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I am after some advice in regards to an assessment day I have coming up in 38 days time. I am a computer science graduate who graduated last year and have since been having difficulty finding work. I have had a bit of luck in being accepted (through passing a phone interview) and have now been invited to an 'assessment day'.

The company involved is an IT solutions and consultancy company. The job position is titled 'graduate IT consultant').

I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice in what to expect on these 'assessment days'. Will it be a day of tests or would it be a day when we are given tasks (maybe in groups) and then observed to see how we handle those tasks to find a solution? I really haven't the slightest idea and so am wondering through people who have been through a similar experience (even with other companies) what they found.

I am after advice in regards to what to study for this position. At university I was exposed to JAVA programming and some design work that was associated with that. This job being an 'graduate IT consultant' position I am after advice in what area to focus in. Would focusing in system analysis & system design be most suited or should I just continue focusing on my programming skills and maybe look into design patterns etc?

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closed as too broad by GlenH7, MichaelT, gnat, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Dynamic Nov 29 '13 at 4:51

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Take some time to learn about the company and how they treat developers. Remember, you're interviewing them as well. –  JeffO Jul 28 '11 at 13:35
You are a computer science graduate who was only exposed to Java and programming design concepts on a single programming language? –  Ramhound Jul 28 '11 at 13:40

2 Answers 2

An assessment day is normally a way for the company to get a large pool of applicants looked at by a group of people in the company. It's really a time saving effort on their front.

I attended two assessment days when I had just graduated from my degree.

There is normally a presentation about the company, then some group exercises where candidates are put into teams and asked to do some task that normally doesn't have anything to do with programming. It's more of a team building exercise. There will be people there observing and guiding the candidates.

The there is normally a walk through of the offices, and an interview section. In both cases for me, candidates were asked to speak with 3 or more people. Everyone had their own set of questions. Each interview was short, less than 10min but the interviewing section could take up to an hour depending on how many people you have to talk to.

The key to these types of assessment days is to stand out. Because you are in a group of people, if you don't stand out you will probably be forgotten.

I would suggest, go over your resume and make sure you know it. Have a good rehearsed answer to anything you highlight. Did you put your final project on there? Make sure you can give a high overview of it in under 2min. Do you have some relevant work experience? Make sure you can communicate exactly what you did and how you could apply it in the future. The more time you take to think, the less questions they get to ask you.

Make sure you research the company. Have questions about the company about what they do. See if you can use something one interviewer said in a question for another interviewer. Bonus points if you can name the other interviewer when you ask the question.

For the team building exercises, be a team player. Work with everyone, make sure everyone's voice gets heard. Don't shy away and don't over power.

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Show the company that you have some initiative and contact them direct to find out more about what you should expect on the day. They are unlikely to cancel your assessment day because you showed an interest and wanted more information!

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+1 for initiative. Then study study study the things they say are important. Cram just like you were in college. –  Scott Wilson Jul 28 '11 at 13:01

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