• PutSimply

Crush Your Graduate Scheme Assessment Day (2021)

Stand tall and congratulate yourself - you've made it! If you have recently graduated, you're likely at something of a crossroads. It's a good time to take an inventory of yourself and ask "what do I do now?". Graduate programs in 2021 may have changed a little from previous years, but the recipe for crushing your interview/assessment process remains the same.

2021 Graduate holding a degree traveling home from graduation ceremony

Let's assume you've been through the whole process of selecting where you want to do your grad scheme. You sent your CV and as if the stars were aligned, they choose you for an assessment day and/or interview.

You begin to frantically ask yourself whether you're ready and begin googling everything about the workplace.

Irreversibly, your mind enters the headspace of preparation and stress begins to develop.

But In the intro, I mentioned there being something of a recipe for being accepted, and this is true, though there are other important factors.

One of them is that you are genuine. This is the one thing that you can't really 'fake' or 'generate' on the day, you need to be actually interested in the idea of working for this company.

Equally, you may show up on the day (online or otherwise) and immediately get a feeling of repulsion - this is actually a good thing and it's your intuition telling you that you should at least consider other opportunities elsewhere.

You can actually draw a similarity between the assessment day and your exams - preparation is everything, it really matters.

I invite you to go on something of a data mining expedition and be as technically prepared for any questions as you are emotionally prepared for the experience of the day.

This might sound intimidating at first, but fear not, we're about to go into the depth of the how to's and don't do's.

The Technical Questions

Here's a surprising revelation for you - the technical questions are the least important factor of your interview or assessment day.

This sounds silly, right? But if we think about it, it's understandable why.

Technical questions are those quick-fire round of:

  • "Name types of..."

  • "How does 'this' work"

  • "Explain the concept of...

  • "Give examples of..."

  • If you're really unlucky "derive this..."

These questions are, of course, there to test your knowledge, but do you notice how the answer to these questions could be easily learned afterwards?

This is why they hold less significance...but then why do they exist?

They exist to act as something known as a contrasting factor, it's a generic technique by the HR departments to differentiate two or more candidates that are neck and neck for the position.

It's a really quick and easy way to say "these candidates are close, but person A did perform better on the technical questions, yadda-yadda"

Though I should stress, they do this near the end of determining who is most appropriate. The most important factors actually exist in how you answer questions and how you socially interact on the day (also known as your emotional intelligence)

Emotional intelligence is the other side of the coin to Intellectual intelligence. HR recruitment blueprints always factor them both in.

It's common there is someone who is intellectually brilliant on the day and they answer the questions well, but they stay in their shell and don't really interact...

These people will be ruled out very quickly. The hybrid model of employee is usually the best for most recruiters.

So there's our first acknowledgement - if you balls up the technical questions and travel home or log off feeling totally dejected, it's REALLY not as bad as you think, honest!

How to Answer Technical Questions

I've just taken a shot at the importance of technical questions, but I want you to do well in them because answering them in specific ways can play into the hands of some other criteria that you need to tick.

Of course, the best scenario is that you answer them well and actually know the answer.

That said, there will be times when you don't know the answer - all isn't lost here, it's actually an opportunity to show the assessor another aspect of your experience.

Because knowing information is one thing, but having a mind that is able to deduce and travel down a rabbit hole in the logical pursuit of an answer is absolute gold to an employer.

What you're demonstrating is deductive reasoning, and it's a really attractive quality to any workplace.

It's you telling them that if something goes wrong, you will chase the solution - again, gold dust!

An interview between a man and a woman in a corporate building dressed formally in an assessment centre