Job Recruitment

How to be successful at a recruitment assessment centre

So you open an email about that facilities management job you really want, and - well, it’s good news and bad news. The good news is you’re through to the next round, so all that time spent on the application was worth it. The bad news is there’s an assessment centre.

However, an assessment centre needn’t be an ordeal, if you know what to expect and do some preparation. The great thing is that any work you do will be useful for all job assessments.

You can train for tests

Many assessment centre tests start by looking at your numerical, logical or abstracting reasoning. If you immediately think “I can’t do maths, this is hopeless,” you're defeating yourself before you get there. You can raise your scores on all of these tests considerably by practising. Thanks to the internet, there are dozens of sample papers and questions you can use. Also, a visit to your local bookshop will pay dividends - there are books on how to pass numeracy or verbal reasoning tests.

Treat the assessment as you would the interview

Don’t imagine you can dress more casually because this isn’t the interview. The interviewing team may well be around, and first impressions count. So get there on time, dress smartly, have the appropriate kit with you - calculator, biro, pencil, eraser. Try not to look nervous and be polite to the reception staff - they are sometimes asked for their impressions of candidates!

Understand the role of the assessment

Most organisations do not rank candidates by result, then choose the top ranking candidate for the job. In many cases, as long as you have performed reasonably in terms of the requirements for the role, that’s enough. Sometimes, people who ace the tests are ruled out because the recruiter feels they wouldn’t be sufficiently challenged in the role and should perhaps be applying for a job that would use their skills more intensively.

Some people are very verbal, others very numeric - the assessment is simply to help build up the picture of what your strengths and weaknesses are, not judge your ability to do percentages, for example.

Psychometric personality tests

These are the tests that candidates often feel most uncomfortable about, but there’s no reason to worry about them. Think of them as the “round peg, square hole” tests. The employer is trying to make sure that the sort of person they need is the sort of person you are. Otherwise, they run the risk of recruiting someone who doesn’t fit in, doesn’t enjoy the job and leaves soon after arriving. That’s an expensive mistake for the employer.

Psychometric tests are not about how nice you are, how successful you are, whether you are a people person, or any other qualities. It’s about whether your behaviour profile is likely to sit well with the job behaviour profile. Even in a specific field, such as facilities management, someone could take a test and the results could rule them out of one job but make them the preferred candidate for another role.

So practice the test skills you can improve on, and as for the personality test - don’t take it personally - it’s not a judgement on you.


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How to network your way into a job with social media

It’s estimated that between 70% and 80% of jobs are never advertised. Instead, people use their networks to spread the word around people who may be interested in the vacancy. In the past, this made it very difficult to break into the world of work and people would say gloomily, “It's not what you know, it's who you know”.

These days, that's never been more true, but luckily there's now a much more even playing field. You can put the word out that you're looking for a job, raise your profile, tell people what interests you and what your skills are - all for free on social networks.

The important thing is to choose the appropriate social network for the level and type of job you want. A high level facilities management job is unlikely to be doing the rounds on Instagram. It's much more likely to be on LinkedIn. There's no harm putting your CV on Instagram because it's a no-cost option, but we all have a limited amount of time, so it's a good idea to focus your efforts where they are most likely to yield results.

Facebook is increasingly servicing an older population segment. Younger people are drawn towards networks such as Snapchat, where parents are less likely to be monitoring what they're doing. However, the comparatively older user base of Facebook can work in your favour if you're job hunting, because people in senior positions are often a bit older.

Facebook is also a great way to get onto someone's radar by liking any pages they've put up or posting pictures relevant to any interests you know they have. If you're aiming for a particular position or department, there's no harm in discovering that the person who heads up that department is an American football fan and using your page to express a keen interest in the same sport. Though obviously, you need to make sure you don't get caught out at interview!

It's also fine to tell the world that you're looking for a new post, what kind of job you're interested in and where you'd like to work. You may think that your Facebook network is primarily social, but remember that all of those people work and have their own family and social connections. And those connections have connections. The ripple effect from your post about looking for a job can be really far-reaching. Just make sure there are no pics on your Facebook pages that are going to put a potential employer off.

LinkedIn is, of course, the main professional network that people use to make contact with others in their line of business and build a professional profile. So this should be a focus for you if you're looking for a more senior job - for example, Head of Facilities Management. But again, be savvy about how you use LinkedIn. Recruiters and businesses that have jobs available are going to search on keywords. So put yourself in their shoes and decide what keywords you’d be searching on, then make sure that those keywords are in your career history, posts and an attached CV.

Spread your net as widely as possible and make it is really easy for people to find you, and you should be pleasantly surprised at the results.