Before you attend BT's assessment centre, read our advice on the different stages you should expect to encounter. What are BT's recruiters looking to see in their candidates and what can you do to impress and stand out from the crowd.
BT invites applicants who have been successful in its video interview to an assessment centre. Along with a group of other candidates, you’ll complete a number of tasks designed to assess how you work and approach problems.
To find out what is involved in BT’s assessment centres, TARGETjobs spoke to Carly Walsh, a graduate recruitment advisor (and a recent graduate herself), who shared her advice and insights.
What to expect at BT’s assessment centre
If you impress recruiters during the video interview, the final stage of BT’s graduate recruitment process is a day-long assessment centre. This assessment day is made up of a number of stages:
- a group exercise
- three short exercises that you complete individually
- a face-to-face one-on-one interview with an assessor.
Carly adds, ‘At most assessment centres there’ll be current graduates to answer any questions about what it’s like being a graduate at BT.’ Remember an assessment centre is also your opportunity to find out more about BT.
How you can impress at the group exercise
In groups of between five and ten, you and other candidates will be given a task to complete. Recruiters will be on the look out to see how you work with others. Many of BT’s graduate programmes (such as its sales, client service management and security graduate programmes) specifically ask for ‘team players’ in the job listing – so it’s important for you to show that you can work successfully with a group. Carly reassures, ‘There’s no right or wrong outcome to the task – no one is being “knocked-out” for not completing the task – we’re looking at how you deal with the task at hand.’
The aim of the group exercise isn’t to stand out, or to be the loudest person in the room, instead it’s to be a good team player. Show you are listening to, and taking on-board, the suggestions of other candidates in order to come to a solution you are presented with. ‘It’s as much about how you listen and communicate with others as it is about the ideas you are contributing,’ says Carly.
Focus on showcasing your teamwork and communication skills and work towards the success of the group as a whole. For examples, ways you could focus on the group’s success include making suggestions about how to approach the task (such as by splitting into sub-groups to tackle different problems, if appropriate) or volunteering to be a scribe or to take notes for the rest of the group.
What’s involved in BT’s individual assessments
Each candidate will complete three exercises on top of the group exercise. However, unlike the group exercise, this is done individually. You’ll enter a room with an assessor, and you’ll be given around ten or fifteen minutes to read through a brief and another ten or fifteen minutes to present your answer.
These assessments are problem solving tasks and are somewhat like an expanded version of BT’s situational strengths test – you will be given a hypothetical workplace scenario and be asked how you would respond to these. However, unlike this previous assessment, you will likely need to explain your choices and elaborate your thinking behind your response.
We’re not certain as to what these situations will involve, but they’re likely to be quite closely related to what you would be doing as part of everyday work in the role that you are applying for. As such, before the assessment centre, make sure you are familiar with the job description and the skills and qualities that BT are looking for.
Additionally, Carly advises that, ‘The values of personal, simple and brilliant are lived out through everyone’s role every day when you’re working here. If you can demonstrate that during the assessments, then that would be very impressive for recruiters.’ Look into BT’s values and corporate vision on BT’s ‘purpose and strategy’ web page and consider how you would convey these in your responses and your actions throughout the day.
Top tip: use your time wisely
‘Try and keep calm under pressure,’ states Carly, ‘you’re given time to prepare and there’s usually a lot of information for you to get through – so it’s about prioritising. Try and pick out the key bits of information and use your time wisely.’
Applying to a technology scheme?
If you’re applying to one of BT’s technology graduate programmes (such as the networks, software or technical consultant schemes), two of these three individual assessments will be done using virtual reality. Carly explains, ‘We’re assessing all of the same strengths – candidates are assessed in exactly the same way as the other streams – it’s a new and innovative way we’re currently using for the tech programmes.’ Don’t worry about having had previous experience of using VR, Carly is clear that you’ll be given plenty of times to acquaint yourself with the system. For the tech schemes, these VR exercises are compulsory – however, Carly reassures that if there are extenuating circumstances, BT will accommodate for this.