So, you’ve been invited to an assessment centre? Don’t panic! This is a sign your application has caught someone’s eye for all the right reasons, so you should be proud. Now’s your chance to shine.

Here at Visionpath, we’ve run our fair share of assessment centres. Read on for our advice on how to get the best out of the day – and feel your best while doing it.

1. Plan ahead.

If your assessment centre is in person, make sure you know exactly where you need to be and how you’re going to get there on time – whether you’re catching a lift, walking, or taking public transport, always allow extra time in case anything unexpected happens. Being late not only makes a bad impression, it also makes you feel flustered and could prevent you showing your best side on the day.

"Being late not only makes a bad impression, it also makes you feel flustered and could prevent you showing your best side on the day."

If your assessment centre is virtual, make sure you have a reliable internet connection and a quiet space to participate – even if that means asking for a space at school, if you don’t have space or great internet at home. Test your camera and microphone before the day itself to check it’s working – there’s nothing worse than spending the first 10 minutes trying to fix technical issues! If you need help, ask a trusted teacher or the assessment centre organisers.

2. Do your research.

It might be a while since you filled in your application, so before your assessment centre get familiar with the company again. Who are they? What do they do? Who are their customers? Revisit the job specification of the programme or apprenticeship and make a mental note of what the job involves, as well as what skills and attributes they’re looking for. The better you understand all this, the more prepared and confident you’ll feel on the day.

3. Look after your energy levels.

It might sound basic, but make sure you sleep and eat properly before your assessment centre. But be careful not to get over excited about the free lunch and eat so much you end up in an afternoon food coma… (It happens to the best of us!) Be the master of your own energy levels to make sure you’re on top form all day.

4. Be yourself.

The point of an assessment centre is for an organiser or business to see how you work in different situations and with other people. They might be looking for hard skills (such as maths or writing), or they might just be trying to understand your attitude and personality. Rest assured there’ll be lots of different ways to engage, so you’ll have the opportunity to shine in whatever way works best for you.

"Although it might be easier said than done(!), try to forget you’re being assessed. Relax, be yourself, and enjoy the day!"

Although it might be easier said than done(!), try to forget you’re being assessed. Relax, be yourself, and enjoy the day! Try not to play up to imagined expectations by asking pre-prepared questions for the sake of it, for example – instead, it’s better to listen carefully and ask relevant questions about what you actually want to know.

5. If you’re not sure, ask.

You will have been given some information about the assessment centre, so make sure you read through everything thoroughly. But if you have a question that isn’t covered, or you don’t understand anything about the information, never be afraid to ask. 

Whether it’s what to wear; how to get somewhere; what sort of activities you’ll be doing and if there’s anything you can read or do to prepare… There’s no such thing as a silly question!

"the people organising your assessment centre really want you to succeed, and they’ll do anything they can to make sure you have a fair chance to demonstrate your best self"

The thing to remember is: the people organising your assessment centre – whether it’s Visionpath or anyone else – really want you to succeed, and they’ll do anything they can to make sure you have a fair chance to demonstrate your best self. Give them a chance to be on your team.

Got questions about a Visionpath assessment centre? We’re here to help, so get in touch.

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