Provide your fellow students and graduates with some insight into getting through the assessment centre stage of securing a placement or graduate job. It is hard enough to get on the career ladder so please share you experiences and make sure that those following in your footsteps are prepared to meet their opportunity.
If you have taken part in any assessment centre days, please let us know about the hiring process including any difficult or unexpected elements, whether you originally applied online, through your university or on spec., whether you could reclaim expenses, how many people attended and your overall view of how easy or difficult the process was and whether you received a further interview or job offer. Make sure you put the company’s name in the review title.
Reviews will remain anonymous in order for you to feel free to reveal your experience; they are however intended to be constructive and not defamatory or abusive, so please be respectful.
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Start off at 12 with a networking lunch and a chance to meet and greet with the other candidates. There was around 25 of us altogether. We then were given a talk from the head of HR and by the CEO. For the CEO to give 45 minutes of his time to speak to us was very impressive. Next, we were split in half and went into a team exercise. Very standard: we needed to recommend a village on possible renovations to increase the footfall in the area. Then we went into our individual interviews, which involved a 10-minute presentation (on a question they gave to us around 48 hours before), a technical exercise, competency questions and questions around your CV. Networking drinks commenced after all interviews were completed. All in all, a very tiring, long day, but a very rewarding one at that.
A straightforward process to apply initially with a few essay questions, CV and covering letter. If successful they will invite you to an assessment centre consisting of group tasks involving a scenario where you had to debate amongst a group and then come together with a decision to present back. The individual task was a writing one, whereby, another scenario was given and we had to draft a response to a client within a set timeframe. The interview was 40 minutes to an hour and included both HR and competency based questions. They like to hear your desire to work hard, learn and most of all your commitment to your APC, so if you already have experience towards this, it is a big help. The good thing about Gerald Eve in comparison to other middle to large consultancies, is they invite you to an assessment day then within a week of attending you will know your outcome, whereas other firms can take months with several stages, which can be frustrating.
I applied online, had a telephone interview followed by a one to one interviewed at CBRE head office in London (2015). Final stage was assessment day.Interview was a cross over of knowledge, experience and personality. A cultural fit seems important but the people I came across seemed genuinely fun and encouraging and were therefore easy to get on. It's challenging, because you don't know what's coming and you are trying to impress and get involved. I'd say it was one of the more friendly interview/assessment day processes.Interview QuestionsHow would your friends describe you?Tell me about a time you demonstrated CBRE values
After applying for Deloitte Real Estate's general practice graduate scheme I was invited for their assessment centre at the London Stonecutter Court office.The Deloitte application system is quite good in that we got a choice of two days on which to attend, and could also choose a morning or afternoon time slot. We were also told in advance what to expect - a tour of the office with some existing graduates, a group exercise and a 15 minute individual interview.I had selected an afternoon time slot, and on arrival was a little surprised to find applicants from the morning slot still waiting for their interviews. As other afternoon applicants arrived, it gave us all a chance to chat and get to know each other a little.The HR staff gave us a very brief introduction to the assessment centre and we were then led (about 10 of us for that session) to a room for the group assessment. After 10 minutes to read over the brief individually, the assessors (staff members) were let into the room with no introductions made. They were to watch us carry out a discussion of where in the world to stage a sporting event, with each of us acting as a representative for a different city. The task was interesting, but I think it was a shame that we knew nothing about our assessors at this point, as it made them seem a bit alien to us - at other assessments there has always been opportunity to meet the assessors first, or at the very least there has been an introduction before the group exercise began.Once complete the applicants then had to return to the waiting area and wait for our individual interview. Each assessor had about 2 candidates each to interview, and luckily I was my assessor's first, which meant less nervous waiting!Not that there was much to be nervous about of course - 15 minutes is incredibly short, and the interviewer only had 2 set questions - why property, and talk about a time you have worked in a team. I think the assessor was slightly perplexed by the short format as well, and he did take a look over my CV and ask other questions. The good thing about the interview is they are required to also ask if there are any other achievements/notable additions to your CV since it had been initially submitted, so if you have boosted your resume you can let them know.After the interview it was back to the waiting area again... at some point one single graduate surveyor had to come and speak to us/answer our questions. I felt quite sorry for him being one person surrounded by 10 eager candidates firing questions! But I guess he was maybe the only graduate with space in his diary.After he spoke to us for a bit he mentioned that he thought we could just leave whenever.... the HR staff came back to answer any queries about expenses (Deloitte at least have a £100 maximum on expenses), but it felt like the day had no real tie up, and they didn't seem particularly interested in the candidates.As it isn't the final stage (if you are successful you are invited to a full 45 minute competency based interview, and to deliver a presentation on topic of your choice) maybe this is a suitable assessment centre format, but after travelling quite a distance, it didn't feel entirely worth it, especially when a lot of time was spent waiting.I should point out I have had some very pleasant experiences with Deloitte in other service lines though, so this is perhaps a one-off, and I can vouch for them as a good employer. I think this assessment centre fell a little short of their usual high standards however.
