07 March 2019

It's worth noting that what we call a selection event, others may call an 'assessment centre' or something similar - it all means the same thing.

When preparing for your selection event it can seem quite daunting, as you will have little (or no) idea of what might be involved. Remember that we want see the best of you, and to do this it’s important for you to try and relax.

One of the big things we will be looking for is your ability to work in a team, so it is likely you will participate in some sort of group exercise. This may be the most unfamiliar part of your selection event - so let’s start with the basics…

  • Do your research - you will (probably) never be able to prepare completely for a group exercise as it is unlikely the company will give you too much information beforehand (they want to see how you think on your feet). By doing research on the company beforehand will most definitely give yourself a head start.
  • Be inclusive - remember that being a team player is key, You may have people in your group who are very nervous or uncomfortable in these sort of situations. Make sure you ask any quieter members their opinion - they might have some brilliant ideas but are simply too shy to share them
  • Try not to be the loudest in the room - but make sure you share all of your ideas. There is a difference between discussing with your team and talking at people. If you know that you have a tendency to take over make an extra effort not to be the person that doesn’t allow anyone else to have a say.
  • Keep an eye on the time - You don’t have to sit there staring at the clock but it’s important to know how much time you have used already, and how long you have left to complete the task.
  • Listen to all instructions carefully and make sure you fully understand what you are required to do. If you are unsure of something ask someone in your team – chances are others are confused as well. It’s better to understand at the beginning rather than leave it too late and complete the task incorrectly.
  • Make the most of your reading time - You may be given a short time to read a large amount of information, so try to take in as much as you can as it will all be relevant to the task. If you have finished reading before the time is up, go over it again; make sure you really get your head around the information that’s been given to you.
  • Be commercially aware - (which basically means, be aware of what’s going on in the world currently.) This could really benefit you in a group exercise as it will allow you to be able to relate the information given to you in the group exercise to real life events happening all around us. (Big tip, this is what any observer will be keeping an eye out for).
  • Stay engaged - It’s so important you remember that even when you are not talking, you are always being observed. Stay engaged with your team members throughout - listen and respond to what they are saying and actively participate even when you are not speaking.

It’s good to look at the group exercise as an opportunity to show off all of your strengths. Make sure you have fun (whilst maintaining your professionalism) as it will make you approach the task more positively.

I hope you found these hints and tips useful and feel you can use them when next involved in a group exercise. Just remember the most important thing is to be yourself, we don’t want to see robots, we want to see genuinely enthused people being themselves.

For more information on our apprenticeship scheme, visit our apprenticeship page.

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