Can you stay true to yourself at an assessment centre?

Posted by: Madeleine Iredale - Posted on:

I’m currently writing this from the office on a drizzly Friday morning in Suffolk and while I’m taking a bit of time out for this blog before the day truly kicks off; my mind has wandered to interviews and assessment centres. At the moment, some of you have already completed the assessment centre and some of you are still waiting for yours to happen, probably experiencing a mixed bag of emotions including nervousness, excitement, curiosity and just a tinge of complete dread (or was that just me?!). I don’t think anyone finds assessment centres an absolute breeze and they are designed to challenge you and show you the reality of working in a fast-paced, high-pressured job. However, one thing that always sticks in my mind is whether it’s possible to be true to yourself in that sort of environment. We all know the pressure of having to present the very best version of yourself for interviews, wondering if the other candidates are as smart, capable and relaxed as they seem, or whether they’re just putting on a brave face like you. The drawback of trying to be an ‘ideal’ candidate in this process means that the real you, your personality, funny little quirks and the things that make you stand out, get lost in the effort to embody professional perfection. In reality, I don’t think the ‘ideal’ job candidate exists. From my experience of the grad scheme, my peers are a delightful mixture of people from all walks of life, with a plethora of unique experiences, insights and backgrounds. It’s these unique attributes that make people desirable, and while, yes, you do have to dress smartly, be professional and try to stay calm in the assessment centre, embracing your personality and experience (whatever that is), will give everyone else the best insight into what you could bring to the scheme. So go ahead and ditch your grey tie for a funky one, feel free to chat and laugh with other candidates, embrace your nerves and just let your personality shine through. Even if you aren’t successful in this assessment centre, at least you’ll know that you showed a true representation of yourself (and can always apply again next year!).

Wow. So, this was much more motivational than I expected from myself for half nine on a Friday morning. So now, while I dive head on into a day of furious bid writing ahead of a looming deadline, I hope that you enjoyed the post and have a great day.

Maddie

P.s. find me on twitter (@iredalemaddie) to follow my adventures on the grad scheme, mixed with the occasional politically fuelled retweet and a sprinkling of cat videos…  

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