I sat my Cushman & Wakefield assessment day at one of their regional offices - I am not sure if the day differed from what would happen at the London assessment centre, however there was not an interview between the online tests and assessment day which I think could be a differentiating factor.There were 12 of us at the assessment centre, which took place in the morning. We had an initial ice breaker exercise, where the two HR representatives introduced themselves. We were then split into pairs, chatted to each other for 5 minutes, then had to go round the table introducing our partners. We were then given a problem solving exercise to do in our pairs. This wasn't assessed, I think it was to continue getting to know each other, however it would probably have been better if we could have swapped partners in order to get to know other candidates better.After this the candidates were split into two groups - one group to do the group exercise while the other group took individual interviews, and then a swap.The group exercise was a decision making a task - a case study was provided where you were organising a charity film screening event and function. You had to work as a team to decide venue, film to screen, schedule of events etc. This was then meant to be presented with a flip chart aid. We only had about 45 minutes I think, and it was actually very challenging to do all this in the timeframe - our group never managed to present, but obviously you are mainly being assessed on how you work with each other. I actually liked that the case study had nothing to do with property, as it meant you could really focus on participating, without worrying you might say something that was technically incorrect, or feeling like you should rack your brains for relevant recent industry news. Only two assessors were watching from the end of the table, and didn't feel too intimidating at all.The individual interviews were a one-on-one competency based interview with a senior member of staff. It was clear they were under instruction from the HR staff to put us at ease, and they were successful at doing so. At times it felt like the questions led us to repeat things we had already spoken about, but my interviewer verbally acknowledged that and seemed appreciative when I tried to bring in fresh examples.The assessment centre concluded with a networking lunch where you could meet the other assessors, members of staff and candidates. The C&W staff were great at encouraging you to move around the room - at other assessment centres I found it could be a bit awkward wanting to move on but not knowing how to say so politely!Finally one of the partners gave a small speech about life with the firm which rounded the morning off nicely.It was one of the most enjoyable assessment centres I have been at - all members of staff were pleasant and easy to talk to, and between segments you were able to have a seat and chat with other candidates for a couple of minutes without being watched. It meant the half day passed very quickly.
This was a half day assessment centre - I think there was a group of four in the morning and another in the afternoon - the two groups combined in the middle for the group exercise.After an introductory chat we were all split up and placed in individual rooms to complete either our individual interview or a presentation.I had my presentation first. I was given 45 minutes to read a case study about a developer looking at two options for a residential project in South East England and had to make a recommendation for one of the options. A flip chart was provided to accompany the presentation.Two assessors viewed the presentation, then asked follow up questions - although I felt quite challenged by some of the questions, the assessors were very pleasant so I didn't feel too stressed out.Similarly the interview was conducted by another two assessors and was a standard competency based interview. Again I felt quite at ease, and felt it passed quickly.We then had our networking lunch where we could speak to other candidates (the afternoon group had arrived by now) and the assessors (a mix of graduates and more senior members of staff).After lunch came the group exercise which I felt was the hardest part. We were meant to be discussing the HS2 proposals and advising whether or not to go ahead with it - the challenging part was we had all been given a particular role and stance to take, along with some facts related to our role - I think I was an environmental campaigner. It was difficult to know how strong you were expected to be with your particular viewpoint. Meanwhile we were surrounded by all the assessors which felt a bit intimidating.I felt it was a good mix of tasks for the assessment centre, however I was definitely glad to be in the morning group - I think it would be difficult to enjoy the networking lunch if you were nervously waiting for all your assessments to start!
