Written exercises and aptitude tests
You may be asked to perform a written task which is related to your role, such as analyse a spreadsheet, create a spreadsheet from a data set, use other relevant software, compose a letter or email to a client, write a press release, produce an advert etc. This will help the employer test your written communication skills or use of relevant IT packages.
If you have any condition which may mean you need more time for this type of exercise, such as dyslexia, you may wish to disclose this before the assessment day. If English is not your first language, or your grammar/spelling, relevant software knowledge is a little rusty, brush up your skills before the assessment centre.
The employer may also provide a personality or aptitude test, such as numeracy, verbal reasoning or analysing your sales flair. While many such tests now usually take place before the assessment centre online, it can sometimes still be valuable for employers to run these on the day and you may even get feedback on your performance there and then.
The employer may ask you to prepare a presentation in advance for the day on a particular theme. If this is the case and you are bringing slides on a USB stick ensure that it is not corrupted; it may be best to save onto two sticks just in case. If possible, email the slides in advance. If you are using your own laptop or a tablet, or a different presentation software, don’t assume that it will work at the site. Check in advance that it will be compatible with the employer’s IT facilities.
While sometimes there is a risk of ‘death by powerpoint’ and you may prefer not to produce slides, it can be useful to ensure the employer has something to remember you by. Whether using slides or taking a different approach, it is a good idea to prepare some handouts for the employer with your key points, presented in an attractive, clear way, which they can keep. Make sure the handouts clearly show your name.
Sometimes employers may ask you to prepare a presentation on the day itself, this could be about yourself, or a particular theme or case study. As with other exercises, ensure you manage your time effectively to ensure you are able to come up with a complete presentation which fully covers the objectives stated.
Sometimes you may be asked to perform a role play situation. This can be quite common for customer service related roles where you may encounter difficult situations or have to deal with complaints, such as passenger services. The employer will be testing you to see how you think on your feet, how you deal with someone who may be rude to you, how you cope under pressure, maintain your composure, align with company policy and/or your general language and behaviour.