As with many things this year, graduate recruitment has largely transitioned to taking place online. This includes assessment centres so in this blog we’ll look at some tips on how to tackle a virtual assessment centre.
Firstly, if you’ve not come across them before, an assessment centre is a way to assess job applicants through a series of tasks. It would normally take place in person, usually at the recruiting company’s office and would consist of a day of individual and group exercises. Check back on some of our previous posts to get a taste of the types of exercises you might encounter at an assessment centre
If you’ve been invited to an assessment centre and it is online, don’t be lulled into thinking that you don’t have to prepare for it as much as you would if it was in person. Below are some tips that are particularly relevant for online assessment centres.
First impressions still count!
Find a space that is fairly neutral and tidy. With the advent of Zoom, it’s all too easy to be distracted by someone’s background especially if it’s cluttered or messy. Ensure also that the room you are in, is well lit and try to minimise background noise. First impressions still count and your background can have an impact on that.
Speak to your housemates
If you’re at home and you’re not going to be alone at the time of the assessment centre then speak to your housemates and let them know, perhaps put a sign on the door to remind them to keep the noise down. Make sure they know you’ll need a stable WIFI connection so that they don’t hog the bandwidth by streaming a film or downloading a game in the middle of your assessment centre. Similarly if you’re going to be at home with the dog or any other pets, make sure they are fed and any other needs are met to minimise distractions. Having said that, if the cat does walk across your desk, don’t fret. We’ve all had to learn to cope with the muddied distinction between home life and professional life during the last few months and your assessors should understand.
Check your tech
The company will send you a schedule of what to expect on the day. This should include details of any software that you need to install. Before the assessment centre, run through the basics to ensure all of your equipment is working. This includes checking:-
- Camera and microphone are working
- Internet connection is good
- Laptop or whatever device you are using is fully charged
If a technical issue arises, stay calm. These things happen! Have the recruiter’s phone number to hand in case you can’t log in or you lose connection.
Don’t forget about you
Even though you won’t be leaving the house to attend your assessment day, you still need to think about how you will come across.
- Dress professionally. You are meeting a potential employer and it is important to look smart and in turn this will help you get in the mindset ready for the day ahead.
- Look into the camera to simulate eye contact. I read somewhere about a person who put two googly eyes above the camera on their laptop to remind them to look into the camera.
- Turn off notifications on your phone. In fact, don’t have your phone in the room, it will be too distracting.
- It’s fine to have a couple of key points you want to mention on a post-it note beside your computer but don’t have a script! It will be noticeable and will make you less engaging
- Have everything you need within easy reach for example a drink of water, a tissue, a notepad and pen.
So, good luck with your assessment centre! Remember to Sit down at your computer well before the start time, check you are comfortable, have everything you need and ensure you are logged in and ready.