Preparation for Assessment CentreWith Birgit Löding

The author Birgit Löding M.A. from Düsseldorf is self-employed in the field of coaching, career counselling and outplacement. She prepares specialists and managers for assessment centres and job interviews, among other things.

Birgit Löding von BLCI

How to prepare successfully for an assessment centre

In contrast to an invitation to a job interview, the invitation to an Assessment Center (AC) causes greater concerns for many applicants. Although the process is very common, it is opaque for applicants.

Basically, an AC is about comparing your performance with that of other applicants within one to two days in a group and selecting the best candidates.

In an AC, your methodological and social competence is the focus. The employer is interested, for example, in whether you are a team player or how well you can assert yourself. Your behavior is observed by trained observers throughout the entire period and evaluated based on predefined criteria. The employer defines in advance that, for example, a structured working method is important to them. This is intended to ensure a high level of verifiability of the AC results.

What exercises are typical?

There are exercises that frequently occur in ACs, such as group discussions or presentation exercises. If you are applying for a trainee position, the demands of the exercises are, of course, not as high as for a leadership position. It is common to temporarily put applicants under stress through closely spaced exercises and time pressure. This allows observation of whether you are also capable of handling conflicts under stress. Common exercises in the AC include role-playing: for an applicant for a sales position, simulated customer conversations can be observed to assess their customer orientation.

How can I prepare?

  • Analyze the job posting: What social and methodological competencies are required?
  • Get qualified feedback from a coach on your strengths and weaknesses and how to better present yourself in the AC. In coaching, you can prepare for all exercises and role-plays systematically.
  • Try to consciously demonstrate the required competencies (only if they align with your personality). In any case, do not rehearse a role that you cannot maintain in your professional life.
  • You can practice speeches and self-presentations of your career path in advance and seek feedback from friends.
  • Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the employer and current industry trends. This way, you can assert yourself in group discussions if necessary.
  • Exercises are evaluated completely independently of each other: Don’t be discouraged by a difficult start!

Published on May 6, 2013, in the Career Blog of the No. 1 Job Board for SMEs:

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