In this section
Assessment Centre Top Hints and Tips
KNOW WHAT IS REQUIRED - The day will have been designed around the requirements of the job. So if you are able to get a copy of the formal job specification this will help as it will detail the ‘core competencies’ or qualities/values/skills and experience required to succeed in the role.
BE YOURSELF - Once you know the required competencies you can adapt your gameplay accordingly BUT it is imperative that you be yourself!
PLAN - Ensure that you are planned – Do you know where the Assessment Centre is taking place, the time of start, the duration, the dress code, etc. Do you have to prepare anything beforehand?
FORMAT - Ask for the format of the day, who will be assessing, what are the expectations, what qualities are they looking for?
DRESS TO IMPRESS - Dress for an assessment centre like you would for a final interview
RESEARCH - Research the company in the same way that you would do for any other interview – see day 6 of sales ‘Career Success Masterclass’. Being well researched and planned will give you confidence.
ASK QUESTIONS - Don’t forget that an Assessment Centres is a great opportunity for you to get to know the company and hiring managers in greater depth. Ask lots of questions and build rapport.
DETAIL IS EVERYTHING - Pay attention to the detail. Often, particularly in group exercises, there will be a couple of ‘Red Herrings’ thrown in. Read every instruction. If you feel it is somewhat vague or misleading then read it upside down! This for some reason helps your brain to really focus in and concentrate on the task in hand. Try it!
UNDERSTANDING THE INSTRUCTIONS WILL NOT BE PART OF THE TESTS - Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Being able to understand the instruction is not the part of the test. Often tasks are designed to be open to more than one interpretation to get delegates engaged and involved. Ask, ask and ask again until you are confident that you understand all instructions.
BIDE YOUR TIME - In sales based Assessment Centres the first half hour is typically a lot of bravado whilst everyone ‘sounds each other out’. Don’t worry if you’re not the centre of attention, the mouthpiece or the ‘stand out’ candidate at this stage. Good Assessment Centres are designed to score against the required competencies throughout the duration of the day. In my experience the candidates that come across as the initial ‘front runners’ normally falter as the centre progresses. It is normally those that are composed, self assured and consistent that succeed. Remember that the assessors and facilitators are looking for those that demonstrate the best match to the required competencies, the right personality for their cultural fit and how committed to each task you are.
RELAX AND ENJOY - Don’t become despondent if you do not feel that you are shining in the first hour, just relax – your chance to shine will come as the day progresses.
DON’T TAKE OVER - In group tasks don’t take over. Unless specified the ability to ‘lead‘ is rarely the prerequisite competency so don’t feel that you have to volunteer to be the ‘leader’ at every opportunity. Normally the facilitator will ensure that at some point during the centre every delegate will have the opportunity to lead and/or take centre stage.
BE A TEAM PLAYER - Get everyone in the team involved, ask for others opinions but at the same time if you feel strongly about a point then you must stand your ground. A very commonly required competency is the ability to be a ‘team player’ yet to be ‘forthright in your own views’.
GET ON WITH EVERYONE - Get on with all of your fellow delegates. This will show you in your best light and you will enjoy the session more.
DON’T SCORE POINTS - Don’t ever belittle someone else in front of other delegates or the assessors (no matter how tempting it may be!)
LUNCH IS PART OF THE ASSESSMENT - Remember that breaks and lunch are also part of the Assessment Process so be aware of manners, swearing, inappropriate topics of discussion and inappropriate behaviour! (this isn’t the forum but I could tell you some absolute horror stories!)
WHAT IS THE POINT? - In Group Exercises don’t necessarily go with the obvious. Think it through. Group exercises are typically designed to be ambiguous to get the delegates engaged and involved.
DELEGATE TASKS – DON’T TRY AND DO IT ALL - One of the best ways to ‘lead’ in a group exercise is to split the group up to work on separate tasks. Group exercises are designed to have four hours work to complete in half an hour – here, delegation is the key.
