Assessment Centre Advice part 2: Be Honest - by Elliott Binks

Assessment Centres are well underway, which means that many of you are at arguably the most important stage of your application process. With that in mind, you’re probably keen for some further advice on how to make the most of your day when it finally arrives.

Luckily, that’s where we’re here to help you guys out!

2Last time on here, I talked about the importance of being yourself. I know this sounds a little bit clichéd, but I cannot overstate the importance of this point. Managers don’t just hire the candidate with the highest grades – otherwisethe application process would bewrapped up a whole lot sooner. What they’re really looking for are people that they like on a personal level. People who will fit in well with the rest of their team. People who are more than just a one-dimensional academic buff! Being yourself and letting your personality shine through is the best way to show them that there’s more to you than justyour CV.

So today I want to build on this idea somewhat, and remind you all of the importance of being honest as well(not that I’m calling you guys liars – bear with me on this one). It may sound like an obvious point to remember, but we can often let it slip our minds – particularly if we feel it could shine us in a bad light.

I remember telling my assessors about a student night that a friend and I set up last year. In the end we didn’t make any money from it and the night wasn’t a success, but the fact that I had been proactive enough to try something like that actually reflected very well on me in the end. I managed to explain the skills I’d developed and the lessons I learned from the venture, to the point that it no longer mattered that the project itself ended up failing fairly miserably.

My point is that you shouldn’t shy away from the truth – nobody is perfect! Even your shortcomings can be turned into positives if you look at the bigger picture. That being said, it’s probably not advisable to spend the entire day listing your faults – I’m sure you get the idea though…

But as well as this, being honest can have further indirect benefits to help you perform to the best of your abilities on the day of your Assessment Centre.

By answering truthfully and simply saying it how it is, you’re going to fell a lot more relaxed with whatever tasks you’re asked to carry out. Remaining in your comfort zone at a time like this can really make the difference between success and failure. If you’re focusing on trying to deliver a quality presentation or sell yourself to the assessors on the day, you don’t want to distract yourself with glossier versions of the truth which could cause you to slip up.

4On a similar note, if you’re being asked about something that the assessor clearly has a great deal of knowledge on – a Microsoft product for example – pleaseee do not think you can blag your way through it because it most likely won’t end well. If you try to make something up simply for the sake of providing an answer then you’re only going to get tangled in a web of lies and you will get caught out. It’s better just to admit that you’re not necessarily an expert in that area, but remember – try to turn this negative into a positive! If you don’t know about a particular product, explain how you’ll make sure you’re as well-versed as possible if you’re ultimately given the job.

By the way, it’s worth noting that you’re not necessarily going to be asked to talk about a Microsoft product. This was just an example I used off the top of my head, so try not to read into it too much!

But while the examples themselves may not be directly applicable to your own Assessment Centre, the lessons to be learned from them are indeed very much applicable. In being honest with your answers you’re going to feel much more comfortable, and this will allow you to be relaxed enough to make the most of your day and really sell yourself to the assessors.

Hopefully all of you made it this far to the blog post – and I hope I didn’t offend any of you by making you think I was calling you all liars! But most of all, I hope this was of some use to you in your Assessment Centre preparation!

I’ll be writing again in a few days so stay tuned for my advice, and we’re also going to be getting some hugely valuable insights from the rest of the current interns who come from all sorts areas of the business – so you can be sure to find something that applies to you! In the meantime though, please feel free to reach out to us at the blog, and let us know whether or not you thought this was helpful and what you’d like me to cover in future!

As always, best of luck :)

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