The Big One – The Assessment Centre

The Big One – The Assessment Centre - Tips and advice

If you’ve made it this far, it’s time for the dreaded assessment centre! Further to my blog on everything it takes to get here I will now cover my experience at a Centrica assessment centre and some pearls of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way.

Assessment Centres ALWAYS sound worse than they are. I’ve done my fair share now and I am yet to faint, breakdown crying or jump out of a window. And in my experience the one for Centrica was the most supportive and least scary.

As an engineer I had my AC in Aberdeen. This was all very exciting, my first trip to Scotland and first business type flight! The evening before we were treated to a meal and got to meet current Centrica Engineering graduates. Take advantage of both the free food (you would be daft not to!) and the opportunity to find out more about what it takes to be an Engineer here; it’s interesting and helps to calm nerves.

After an early start (get a good night’s sleep!) our day was broken into 4 main blocks; an individual interview, an individual presentation, a site tour and group exercise.

The individual interview is fairly standard and my assessor was really easy to get on with. Just be confident and make sure you are ready to talk about your experiences and skills you have developed (try and mention things that you did not use in your phone interview and cover each of the Leadership Behaviours).

For the individual presentation you are given a problem and asked to present a solution in the form of a flipchart presentation. Take your time to really understand the problem and present a worthwhile solution; do not waste precious minutes with intricate diagrams or fonts. Get your message across in an organized and concise manner. Be enthusiastic! Your audience needs to know you are interested in the problem or they will be indifferent to your solution.

Finally we come to the group exercise. During the experience take the time to get to know your fellow applicants; it makes the whole process more enjoyable and the group task a whole lot easier. Make sure you spend suitable amounts of time both listening and contributing. Do not try and force yourself into a leading position unless it naturally occurs; the assessors are looking for applicants who work well as a team, who can both drive and support. Most of all remember not to compete but to work with your team to reach the best solution possible as this is what will present you as an excellent candidate.

Mostly try to relax (I know it’s tough) and enjoy the company of your fellow applicants!