BE OPEN TO OTHER’S IDEAS - Be open to all suggestions from fellow delegates – don’t completely dismiss any suggestions, they just might have seen through the ‘Red Herring.’
DON’T OVERLY COMPETE - Don’t feel that you have to compete with the other delegates. In an Assessment Centre there are invariably several vacancies and the fellow delegates may one day be your close work colleagues!
MAKE CONNECTIONS - Engage with every assessor, facilitator and employer representative as they will be the ones that score you at the end of the session, As unbiased as Assessment Centres are meant to be you’ll always score an extra few percent if you’ve managed to connect with them.
NETWORK - Even if you’re not successful at your first Assessment Centre it will give you an invaluable insight for the future. In addition, don’t disregard the session as an opportunity to network. As a delegate I once gained a very valuable future client from an Assessment Centre, we kept in contact after the session and he was able to get me ‘an in’ with his new business. Also, you’ll hear about other interviews and job opportunities from the other delegates.
LET THE REAL ‘YOU’ SHINE - Assessment Centres shouldn’t be daunting or scary! They should be highly enjoyable and you may even learn a little something about yourself. Relax, enjoy and the ‘real you will shine through.’
BE POSITIVE - Above all, be yourself, be confident and remain positive and focused throughout the day.
A well designed Assessment Centre should be enjoyable for all. Assessment Centres, especially virtual are becoming more and more common. So being involved in one, even if you are not successful, will help hold you in good stead for the future.
Remember they should not be daunting. Do your research, ensure that you arrive in good time and that you are planned and prepared. Build rapport with everyone that you meet. Relax, do your best, remain focused, remain positive and you’ll be fine.
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by Darren Dewrance
About the author
Darren spent six years in sales and field sales before joining the original sales recruitment specialist, Austin Benn, in 1998. After achieving the status of top consultant, out of about seventy at the time, Darren rose from Senior Consultant to Operations Manager of the commercial sector before leaving to join a London based Headhunter in 2003 before setting up Aaron Wallis with Rob in October 2007.
With a natural leadership style, Darren is an expert on putting his finger right on the heart of the problem. His natural commercial instincts have helped hundreds of employers make better recruitment decisions. Darren is married with two children, and when not at work or with his family, he likes nothing more than to be on the side of a river or a lake with a rod in his hand.
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Since joining DSGi, Rob has been a supplier of permanent staff and has performed to an extremely high standard, successfully filling 98% of roles he has worked on. If anyone is looking for a good sales and marketing based consultancy with an informal yet professional approach, I would recommend Rob.
Senior Recruitment Consultant, DSG International
I found Aaron Wallis to be very professional and efficient, taking time to understand the role and the type of candidate we were looking for. The candidates they put forward met our criteria and were of a high standard. The service they provided was exemplary and I would have no hesitation in recommending them, and will certainly consider using them again in the future.
HR Assistant, Fischer Connectors Ltd
Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.
Managing Director, JARK Healthcare Recruitment
I just wanted to thank you for your help with our recruitment process which went very smoothly and has – we hope – found us just the person for the job!
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Understood the type of person we were looking for and good follow ups - not too frequent.
Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd
In an industry where people over promise and under deliver, Rob and his teams have consistently provided a high-quality service. It is great to deal with someone that has an excellent understanding of UK industry, and a passion for sales.
Sales Manager, TR Fasteners
Giles is highly professional and was a pleasure to work with. He achieves excellent results through his personable skills and tenacity. I have no hesitation in recommending Giles to anyone who considers employing his services.
Commercial Director, G4S Government & Outsourcing Solutions
Rob’s knowledge of the recruitment industry and his thoughts and how to make it better for his clients have always been eye opening. I would recommend Rob to anybody who is looking for a professional, knowledgeable and flexible recruitment specialist.
CEO, Friday Ad Online Services
Thanks for all your help during the recruitment process. I have been extremely impressed with Aaron Wallis especially when compared to other agencies we have dealt with. I really felt you grasped the type of person we required and found strong candidates.
