Published on May 31, 2017 by Laura

An Assessment Centre is undoubtedly like anything you have ever done before…but not in a bad way. Whilst they are designed to push you out of your comfort zone – whether it is half a day, a day, or an overnight stay – an Assessment Centre is a great opportunity to show off your skills and capabilities.

Assessment Centres usually consist of multiple activities, but these will differ depending on the law firm. Common activities that I have seen are: interviews; group exercises; partner-briefing exercises; in-tray exercises; personality/numerical/verbal reasoning tests.

Top 7 Tips: Assessment Centres

  1. Preparation is key. It is important to know the firm inside and out, and this is usually easy to do by looking at the firm’s website. Another crucial preparation task is to read through your CV and application form, as things mentioned on there might be relevant on the day.
  2. Dress the part. Make sure your shirt or blouse is ironed and your shoes are smart.
  3. Be yourself. The main thing that most firms look for in their candidates is a personality – they want to know that they are taking on someone who will get on with the team they are placed in, and the clients that they may be faced with. Rather than trying to be someone you are not – be the best version of yourself!
  4. Be confident. The firm will be less likely to take on a candidate who is too nervous to speak. Whilst nerves can be a good thing, try not to let them control you – be confident in yourself and your abilities.
  5. 100% effort, 100% of the time. Although there are set tasks that take up the bulk of the day, there will also be times where you have the opportunity to talk with the other candidates, trainees or graduate recruitment team. It is important to remain professional and polite, as you never know when someone is watching you.
  6. Know what tasks you will be doing. This may not always be possible, but it is always a good idea to find out what to expect, as this will in return help you to understand what they expect from you.
  7. Find out where you are going on the day. The last thing you want is to arrive late because you went to the wrong side of town, or got on the wrong bus. Prepare your travel arrangements in advance and maybe even print off a map if you are still unsure of the location.  

Whilst it is impossible to write down in a list of what each and every firm is looking for from a candidate on an Assessment Day, following these top tips is a good way to start. On the firms website will be a list of key competencies which the firm will use to assess its candidates. Familiarise yourself with these and demonstrate you possess them on the day.

Understandably, Assessment Centres are daunting and there may even be times on the day when you feel you have messed up. What is important to remember is that firms are not expecting perfection, you are assessed in many different ways – so even if one interview did not go to plan, keep motivated and do not let it knock your confidence.

Finally, good luck. If you have been invited to an Assessment Centre, it takes no genius to work out that the firm already likes you, so rather than being shy and doubtful, believe in yourself.

Words: Laura Brunt


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