Written on: 29/05/2012 by justlooking12
Attended a assesment centre in wilmslow yesterday, brilliant office in a moderately far out location. First thing you notice is the sheer volume of candidates who walk through the doors, day ran out of schedule because of the volume of candidates. Staff are very friendly and punctual. Firstly bring a lunch as they provide light refreshments being coffee, fruit and crisps. Initially you begin with 'self-introduction' which all concerns rapport building and ability to have a decent rapport with the graduate manager. Eye contact, ability to build a conversation that sort of thing. Secondly you move onto the group tasks which are purely your ability to work within a group and get a task completely, looking at things such as negotiation, staying calm under pressure, ability to listen to others. The 2nd group task is a trick as the grad manager will tell you exactly what to do is the trick is to follow his brief exactly. Although the Graduate Manager was a bit of an ass, he was correct in saying that 'gain maximum points' not win as most groups assume they are working against each other. The key to this task is to build 'trust' between the groups and gain 'maximum' points as you will never get repeat business or work with clients if there is no element of trust. You then get a 1-2-1 interview with one of the joeys which is quite generic. Answer all the questions albeit if you salary expectations are too high or your geographical location is quite restricted they will not be that willing to forward your application no matter what your experience is. Qutie rightly so, they look for a entry level candidate fresh from university who is customer service orientated, great talker and great team worker in essence. The presentation itself if qutie straight forward, talk for 3 mins regarding why you are the best and why you want to work in sales for pareto. Really sell yourself there! do not bring in mounds of flash cards or loads of material unless really necessary are 3 mins is gone in a flash. Maintain eye contact, show your personilty and be outgoing. If one of the interviewers does pay attention carry on and ignore this. Finally there is the group presentation which is not scored at all, it is merely a chance to buy them time to wrap things up and do all there interviews ect... this is a chance to have fun and have a laugh so dont take it too seriously.
To end the day, you'll end up being split in to group, the ones who have got the jobs and they ones who havent unfortunately. They will then tell you if you are successful and tell you how it really depends on if you had the correct behaviour for certain roles. One applicat who was quite poor all round who had the only medical degree was put forward for the medical sales job. It all depends on your degree, location and what your expectations are. If you expect to much and have alot of experience, i wouldnt recommend going unless sales is really your forte.
My overall experience was positive and at no detriment to the pareto team they were all great in hosting the assesment centre. Just becareful asking to go to the toilet as they frown upon this as it ruins the run down of the day. As for the graduate manager richard, he does well to run the day and explain all even though he does have a rather large patronising ego so watch out for him. As for the other helpers, they were cool and really supporting. I would only recommend this job for someone with a sales attiude and loves sociable 'transparent' banter. Good experience, if your travelling from aberdeen you have a good chance as they loads of opportunityies around there especially if you want a wage under 16,000 approximately.
In summary, good experience bit of a waste of my day and the long drive home didnt help either. My advise to all considering attending is, Pareto telephone interviews before hand dont really care about your CV (REAL TALK), they just want to see what your like in person and if you do what you say on the tin. They invite quantity and not quality and its a bit unflattering that they dont really care about your CV 'ITS NOT WHAT YOU SAY, ITS HOW YOU SAY IT'. BTW, on the telephone interview ask the locations which are recruiting at the time otherwise there may be no point of you attending.