ASSESSMENT CENTRES – GROUP DISCUSSIONS
More and more employers are using assessment centres as a tool for assessing potential employees for specific careers and jobs in a variety of sectors. Not all positions will require the use of an assessment centre; however, they can be an invaluable resource for both filtering out initial applications and also determining who will progress through to the interview stage.
Assessment centres can consist of many different elements, all of which are decided by the employer based on the requirements of the role and the types of person(s) they want to employ. Let’s take a look at one of the more common elements used at an assessment centre, the group discussion:
Group discussions are usually used at assessment centres where the role requires an ability to communicate effectively with others and also an ability to work to a high standard with a team of other people. A group discussion session may start off with the test administrator giving the group a specific topic to discuss. The topic may sometimes be controversial or one that encourages open debate and discussion amongst the members of the assessment centre. Here are a number of tips to help you prepare for
Tip 1 – You should sit upright in the chair and demonstrate good presentation at all times during the group discussion session. Do not slouch and try to act as a positive role model to thee others in thee room.
Tip 2 – The group discussion session will normally last for 30 minutes where you will be required to discuss a number of different topics. It is very important that you get involved and even try to start off one of the discussions, providing that is you have an opinion on the subject matter. If you don’t know much about the topic you are required to speak about, you may decide to start off by saying:
“Does anybody have any strong views on this topic?”
By saying this, you will be actively involved in the conversation and you will be also involving others into the conversation.
Tip 3 – Once you have finished saying your bit, try to involve other people in the discussion. You may decide to say:
“That’s my view on this subject, what do you think?”
Once again you will score higher marks for actively involving others into the conversation.
Tip 4 – Involve other people who have not yet had chance to speak. If you notice a member of the group struggling to get their opinion heard, try saying something like:
“I notice you haven’t had the chance to say anything yet, what’s your view on this subject?”
This will demonstrate effective team working skills.
Tip 5 – Actively demonstrate good listening skills throughout the group discussion. Nod your head when other people are speaking and show a level of enthusiasm for the subject matter. Don’t sit on the fence and have an opinion about the subject you are discussing.
Tip 6 – Speak clearly and concisely. During the group discussion be clear in what you say, speak up and avoid hesitations such as ‘erm’ or ‘agh’. In addition to other areas, you are being assessed on your oral communication skills.
Now let’s take a look at a number of sample topics that have been used in the past.
Sample group discussion topics
Are speed cameras effective?
How could the use and popularity of public transport be increased within this country?
Are professional footballers overpaid?
Is the increase in overseas football club owners good for the sport?
The pros and cons of having a credit card.
Marijuana has a medical value.
The pros and cons of a female President.
Should schools distribute condoms?
Life imprisonment is a good alternative to capital punishment.
What makes a good leader?