Placement Interviews & Assessment Centres: Top Tips
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Sent off your CV, filled in the application form and smashed the phone interview?
The final stage of applying for a placement is usually an interview or assessment centre - or both!
This is a chance for employers to get to know you more, but also for you to find out more about the role and whether it’s right for you.
Read this guide to prepare for the process and give yourself the best shot at securing your dream placement.
Assessment centres are designed to test your skill set and see how you approach specific work situations.
You can expect the likes of…
"What's going to make me stand out?"
Virtual Assessment Centres
Since Covid-19 hit in 2020, a lot of employers have moved their entire application process online. So you might be invited to what’s known as a virtual assessment centre.
These are pretty similar to the traditional in-person assessment centres - except you won’t need to travel to the company’s offices.
Our Guide to Virtual Assessment Centres contains everything you need to know about virtual assessment centres and how to prepare.
More advice on how to prepare for assessment centres from former placement student Lámidé Elizabeth...
The main purpose of the interview is for employers to get to know you more and see if you’re a good fit for the role and company.
"What are they likely to ask me?"
"Should I ask questions at the end?"
Most interviewers wrap up proceedings by asking “Do you have any questions?”.
Rather than asking a question just for the sake of it, or to fill the awkward silence, it’s a good idea to come prepared with two or three suitable questions.
This will prove to employers that you’re keen to learn more and are serious about the role.
Here are a few examples of questions to ask at the end of your interview:
"And what should I wear?"
If you’re unsure what the dress code is at the company you’re interviewing for, always email in advance so you don’t end up standing out for the wrong reasons.
Your best bet is to go smart. That way you’ll look like you’ve made an extra effort to look professional and impress your potential future employer. (Think less university library attire, more fine dining with the Queen.)
And if your placement interview or assessment centre is virtual, make sure you match your bottom half to your top in case you need to get out of your seat.
In summary, fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.
The secret to nailing interviews is simply coming prepared with relevant questions, answers and examples that convince employers you’re the perfect match.
GOOD LUCK, we have all our fingers and toes crossed for you!
Written by Louise
Louise is a Senior Content Writer at RateMyPlacement.co.uk. Having started her own career with four unpaid internships, she jumped at the chance to help others make better, more informed decisions about their futures. Since joining in 2018, Louise has penned countless blogs and how-to guides, alongside award-winning campaigns that connect millions of young people with top employers like Lidl, J.P. Morgan and Police Now. With seven years writing experience, Louise has previously covered everything from Wowcher vouchers to Ghanaian music festivals - making her more versatile than Vaseline. She currently works in Bristol with her cat Peggy