Guest blog: Succeeding in assessment centres

 In this post Laura Blackledge, Student Recruitment Officer at PwC, for the University of York, shares invaluable insight into how to succeed in assessment centres. Don’t forget that Careers will be running an Interview and Assessment Centre experience event on 7 Feb, which PwC will be attending. Book your placement using the above link.

Why do employers use assessment centres?

Employers use various tools during the recruitment process for a number of diCheck out our latest guest blogfferent reasons:

  • Measure your abilities
  • Understand your experiences and skills
  • Establish your preferred working styles
  • Identify your behavioural responses
  • Provide a job preview for yourself

We know the role and the needs of the roles we are recruiting for.

Our business’ sustainability depends on filling our roles with the most suitable and talented people.

We need to find the right fit – that is what’s best for us and the people we hire – so they can enjoy sustainable and fulfilling careers.

Assessment centres and types of assessments

There’ll probably be at least one and up to 11 other participants attending the same assessment day and you won’t all be applying to the same roles. Remember you’re not in competition with them, but judged on your own, individual merits. During a PwC Assessment Centre you will be asked to complete the following tests.

Psychometric tests

You’ll undertake numerical, logical (sometimes referred to as inductive) and verbal reasoning tests (depending on the business area you’ve applied to), so prepare yourself for these and work through the practice information sent in advance. We recommend you review your feedback report from the online assessments for additional guidance on where you might need to focus your attention.

Group exercise

A group exercise allows us to observe how people perform when working in a team. We give you a pack of information and ask you to use it as a team to come up with solutions to a range of issues. This type of exercise allows you to demonstrate communication and influencing skills, teamwork, and your ability to manage a task and deal with changing priorities.

  • Use the preparation time to get an understanding of the topic to be discussed
  • Express yourself and your ideas clearly
  • Invite others to express themselves and listen to their ideas
  • Avoid competitive behaviours; the group shares responsibility for the outcome achieved
  • Aim to meet the exercise objectives; keep track of the time available and the objectives the group has been given

Written Exercise

The written exercise is designed to assess your written communication ability. During the PwC assessment you’ll have 30 minutes to read the exercise briefing materials and prepare a written report on the given subject. This exercise is designed to assess your ability to produce written reports to an appropriate standard. Your report will be assessed on the basis of your application of structure; use of clear, concise language; and logical and coherent presentation.

Final preparations!

The assessment centre is designed to give you the chance to demonstrate your qualities and to find out as much about life at PwC as you can. Use the assessments process as a whole to get to know the employer and inform your decisions

Prepare what you’re going to wear beforehand – if in doubt, dress conservatively. All materials required such as paper and pens will be provided for you. Make sure you bring your own calculator (not on your phone!), if you forget we will provide one for you. Make sure you bring all necessary additions (e.g. reading glasses, inhaler, and prescribed medication).

  • Review any preview information you are offered thoroughly
  • Get a good night’s sleep and allow plenty of time to get to your session
  • Take a watch along so that you can manage your time
  • Listen carefully to the instructions and ask the host if anything is unclear
  • Make sure you understand the answers to any examples offered
  • Read through questions carefully (or check your understanding in an interview)
  • When you are being timed, work as quickly and accurately as you can
  • If you have time, go back and check your answer(s) at the end
  • Be yourself, at your best

PwC along with other employers will be hosting a variety of skills sessions on campus this term – keep an eye out on Careers Gateway for the latest events.

PwC’s events will include: