Stand out from the crowd: Group Assessment Tips
So, you've made it through the first stages of your graduate application process. The only thing standing between you and that graduate job is the ever-feared assessment day.
Assessment days can seem daunting because of the added element of competition; it's you vs everyone else and you've got to prove you're the right candidate.
Group exercises are always popular with employers. This is because it's an easy way for them to assess how you work in a team. During the previous stages of your application, we're sure you've boasted about how much of a team player you are, but this is the time to really prove yourself.
Most recruiters will let you know what key competencies they'll be assessing before the day, but we've got a few common skills that most companies will be keeping their eye out for...
When working in a group, it's important to make sure your voice is heard. If you have a good idea, say it ! Express your opinions and thoughts but don't over do it; there's a thin life between confidence and arrogance.
Keep in mind that non-verbal communication is just as important as what you say. Be self-aware, try and sit up straight and avoid crossing your arms or looking too closed off.
So, you've shared your views and opinions. Now it's time to listen up. Make sure you're fully focused and listen carefully to the contributions others in your team make. You could even show off your skills further by taking these contributions and elaborating on them.
Working under pressure
As if you didn't need any more on your plate, most assessment days will have the added pressure of time. You're racing against the clock. In many jobs, you're expected to work under time pressure, so you need to be able to prioritise and organise your time effectively.
Ensure the most important things are dealt with first and everything else should follow. The most important thing to remember is to finish within the time limit that you've been set.
Leadership & Influencing
It's worth noting that although marks are awarded for team working skills, other marks are also awarded for how you come across as an individual and your personal contributions to the team.
Make a genuine contribution to the team - make sure you make your point as convincingly as you can. This tends to happen naturally if you genuinely believe in what you're saying. Also, think on your feet when presented with an issue. It's important to tactfully deal with weak ideas, but not to be dismissive. How you come across as a team member and how other people respond to you is very important.
Your assessment task will no doubt involve some element of problem solving. You'll be presented with a scenario in which you'll have to think quickly and carefully to reach a solution. Take your time to think logically, and definitely ask questions if there's something you don't understand. It's better to make sure you understand the facts before diving straight into the exercise.
Keep in mind that the whole purpose of the exercise is to show off how you work with others in a team. Remember to listen to others and if you're arguing your point, don't be too overpowering. Don't cut people off mid-sentence; instead, wait your turn.
Be polite. Always acknowledge other people's inputs; sentences such as "I see your point" and "I know where you're coming from" are useful. Don't forget that when working in a team, you're all after one desired end goal, so ensure that you look out for everyone else as well as yourself.
Give it your best shot!
Remember, you're only assessed on what the recruiters see on that day so try to make sure your nerves don't get the best of you.