How to prepare for your assessment

We’re looking forward to seeing you

If you’re taking part in an assessment, you might be wondering what to expect. We will do everything we can to support you through your assessment, so that you enjoy and gain real value from the experience. Here’s everything you need to know to put your best foot forward.

Our advice

An independent assessment provides valuable opportunities to reflect, and to obtain suggestions on your leadership approach. Our key advice for optimising your experience is:

  • Decide what you want to achieve from the experience. We notice that people with clear goals for their recruitment or development assessments tend to gain more value from them.
  • Complete the online questionnaires by the timeframe requested.
  • Plan to be on time. We’ll let you know your specific start time. You’ll feel more relaxed if you allow yourself sufficient time to arrive promptly.
  • Remember any glasses or other aids you might require. You do not need to bring anything else with you.
  • Let us know what we can do to help. For example, tell us if you have any cultural or dietary requirements, or any physical or other disabilities we can take steps to accommodate. Where necessary, we also work hard to protect your confidentiality.
  • Relax and be yourself. We appreciate that many people feel apprehensive about ‘being assessed’. We will do all we can to support you through the process and put your best foot forward.

If you’re seeing us by videoconference, we suggest that you:

  • Create a comfortable environment. Remember to complete your assessment somewhere you won’t be interrupted, with a reliable internet connection and access to either a printer or two screens (e.g. phone and computer, or two computer screens) if you are participating in a simulation.
  • Plan refreshments. For longer assessments, ensuring that you set yourself up with food and drink can help you to be your best on the day.
  • Allow for breaks. We’ll provide opportunities to take breaks, to reduce ‘videoconference fatigue’. If you’d like to take additional breaks, please let us know.

What’s involved

We design our assessments to allow you to demonstrate your strengths and skills. The exact content of your assessment will depend on the purpose and focus of your assessment. Typically, the steps you will complete are:

Complete online questionnaires and exercises You may complete questionnaires including self-assessments, personality inventories, and/or 360° feedback surveys. You might also complete verbal and/or numerical analysis exercises. Often, these questionnaires and exercises will take around two hours in total to complete. Your responses will help us understand your work style, preferences, and motivations. This helps us to tailor your assessment and explore the areas most relevant to you.

Take part in an assessment or development centre

Attending in person

When you arrive at Cerno, we will welcome you and brief you on the timetable, assessment exercises, and facilities. There will always be someone available to answer questions and provide you with any assistance you may need.

Taking part by videoconference

If you complete your assessment by videoconference, you will receive the instructions and materials you need by email. You are welcome to call us at any time if you have any questions or need assistance.

Completing the exercises

The most common exercises are:

  • Interview: In the interview, we will ask about your experiences, your approach to the key challenges of leadership, and how you have demonstrated different skills. The interview allows us to hear how you’ve approached ‘real life’ situations.
  • Meeting simulation: You might take part in a simulated meeting with a direct report, stakeholder, or other individual (who is played by a trained actor). You will prepare for the meeting based on a written briefing which describes the scenario and objectives (e.g. coaching, performance management, or relationship management). Meeting simulations allow us to ‘see you in action’, enabling us to provide deeper insights into your strengths and give specific and developmentally useful feedback.
  • Media interview: You might participate in a simulated media interview with a high-profile journalist. You will be given information to help you prepare for your media interview. A media interview enables us to observe your media skills first hand.

At your assessment, you will be joined by one or two Cerno organisational psychologists who specialise in leadership assessment. You may also be joined by a representative(s) of the employing organisation.

Discuss your results

Regardless of the purpose of your assessment, you will have the opportunity to receive feedback and/or coaching. Your Cerno consultant will assist you to gain as much value as possible from your assessment results. The discussion will focus on your strengths, steps you can take to build your capability, and any questions you might have.

If you attend a development centre, you will receive a development report prior to your coaching discussion (i.e. describing your strengths and providing development suggestions).

If you are assessed as part of a recruitment process, you may also receive a written report. This depends on the organisation that asked you to attend the centre and the purpose of your assessment. These reports have been carefully designed so you can use them to enhance your skills.