Archives for the month of: September, 2012

So you’ve applied for a job and been invited to attend an assessment centre – your first thought may be “great they liked my CV” and your second thought might very well be “oh no an assessment centre – scary!”  I must confess despite having being involved in designing and running assessment centres for years I would still feel exactly the same.  Regardless of whether you are a new graduate or someone who has been working for years I think this is a natural reaction.

So how should you prepare for an assessment centre in order to ensure you give your best performance? First consider the obvious things – travel arrangements, dress code, start time and make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before.  Then think about the tasks you are likely to be asked to complete and how you can prepare for each of these.  You can certainly practice ability tests online and you will more than likely have an interview during the day so prepare for this as you would for any other interview http://www.macresourcing.com/candidates/services/.  There are plenty of books on the subject as well as internet articles and there are even some companies out there who offer assessment centre practice or coaching but this can be quite an expensive option.

Bear in mind that the assessment centre will be designed around a set of competencies so you should try to think about examples from your past experience where you have been able to demonstrate that you hold these competencies.  These examples do not all have to come from the workplace sometimes personal examples can be just as effective.

I have encountered a small number of people who have decided to withdraw their application rather than attend an assessment centre and I think that’s a real shame.  Only by stepping out of our comfort zone occasionally can we really find out what we are capable of.  If an assessment centre is well designed and managed you should find that you are undertaking tasks which are challenging but not impossible and these should be delivered in an environment designed to get the best out of you.  You should also receive some feedback after the event which will be useful for you whatever the eventual outcome of the assessment centre.

Finally it is worth remembering that the assessment centre is a two-way process and it is an opportunity for you to learn more about the company, its people, culture and so on so think about the questions that you would like to ask the company.  After an assessment centre you will certainly be tired but if you get the preparation right you should have learned quite a lot about yourself and the company and you can feel satisfied that you rose to the challenge despite your initial fears.  Be yourself but be your best self!

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As any student is aware, there is only so much you can learn in the confinements of University. It’s all very theoretical with a lack of opportunity to apply the abundance of newly gained knowledge. Thankfully there are a host of growing and developing companies out there willing to offer students an opportunity to challenge themselves in new ways during the summer break. Fortunately I was granted the opportunity to work within a fast growing and reputable consultancy company, Maritime Assurance & Consulting. I can honestly say I’ve been able to experience a succession of unique work which has varied extensively throughout my summer.

Having previously experienced a summer within a large service company, it would be fair to say that the extent of work experienced within MAC has been far more expansive. Because of this I’ve been able to not only build upon the skills which I already possessed but gain many more. Examples of this include gaining an insight into Dynamic Positioning (DP) which is an extensively utilised technology in the offshore industry, the ability to produce 3D designs of complex offshore structures, generate and evaluate RAO’s (Response Amplitude Operator) which are used to determine the likely behaviour of a vessel when operating at sea and finally my social skills, partaking in a number of meetings with clientele.

Additionally I found working within a relatively small organisation very advantageous as this has allowed me to work very closely with a number of very experienced engineers. I gained some invaluable knowledge because of this, as they spoke of their vast experiences with me, sharing the “do’s and don’t’s” of the industry. Furthermore I feel that having a smaller team promotes outstanding team-work and inadvertently contributes to unquestionable communication levels. It’s then no surprise that MAC was recognised at the 2012 Grampian Business Awards, winning the ‘Business Success – Under 3 Years’ category.

On a final note, any aspiring engineer should seriously consider gaining experience working within a consultancy company. This will enable them to broaden their range of skills, knowledge and engineering abilities through working on a vast range of projects at any one time.

Grant hard at work in the MAC office

This Blog Post was contributed by Grant Singer, M Eng Mechanical Engineering Student at the University of Aberdeen who is currently undertaking a Summer Placement with Maritime Assurance & Consulting.

For more information on Maritime Assurance and Consulting visit www.mac-l.com

For more information MAC Resourcing and for vacancies visit www.macresourcing.com