The emoji scale of assessment centres: the good, the bad and the crying laughing face

Final year marketing graduate Caroline writes this week's grad blog, as she describes her emotions (or emojis) during her initial assessment day.

I remember my assessment day so clearly, it was the final hurdle of the recruitment process and I knew I wanted to give it my all. I’m quite an emotive person so for me it was a roller-coaster on the inside. More than a year later, I’m just about to finish the marketing graduate programme at BGL Group and wanted to self-reflect on the final stage of the recruitment process.

8am: Waking up in the hotel around the corner [sleepy face], feeling apprehensive about what was in store for the day. I’d spent the night before prepping for my individual presentation on Life Insurance for Millennials, and I was raring to go with some creative ideas [lightbulb emoji].

I headed to BGL HQ, by Google maps of course, and was greeted in the visitor’s lounge where I found a number of other candidates waiting. Me being me, I immediately tried to break any awkward silences by asking people how far they’d travelled and if their hotel beds were as uncomfortable as mine. They were all nice people [sigh face] and I began to relax a little more knowing we were all in the same boat [boy in the boat emoji].

9am: Breakfast with the previous graduates was a nice touch, plus I was starving and needed energy for the day ahead [the tongue-out]. We mingled for about an hour and I found it really inspiring to hear from the graduates, knowing that they were really enjoying working here and all of the cool things they’d been up to as graduates. [cool sunglasses face] 

11am: They called my name to go in and meet interviewers, and have my individual interview and presentation [gritted teeth face] this is it! My interviewers were Kath Harrop and Matthew Gledhill, both extremely accomplished directors in BGL Group who have between them an extraordinary amount of wealth of knowledge. They were the right balance between friendly - putting me at ease initially and professional - to keep me on my toes. We chatted a little about where I was from, the northern accent tends to immediately give me away. I was secretly hoping that my friendliness was starting to win them over [angel face]. I went straight into my presentation, which I was really excited to share with the interviewers. I think it went well, they said I brought to light some key problems with the young insurance market and that I had answered the question well [cocky side-smile]. Next up was the competency interview, and for me, this makes or breaks you. The questions didn’t take me off guard [wide eyed face] and I was glad I’d prepared some answers before that had my relevant work experience and skills blended into them. But it wasn’t rehearsed, as I didn’t want any extra pressure on myself in that moment. The whole thing lasted about an hour, and I spoke as much as I could to get myself and my points across in the best way [chatty face]. I’d done all I could for that part of the day, and I left feeling unsure that I’d done enough to get onto the competitive programme, but knowing that I’d done my very best [soft smile].

12pm: After the interview, we took on some more numerical and verbal tests, this time they were more practical to the business. I wouldn’t say numerical tests are my best friend so at this point I was a little demoralised [angry face], but the second test was much better for me. I won’t spoil it but it did involve analysing a hilarious TV advert [crying laughing face].

1pm: The last activity of the day was a group task with some other candidates, and it was viewed by around 10 people at BGL. They were there to check people out individually, making sure what you said was captured and the way you went about the task. The first thing that we did is a time check, an important factor in any task [clock emoji]. We didn’t have long to prepare and the question was quite challenging and it provoked discussion. One thing I learned is that you don’t have to speak constantly, but it’s more important to speak when it’s valid and adding to the conversation – [calm face]. It can be quite intense during the group task, and I found that the people who came across the best were those who gave others a chance to speak and have their say too, while also challenging when they felt it was necessary.

2pm: The day wrapped, we each got a cuddly gift for coming along and we were told we’d hear back about two weeks after the day. We all left [running man] and a few of us went into Peterborough centre to grab some food and a drink before travelling home. On the train back to Newcastle I felt proud of myself for what I’d accomplished throughout the day [big smile], and then I fell asleep! [asleep emoji]
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