In January The Year in Business team invited IBM to run an Assessment Centre training for Royal Holloway students. Many students are currently in the midst of placement applications and really appreciated the opportunity to gain practical experience of different tests and group exercises and to receive feedback from the IBM professionals on how they had performed.
Duncan, Josh and Tim from IBM talked about the application process their company used:
To be successful, students have to progress through each stage of the application process:
> Online application form - demonstrating that they will get a minimum of 2:1 degree
> Online test (Information Processing Aptitude Test)
>Assessment Centre (group exercises) / Interview
> Final Interview
During the 1st stage of the workshop students had to give examples of how they demonstrated IBM's core competencies (more details of each are found on the IBM website)
> Creative Problem solving
> Drive to achieve
> Client focus (meeting Customer needs)
> Passion for the business
> Leadership and ability to take ownership
IBM encouraged students to use the STAR approach as taught in the Royal Holloway 2nd year Employability Module to talk through their examples:
S - Situation
A - Action
R - Result
During the 2nd stage of the workshop students were able to complete an Information Processing Aptitude Test which IBM use to test the candidate's logical reasoning and their ability to process information quickly. They recommended finding somewhere quiet to take the test, being prepared with paper, calculator and pens and taking time to understand the sample questions provided for each section of the test. Remember The Careers' Service also provides examples of psychometric tests for you to practice in advance of doing any such tests. Look here:
During the final stage of the workshop Students were split into groups and given a logic exercise to work through. They were reminded that this exercise gives employers the opportunity to see how the students work as a team, while allowing the student to demonstrate a range of competencies including communication, team work, problem solving/ analytical skills and whether they are capable of leading a team.
The IBM professionals gave a number of useful tips in advance:
> Be aware of how you are being perceived during the exercise
> Encourage all candidates to participate - involve others/ don't shout over other team members.
> Keep the discussion on track/ Try to reach a consensus decision or plan of action in the time allowed/ Make sure the group sticks to time.
> Quality of what you say is better than quantity
> You will most likely not be assessed on the exercise but how you work as part of the team.
We are very grateful to IBM for running this session. More information can be found on IBM's website:http://www-05.ibm.com/employment/uk/undergraduates/application_process.shtml
There is also more information about Assessment Centres on the Royal Holloway Careers site including a very useful video of an assessment centre exercise to watch.