On the Horizon: The Assessment Centre

Posted by: Freya Macfarlane - Posted on:

Congratulations to all those who have got through to the next stage! My initial reaction when I got through to this stage was of total shock. Having met a small horde of (ridiculously successful) applicants at the interviews last year I distinctly remember thinking that I was lucky to have made it to the interviews at all. So when February rolled around and I was invited back, I threw myself into revising what would be expected of me at the centre as I had never been to one before. This is where I realised my super-duper research skills were pretty much useless. Unlike the interview, there is very little prep work you can do for the centre. It really is a ‘me, myself and I’ situation, where you are responding and reacting to scenarios that don’t have a clear cut ‘right’ answer. In some ways this makes the build-up before the centre more relaxing. You don’t have to balance revising your competencies and linking them to the Healthcare Leadership model with university or work-place demands. Your head is a little freer since you are absolved from doing too much prep work. On the other hand there is something quite discombobulating in entering the next step of your potential career knowing that it depends on how you are on the day. Pressure, pressure, pressure. Or that may just be me as I’m a classic over-thinker.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the assessment centre (perhaps a hint of nostalgia?). I think that because I was not holding an excess of information in my head it allowed me to be more natural, and engage in the ‘here and now’ aspect of the activities. In fact, the reactive nature of it reflects what your day-to-day working life will be. Four months into my first placement and I’m now leading on two disciplinary cases, have a caseload of various absences, as well as helping co-ordinate and facilitate a move to 12 hour shift patterns for over 1000 staff members. And yes, the majority of this emerged last Thursday. After a little ‘eek!’ moment, I soon had my spreadsheets open and meetings galore booked in to start tackling my tasks, and I’m now ready for whatever else gets thrown my way. If I’m totally honest, days like that make up for the quieter ones (they do happen). So whilst suggesting that you relax and take the day in your stride may not seem the most practical advice, I still highly recommend it. Bask in your achievement of getting through the interview stage and use the intervening weeks to recharge your mental faculties. It will do you the world of good.

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