given information on the designated outcome. For some people, this can be a bit unsettling. Remember that this is standard for the process and to simply do what feels right for you. This will help you to focus on the task at hand rather than the review itself.
How To Prepare For An Assessment Center
Though an assessment center might not operate on a “pass” or “fail” basis, the fact is that you will want to put your best foot forward. Your potential employer might have certain criteria that they are looking for, and if you don’t commit wholly to the process, you might not get an accurate reading. Preparing for an assessment center is a matter of focusing on your mind, your thought processes, and your professional strengths.
Write Out Your Top Five Strengths
A lot of us don’t consider our strengths because they can come quite naturally. However, knowing your personal strengths is one way to build a long and stable career. Take time to assess what makes you stand out in a professional setting. More importantly, write out the top five strengths that you want to be known for. Consider what each one of them means and how they play into your character.
By keeping these front and center, you can remember to act with more intention during the assessment. Limiting your list to five strengths allows you to focus on a core few as you perform, but also gives you a wide enough list to choose from in the event that you are looking to play to more specific strengths for a company. Knowing key strengths very well can help to keep you focused on your goals. When doing this, it is also important to be aware of your weaknesses and how they might apply so that you can boost your performance and avoid falling into bad habits.
The internet offers a wide range of professional problem-solving exercises. If you really want to excel, a little practice in advance can go a long way. Since many assessment center activities involve problem-solving, it can be best to get in the right mindset before you go. This can help you to think more clearly and perform better.
Consider Your Goals
If you are visiting an assessment center, there is probably a fairly specific reason. Whether you are looking for a new job or simply trying to get a new promotion, it is important to know where you want to excel. This will allow you to focus on what kind of traits you should be displaying. It will allow you to consider how those traits are presented and adjust as needed.
How To Conduct Yourself During An Assessment Center Visit
Depending on the assessment center that you visit, you might find a very friendly environment or a professional one. It is important to remember at all times that you are there for a reason, and the people at the site are trained to evaluate you. This means that every action matters. For this reason, you want to keep a few things in mind.
When you spend time at an assessment center, it is to be professionally evaluated. Since this is the case, you want to make sure that you are in work-mode the entire time. Though it is important to show your personality, avoid being overly casual. It will reflect poorly.
Focus On The Task At Hand
During an evaluation, particularly in group activities, it is easy to get distracted. If you are nervous, it is tempting to give yourself over to acting silly or joking. Remember, this is an evaluation, and you want to show your strengths and best traits in the short time that you have. Avoid talking too much, getting off-topic, or distracting the group. Focus on the challenge so you can shine.
At an assessment center, every action counts. As you move through the provided exercises, make sure to focus on the competencies and skills that you want to present. This will help to guide your decisions and will keep you focused on putting your best foot forward.
Acing Your Assessment Center Review
Much like test-taking, acing an assessment center is something that can be taught. Though you might not be the perfect fit for every job, you can still shine in every exercise. In order to be truly successful, you want to go into your assessment center ready to strive for success.
In a new setting, it can be easy to get distracted. However, in this setting, that can reflect poorly. Make sure that you stay focused and listen to everything that the evaluators say when someone speaks to you. It is important to retain the instructions so that you can perform to the best of your ability.
Be On Time
Nothing reflects worse during an evaluation than a lack of punctuality. You want to make sure that you arrive on time, or early, so you can walk in calmly and ready to get started. If you are early, you might even get an additional breakdown of what to expect, which can be helpful.
Try Your Best
Assessment centers are performance-based by nature. If you really want to do well and secure that new job or position, it is important to really give it your all. It is tempting to treat assessment centers like casual events, but they are not. They are a measure of your professional aptitude. Act accordingly.
Know Your Corporate Values
If you know the company that you are applying for, you should always take the time to research their corporate values. A company’s corporate values will guide them through every decision, particularly where hiring is involved. Knowing these values can help you to focus on prioritizing what is important to them, which will reflect better on you.
Prepare For Common Exercises
Though every assessment center operates differently, there are some common exercises that you can expect. Preparing for some of the more notable exercises should help you to perform more effectively. In most instances, the first exercise will always be an introductory exercise involving greetings, ice breakers, and a review of skills. Other popular exercises include managing a list of items based on priority to create an effective schedule, preparing an impromptu presentation on a topic you are provided information for, or role-playing certain workplace instances like a hiring situation, a problem with an under performing employee, or other problem-solving scenarios.
Many people find assessment centers a little intimidating, but it is important to remember that they are designed to assess you as a person. Before you visit an assessment center for review, take the time to consider your professional strengths and what parts of your personality play a large role in a business setting. Knowing where you stand and what you have to offer can help you to feel more confident in your actions, which will reflect positively during your assessment. Be sure to show your best work and commit fully to each exercise. In the end, it will pay off!