Employer advice: A guide to assessment centres

Lynda Stoddart from QubeGB tells you how to stand out at an assessment centre

3 mins`

Know that you’ve got to go through an assessment centre to get a job, and not sure how to handle it? A peek behind the scenes could help.

Lynda Stoddart's the HR Business Manager for technology and support services firm QubeGB. She explains why they use assessment centres – and what they’re looking for in a candidate.

‘We use an assessment centre to recruit people for our contact centre. There are a few reasons for this – we were finding a traditional one-to-one interview wasn’t really working.

'Young people, especially school leavers, found it quite difficult. Often, candidates weren’t prepared and we didn’t get the people we need.’

What's it like?

‘An assessment centre lets us see how you interact with other people – in a way we couldn’t judge from a one-to-one interview.

'We can see how you would behave in a team. It’s not about your academic achievements or your skill set. It’s much more about your character and whether you take part in the fun.

‘It lets us see whether your personality will fit in with our diverse contact centre team. The way you act with other people is important for our team, but also for how you come across on the phone.'

Tip: Remember you're being assessed throughout the day – even when you're not doing a task. Make sure you're professional and friendly with each person you meet

The process

‘First we do a telephone interview to select candidates. Then, we invite people who get through that stage to the assessment centre.

‘There are three parts to the day – an ice-breaker session, where we ask some questions in the group, a practical test to make sure they can do some of the tasks they’ll need to do in the contact centre, and then we play Family Fortunes.

‘We get the managers involved as well – so the candidates have an opportunity to meet with people that they would be working with.’

Tip: What you do at an assessment centre will depend on the business. You can ask in advance if there are particular tasks you need to prepare for

What are you looking for?

‘We’re looking for people who are happy to interact with others. Not brash, but have the confidence to stand their ground. People who will integrate well with our team, and get on with lots of different types of people.’

Tip: Just as you would for an interview, research the employer before you go in. Understanding more about the company could help you during the day

How can I impress you?

‘Be confident and don’t be afraid to take part – be open to what happens during the day. Make sure you’re interacting with other people, and putting your own views across.’

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