How should I prepare for a promotional assessment centre?
The key to your mental preparation before the promotional assessment centre is to assess and prioritised the KSA's of the role you've applied for. You should also speak to senior management in order to understand exactly what they are looking for in the successful candidate.
Remember, you have to demonstrate who you are, how you'd operate in the role and what you would do for yourself, the organisation and those who report to, or work for you. You would achieve this by using key phrases identified in your KSA preparation and maximising the times you illustrate them. Assessors will not assume you have certain attributes they have on their score card or rating sheet, you have to actually draw their attention to them.
A part of your preparation you should develop scenarios for each exercise you have to take part in at the assessment centre. Within these scenarios look at which of the KSA's you've developed need to be included in each exercise. From this you will see the opportunities to repeat certain behaviours. This is especially important as certain KSA's cross several of the rating areas.
By critiquing each of these practises you will be equipping yourself with the knowledge you need to maximise your score. In this way your KSA flash cards will be an evolving support aid, helping to increase your lead over the other candidates. So even if you are unsuccessful with your first visit to an assessment centre your Flash cards will significantly increase your own resources for the next time. Treat each run-through or true exercise as a learning opportunity for your personal development equipping you with the KSA's you'll need in your new role.
One of the most effective ways you can achieve this is to have your own examples listed on each specific KSA flash card and to use them during the exercises as often as appropriate maximise your score If you've not been told which ones, then create a scenarios for all the exercises we have discussed in the same way. You will then be prepared for most eventualities.
Assessor will only be able to observe and classify the behaviours you show in an exercise. It is up to You to provide the best material you can and to clearly indicate you have all the KSA's needed to perform the role. By frequent referral to how you'd perform the role, use of your research and how your new role benefits the organisation and its operations will provide the assessor with what he needs to be able to fill in the boxes or make notes.
If you are applying for promotion to a top level management or strategic role, you will find that the in-tray exercise requires you to produce written responses to items. You should use this opportunity to demonstrate as much knowledge as possible of the organisation's policies and ethos.
It is vital that you develop as many examples of how you would do things, as well as, what you would do in your new role. In addition, you must watch your use of jargon as not all assessors may have the same knowledge base. In today's world it is hard to find a profession that hasn't developed its own language or acronyms.
If you need to use jargon, then make sure you qualify its meaning and context. A useful tip to use is to ask the other participant, say in the role play or group exercise to stop you and ask for an explanation if you use jargon they don't understand. This is often more important for the higher level positions. These are the attributes that will increase your score.
Finally, you must always act as if you are in the role already. In this way you will provide ample opportunities for your Assessors to observe and assess the KSA's you are displaying in the exercises. You should find as many potential ways to introduce examples and statistics from your research. Look for possibilities to bring in facts about the current state of the market place or community, competitors strategies, stakeholders interests and the recent (last five years) changes within the organisation or company. If you perform in this way you will display as many of your KSA's as possible.