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We appointed Aaron Wallis in February and the successful candidate, out of the six which Aaron Wallis introduced, was able to join Alphametrics before the end of April. The whole process took less than three months. I would recommend Aaron Wallis' services to others without hesitation.
Chief Financial Officer, Alphametrics
Rob is a true recruitment professional that goes the extra mile that I have never experienced from any other recruitment agency before. If you need sales people call Rob or someone in his team, as they really are experts in sales recruitment.
Sales Director, Inside Business
Giles Phillips is a rare find in the minefield of sales recruitment; an honest and thoughtful recruiter who considers the needs of both the client AND the candidate to create perfect role matches. I look forward to working with him again in the future.
Marketing Director, City of London Police
I really liked the YouTube presentations which made the service seem both simple and accessible. The company came to see me, and my management team, at short notice to present their service and I liked the support and advice that I received about maximising the results from the applicant.
Managing Director, Leisuresec plc
I have used Aaron Wallis to fill a number of our Sales Development Manager roles and I have found them to provide a very professional service. I will use their services again in future recruitment campaigns.
HR Business Partner, Greene King
We were impressed not only by the quality of candidates you found for us but also the level of information, preparation and qualification you put into the process. You continually kept us informed of each person’s feelings about the process, which is very important but often overlooked. I am looking forward to working with your company again in the future.
Commercial Director, Incentive Facilities Management
I have always found Rob to be very knowledgeable about our industry sector, and it is refreshing to see after all of these years that Rob continues to quickly and accurately understand my requirements.
HR and General Manager, THK
Our candidates say...
Aaron Wallis helped me secure a position I really wanted. Giles sought to keep me updated with all the details preceding interviews and after with feedback. I would highly recommend Giles and Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.
L. Taylor, Candidate
I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!
D. Burgess, Candidate
Less than two weeks after joining Aaron Wallis I was offered my new job. I got a £10,000 rise in my basic salary, car allowance, a laptop and many other perks, which will help to further my career. I definitely would not have found my dream job without the help of Aaron Wallis.
C. Hoy, Candidate
Aaron Wallis have provided me with an excellent service, Giles went out of his way to help me preparing for my interview and supported me through all the processes. If you need an agency to give you a fully professional and consultative approach to finding you a new career move, the Aaron Wallis can certainly provide this for you.
D. Richards, Candidate
Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.
R. Speakman, Candidate
Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.
M. White, Candidate
Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.
E. Heley, Candidate
Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.
R. Buckley, Candidate
Fantastic service, helped me find my ideal job quickly and smoothly. Would highly recommend them.
C. Caine, Candidate
The service provided by Aaron Wallis has been just great. I was constantly informed about what was going on with the process interview and the agent has always been supportive and kind to me.
L. Colagrossi, Candidate
Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dewrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.
R. Sealy, Candidate
I've had a really good experience working with Giles Phillips at Aaron Wallis. From initial contact to the finer details of securing the job, he has been very professional and a pleasure to work with.
M. Shutt, Candidate
Excellent experience from first contact to ultimately securing a suitable placement. Giles looked after me in a very professional and friendly manner. He used his expertise and experience to ensure I was put forward for the most suitable positions for my skill set and found me a new role very quickly. I can't recommend Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment highly enough.
M. Green, Candidate
Really excellent experience dealing with Aaron Wallis. Liam Oakes who helped me get a great job was brilliant. Kept me up to date during the process and offered great help and advice, and a thoroughly nice guy. Highly recommended!
J. Hathaway, Candidate
Fantastic customer service, communication was brilliant, happy polite people to talk to, made everything a lot easier and smoother. Thank you for all your help getting me back in the work force, Keep up the good work :-)
K. Everitt, Candidate
Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.
M. Crisp, Candidate
A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!
A. Bauchet, Candidate
I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.
S. Akers, Candidate
Good swift process with Aaron Wallis, informative regarding the role and the process was moved at a good pace with healthy interaction. Would recommend them to anyone pursuing a change.
S. Bartlett, Candidate
The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!
A. Callaby, Candidate