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This is how assessment center exercises work: 11 tips for job search and application

Before the long-awaited employment, HR managers often sweat and tears that one shed during an assessment center. Which tests and exercises are lurking here and how do you survive the selection process?

Assessment center: meaning purpose definition

Top documents, a top impression in the interview and the fact that your own qualifications match the job perfectly are often not enough to get a job: Lots of them Company want to know exactly who they are hiring and test applicants extensively in the assessment center. This can be eye-catching if you are not properly prepared.

Assessment centers are used to put applicants through their paces in order to determine their suitability for the job. The companies do this by exposing the job aspirants to particularly stressful group situations, setting them tasks - and closely monitoring their behavior with trained people. It is neither about the technical skills nor the level of knowledge: Above all, companies want to find out who fits into the respective corporate culture and who does not. Applicants should demonstrate their social skills, their communication skills, their ability to work in a team and their leadership behavior.

The process of the assessment center differs depending on the company

The assessment center is not a standardized procedure that would run the same in every company, because every company values ​​different aspects. This is why it is so difficult to prepare for it. Nevertheless, it makes sense to know the most important points and to practice some processes in advance - for example in special training seminars that help to optimize one's own behavior in the group:

Because an assessment center usually begins with an introduction to the respective company. If you listen carefully here, you can find out what the company attaches great importance to and what functions the observers in the assessment center have. This is usually followed by the round of introductions, in which each applicant only has a few minutes to convey the most important things about themselves.

The truth is often hidden

It is less about revealing your hopes for your own professional future, but about briefly but concisely conveying why you are absolutely suitable for this job. The listener should become curious and one should present oneself positively. Negative formulations and self-criticism are therefore completely inappropriate. Exaggeration and acting too, however.

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An important part of an assessment center is the group discussion on a topic. Because are the job applicants in direct competition with each other? Do you sit in silence or do you listen attentively and make meaningful contributions? Or do you constantly travel the word itself and talk the other discussants to the ground? Who has the better, strong arguments? And who is good at moderating.

Communicate skillfully in the assessment center

Presentation tasks or role-playing games that are intended to simulate a particularly stressful situation in everyday working life are just as classic as they are feared: The mailbox exercise is popular here, in which applicants have to provide documents but are repeatedly disturbed, or conversations between bosses and employees.

At the end of an assessment center there is a feedback interview, which evaluates the impression the applicant has made. If the job does not work out, you should see the feedback in preparation for further assessment centers if you did not understand something. Because if you react offended to the criticism, you lose the chance to do better next time.

11 tips: How to get in shape for the assessment center

Even if acting is of no use: With a few specific exercises, you can certainly prepare for the assessment center. Take note of the following 11 tips:

  1. To gather information: It is best to find out as much about the company as possible. Because from this it is likely that indications can be derived as to which aspects are particularly considered in the assessment center.
  2. Self-confidence counts: In order to score points in the assessment center, you should know who you are, what you can and cannot do. Only then can you stay calm even in stressful situations.
  3. Keep a Cool Head: In this nerve-wracking situation, you have better cards if you stay relaxed. Therefore, reduce stress, run around the block again beforehand and make it clear to yourself that you can definitely only win at an assessment center - even as an exercise for the next time.
  4. Brevity is the soul of wit: With self-presentation, each applicant only has about three minutes to show themselves from their best side: You should do that at home before the Spiegel or practice with an audience.
  5. Know your own résumé: Even if it sounds banal: You should know your own résumé and, above all, be able to explain the gaps when asked how you deal with failure or what success means to you. Anyone who stutters appears unsupervised.
  6. Discussion style: In group discussions you should express your opinion without ignoring or degrading the statements of others. Better: Praise fellow participants and put their own opinions up for discussion.
  7. Try to find out where the journey is going: During the assessment center you will also be asked a lot of strange questions: Always try to find out where you are headed: If you would rather be a forester than a teacher, you are showing that you are more reserved. And if you take a bath rather than a shower, you tend to think feminine and are weak in leadership.
  8. Set priorities: In the popular post box exercise, for example, the boss does not want to see that you are doing everything completely stressed, but rather that you can separate important from unimportant tasks.
  9. Strategic exercises: If you are asked to develop a strategy for an exercise, you should not only get the result, but also show how you got there. Better a wrong solution with the right approach than the other way around.
  10. Technical know-how: If the task in the assessment center consists of a presentation, it is better to be technically equipped. In other words: Knowledge of Power Point is a must.
  11. Feedback: It is better to rate your own performance in the feedback round as too bad rather than too good. And never complain about the test, it doesn't seem sovereign.

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