Group Assessments – How to Stand Out

group assessment

Many applicants during a recruitment stage may be called upon to participate in a ‘Group Assessment Day’, a day that typically gathers a selection of short-listed candidates who in turn complete tasks, are subjected to interviews and give short presentations. The Lloyds Banking Group Graduate Programme, which will open on Intern Avenue shortly, outlines the purpose of their Assessment Day and what to expect:

“If you’re successful in the early stages of selection, we will invite you to one of our assessment centres across the UK. Here, you will complete a range of exercises which are based on a typical day of a finance industry graduate, and designed to act as micro-simulations of the job. So, when we observe you participating in these exercises, we’ll gain a real insight into your individual strengths and areas for potential development. Over the course of the day, we’ll ask you to complete a number of exercises, including:

  • Analysis exercise – you’ll analyse a case study and prepare a presentation of your findings
  • Group exercise – you’ll participate in an interactive debate with other candidates
  • Capability-based interview – you’ll demonstrate your skills and experience across the following capabilities: Judgement, Drive, Execution and Influence”

 If you are one of the fortunate few selected, you of course want to be viewed by the company as ‘one to watch’ and ‘one to invite back for further review’ – so how can you stand out…for the right reasons?

  • Body Talk Your body language can be more powerful than the words that come out of your mouth. Before you go to the assessment, do ‘power stances’. Power moves become powerful thoughts, and you want to feel and appear strong. You don’t need to do them during the assessment but simply standing tall and broad will make you feel confident and make you stand out to the people you need to stand out to. If you are still lost as to what ‘power stances’ are, have a look at this great TED Talk from Amy Cuddy:

  • Don’t try too hard to be creative – you could end up compromising quality and efficiency by desperately striving for originality in the ideas you come up with, but think outside the box.
  • Don’t psyche yourself out – it is just an assessment day, not judgement day. Keep calm and try not to absorb the nerves of others – rise above it. A calm and collected individual is sure to stand out (calm and collected doesn’t mean over-comfortable and slouchy, however)
  • You have no obligation to help anybody – do not waste your time and energy coaxing or guiding another candidate, and definitely don’t try to sabotage the chances of others. Stay focused on yourself and on collaborating with others in a professional manner – the judges will be looking to see how you would behave in a work environment.
  • Dress as you would for the job – Do not try to stand out with your appearance (‘try’ being the key word – dress yourself as you see fit for a workplace. If you naturally stand out then so be it!). Cleanliness, formal attire and neatness is essential. Rely on your work, personality and charisma to stand out for you.
  • Speak confidently and clearly, at a steady pace – A strong voice will always stand out in a group – no need to shout or boom, though. If you have a high-pitched or squeaky voice it is best to practise lowering your tone, projecting your voice and keeping a moderate pace when you speak. That will be sure to separate you from the others and signal you out as somebody with conviction and belief in themselves.
  • Research the company’s past projects and achievements – you may be tasked with coming up with a new idea for them, and the last thing you want is to come up with an idea they have already used. Referencing their past projects in any pitch you make will undoubtedly give you the upper hand, too.
  • Ask a good question – but definitely don’t ask ‘any question’. If you can’t think of a good question to ask then it is safer to stay quiet. Whoever said ‘there is no such thing as a stupid question’ was either lying, or, well, stupid. It could make you stand out for all the wrong reasons, but a well-thought out, concise question that can’t be answered by the internet will put you on the top of their good list.
  • Stay calm in group tasks – reflect on your typical role at a dinner table – are you fighting to get a word in edgeways? Practice commanding attention. Are you ranting over everybody and not letting them speak? Practice shutting up and listening before speaking. Do you become flustered and over-emotional? Definitely don’t do that. Have fun! Be considerate and act as professionally as possible while still naturally interacting with everyone there.
  • Smile! It will brighten up your face, attitude and the interviewer’s day. No need to convey ‘professionalism’ with a stone-cold face.
  • Maintain eye contact with whoever is speaking – but not in a creepy way, in a respectful and engaging way. Seem interested (even if you’re not) and they will be able to feel a connection and understanding with you.
  • Say ‘Thank You’ – the organisers, HR team, interviewers, and everybody involved deserve a show of gratitude before you leave. Shake their hands (if appropriate) and say ‘thank you’. It means a lot.
  • And finally…how to stand out for the wrong reasons – speak over the speakers, interrupt the organisers and roll your eyes/scoff at 10minute intervals. These are all sure fire ways to make sure you do not advance to the next stage.

Enjoy yourself, and be proud that you made it through to Group Assessment stage. For any worries you have, Intern Avenue are here to give advice and guidance. If your interviews and assessments don’t go to plan, then Intern Avenue will also be here to find you another great (paid) opportunity.

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