I think this is one of the longer assessment days, and is slightly more unusual in that it does not include any individual interview.About 25 applicants were present on the day. After breakfast snacks and introductions there was an ice breaker exercise which meant applicants were able to get to know each other quickly.There was then presentations by previous graduates and the UK CEO - this was another unique aspect of the day. At no other assessment centres has there been the chance to meet such a senior member of staff.After a quick break we then had to complete three individual assessments - an e-tray exercise, numerical test and proof reading exercise. The e-tray was quite challenging in the time limit, and calculators were not allowed for the numerical test! It featured fractions, long division, percentage calculations - quite tough without the calculator!We then had a networking lunch with members of staff.The afternoon session involved group work - we had an hour to discuss a strategy for revitalising a town centre, and then had to present to all other groups and the assessors. The assessors had visited each group for their discussion for about 10 minutes each and swapped around during the hour, so sometimes you were left unattended, but mostly were being watched by one person.Once all presentations were complete the candidates were free to go, however were invited to drinks for further networking.Over all it was quite a long day (felt most during the group presentations - every group was speaking about the same brief), however it offered a good opportunity to network and get a good feel for the company.
Applied online on the Sainsburys website for a junior acquisition surveyor role. Had to go to Coventry from where Sainsburys run a lot of their operational side. The day consisted of an interview with one of the team members and someone from HR. Interview really drilled down into Sainsburys strategy. They weren't as concerned with competencies as how much you knew about Sainsburys property strategy so if you are applying for a role really research this.Second part of the day was a group case study to choose a location for a new store out of five possible choices. Brush up on market conditions and technical knowledge and you should be fine. Small group presentation based on this at the end. (Travel was not reimbursed)
Interviewed firstly at University and then you go to them for a full day of assessment (travel refunded). You are then introduced to all the other candidates, some of the partners, graduate surveyors and HR staff.
Day goes really quickly. You have to do a presentation (you get the subject in advance), lunch then you are divided into groups to discuss and analyse a case study and present your decision (ours was pitch to client). Finally you have an interview. They don't keep you hanging around for a decision. All really quick..
Applied online and assessed/interviewed 2 weeks later. The presentation was first (them to us and then our individual ones to the group), followed by team based activity when you then present findings based on information they give you. Interview very relaxed, no real competency based questions. Seems mainly to be based on how you interact with others and disseminate information.
I filled in the online application, they then sent me a link to an online numerical test and written test. Finally you get a date to attend an assessment day.
Interview for me was quite standard - why building surveying? Where do you see yourself in 5 years etc.
Online tests - numerical one first then a written one where you have to prioritise emails and give an appropriate response (choosen from the options given), you get back ground information to help you make your decision. As you go along more emails appear in the inbox. The next bit is to write an email in response, The tips I was given were to take care with the structure, spelling and grammar; justify why I made the decision I did and why it is better than the other responses; gear my answer appropriately - if it is to my team members then it needs less spin than to my client.
Assessment day -5 minute presentation and a panel interview.
Group work is hard to tell how you did, presentation could have done better, interview seemed to go well.
An online timed psychometric test before you get to the interview stage .... completely messed mine up. It's timed but you are probably better taking your time and getting them than rushing through. Oh well some you win, some you lose. You really need to practice these in advance make sure you have a calculator.
This can be tough as it comes early on in the interview process – early January, just as you go back to university and often clashing with coursework deadlines. My assessment day was in London, just down from Bond Street (which maybe explains why the polo playing crowd are out in force), although I think Manchester also runs a similar event.
The purpose of the day is to give you the chance to find out about what it would be like to work at Savills and for them to find out more about you and your skills. It starts with a presentation for you by Savills staff followed by a presentation task by you; a group exercise; a written test; and a numerical test, with no formal interview at this stage.
It really isn’t as bad as it seems, everyone is really friendly but you do need to do some prep work and remember that Savills are looking for the following skills:
• Persuasive Communication and Impact
• Building Effective Relationships
• Planning and Organisation
• Flexibility and Resilience
• Energy and Determination
For the presentation task you will required to give a 5 minute talk on:
“An event or episode when you achieved a challenging objective”
It can be on any topic of your choice as long as it fulfils the criteria and shows how you have demonstrated the qualities above. You will be cut off if you exceed the time limit and whilst there isn’t a screen or flipchart available, you can bring handouts if you want.
You don’t need to prepare for the other assessment activities like group pitch for deal and email exercise but do remember to take a calculator for the numerical test. Good Luck.