This time last year I had just completed my assessment centre for the Marketing graduate scheme. If you’re in this position now, congratulations! Having got through the application form, tests and telephone interview you can rest assured that you’ve impressed and have got something valuable to offer.
Now a place on the grad scheme is in sight, preparing in the right way will help you to stand out from the crowd. So here are my top tips for success at a Marketing assessment centre, broken down into the three main parts of the day: the group exercise, presentation and interview.
(When you arrive…)
Get to the assessment centre early and you’ll have a chance to meet other applicants before the day gets started. I found that these initial introductions helped me to break the ice and collaborate better with others in the group exercise.
Here, the assessors will be looking for how well you can work together with your fellow applicants as a team. You’ll need to demonstrate strong communication and listening skills, as well as your ability to influence others.
I was particularly worried about this part of the day, and it’s easy to try and come up with strategies or rehearse lines to say that you think will impress. The best advice I received beforehand was to relax, as these skills will more than likely come naturally when you interact with others. In my opinion, you’ll come across as more genuine if you try not to overthink things too much.
In this exercise, the assessors will be looking for how clearly and confidently you can present, and how well you can think on your feet to answer questions relating to your presentation.
Personally, I was most concerned about what the presentation would be about. With the Marketing assessment centre you won’t get any information about what you will present on until the day. But I needn’t have panicked as it wasn’t on anything that required specific knowledge I could’ve learnt beforehand.
That’s not to say that you can’t prepare for the presentation in order to set yourself apart from other applicants. It’s a good idea to do some research in the days leading up to the assessment centre. I found it really useful to read up on…
- Why British Gas is in the news at the moment.
- What Marketing strategies and campaigns British Gas have employed recently and to what success.
- What the latest trends in Marketing are more generally.
The Marketing Week website is a great starting point for gathering this information.
The interview is competency based, so you will be assessed on your ability to demonstrate the Centrica leadership behaviours.
So the first thing I would suggest doing is visiting the Centrica graduate scheme website and learning the eight leadership behaviours off by heart. Then it is worth preparing a few examples of how you have demonstrated each leadership behaviour in the past, remembering that you will need to use different examples to those you have already used in your application and telephone interview. Using the STAR technique is an easy way to give these examples a clear structure and make sure you don’t miss anything…
- Situation – give some background to the example
- Target – explain what you needed to achieve
- Action – explain how you went about it
- Result – use tangible evidence to show what you achieved
The research I mentioned above will no doubt come in useful in the interview as well, and the tips I’ve outlined here are by no means exhaustive. If you have any more questions just give me a shout on the comments below.
Finally, best of luck with your assessment centre!