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Work Mode with Brown Uzoukwu: 5 Mistakes to Avoid at an Employment Assessment Centre



dreamstime_l_7031592Assessment centres are selection centres which consist of a number of exercises designed to access the full range of on-the-job skills and personal attributes required for a job. Although, it has been an old practice in most developed countries, it is still very new in Nigeria.

I can say that a greater percentage of Nigerian job seekers have never been through an assessment centre, because we have few companies that actually recruit through that process. An assessment center is the most reliable method of accessing candidates and it is also a very fair selection process. However, it is very expensive to run and such, it is only a few big organisations that can afford to send prospective employees through an assessment center.

For some of us that have no idea of what to expect in an assessment centre, you can do yourself a lot of good by asking Google and learning a thing or two about it. Basically, an assessment centre provides a platform for your employer to access your on-the-job skills, through various exercises that is geared towards analysing your leadership, presentation, interpersonal, time management and analytical skills.

It is very important to know the assessment criteria before you enter an assessment centre. Some organizations usually spell it out for you in the invitation letter, but if they don’t, a little research will help you find out.
Today, I want to highlight a few mistakes you should avoid when you find yourself in an assessment center.

Zero or Little Knowledge of the Organization
So much has been said about the issue of researching about the company you desire to work for prior to assessment or an interview, yet a lot of young career persons are yet to come to terms with its importance. It is selection process suicide to enter an assessment center without an in-depth knowledge of your organization and what is expected of you in your job role.
Please try and get information. Knowledge they say is power. Requisite knowledge is requisite power. When you know about the organization it gives you some kind of power and stability during the assessment process. It helps you make informed decision as to how to dress and also how to approach your answers.

Not Being Yourself
Being an assessment centre with cameras and human observers, there is the temptation for candidates to pretend to be whom and what they are not, in order to make a positive impression. Please do not yield to that temptation. ‘Forming’ is allowed, though. It is ok to behave in a way that shows you have professional poise and decorum, but it must be done within the confines of who you are. Don’t lose your originality and uniqueness. Your assessors wants to see YOU. It won’t be good to appear uptight because you let all your guards up.
Probably, a candidate before you just had a wonderful presentation by your own standards and judgement, all of a sudden you want to adapt his or her presentation style, so that you too can impress your accessors. You might just be shooting yourself in the leg. Stay true to your style.

If you are an introvert naturally, don’t come into an assessment center and then trying to portray yourself as an extrovert just to appear sociable. It is good to interact, but also stay true to who you are. People know when you are acting up. Relax. Be yourself. Be confident in who you are.

Thinking the Next Person Is A Competitor
An assessment centre is not a place for candidates to compete against one another. Candidates are not meant to compete against one another. In fact, at the end of the assessment process, everybody or nobody in a group might be successful. Don’t come into the center with the mindset of outshining somebody. This attitude is evident especially in team exercises, you see people making contributions as the enemy. You want your voice to be heard at all cost. If your contributions are not taken, you start label it conspiracy. No.
Ideally, we usually say that the only person you compete with is yourself. Not in this case. In here you are not even supposed to be in competition with yourself. Don’t try to overdo yourself. Your body and soul need to be in sync. Don’t lose your composure. Respect everybody in the center and make your voice to be heard only when it is necessary.

Prioritizing Exercises
No one particular exercise in the assessment center is the most important. You are assessed based on your performance across all the exercises and there is no one most important part. There is no need to prioritize exercises. If you feel that you have performed poorly on one exercise, you may well cover for it by doing well in others.

Poor Presentation Skills
In simple terms, poor presentation happens when you are making a lot of sense but only you knows that because your audience can barely hear what you are saying. Secondly, it could mean that you are very audible but you are not making any sense. So what then is a good presentation?

Good presentation skill is having a good knowledge of what you are talking about and being able to communicate it audibly and clearly to an audience. Good presentation skill is not having a baritone voice. It is not British accent. It is not heavy vocabulary. It is not a 30-slides powerpoint design with charts and graphs for a 30-minute presentation. It is simply clear and concise communication.

Be mindful of those two things before you make any presentation in an assessment center. Make sure you have a good knowledge of what you are talking about and make sure you are audible. You will definitely put in a good presentation. I don’t want to talk about the issue of your grammar cos I believe you don’t have such a problem. If you still need to be taught grammar, then you don’t have any business going to an assessment centre for now.

An assessment centre is fun and it is a fair selection process. Take advantage of it and get your career moving.
Have a great day.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Brown Uzoukwu Educates and Inspires Young Professionals to Pursue their Dream Careers and Thrive in a Challenging and Positive Work Environment. He Provides Training and Coaching solutions for Schools, Small and Medium Organizations, Youth Forums and Individual Professionals. E-mail: [email protected] Phone: +234 (0)813 3514 781


  1. Adenike

    July 18, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks Brown for this! Really helps!

  2. Gbemisola

    July 19, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    This is really helpful, should be helpful at a kpmg AC

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