Posted by: davidjamesnaylor | April 2, 2015

Rising From the Ashes- Lessons Learned from my Assessment Centre

It’s never a nice feeling to miss out on something you feel could have set you up in your ideal industry. I’ve just missed out on a placement that felt perfect for me- a year working at Warner Brothers, which would have revolved around the exciting task of communicating their social responsibility programmes to a global audience as a corporate intern.

Big of a kick in the career-nuts then, but alas, each failure is but a stepping stone on the river of life (or something like that). Onwards and Upwards…

Lessons learned

Perhaps the placement wasn’t that perfect for me after all; if it was, I’d probably be sitting here with a beaming smile and  the offer of a job. Lesson Number One: Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. I wasn’t particularly interested in any other placements, but my options for next year have been shortened nonetheless. A few more cheeky applications here and there to at least give me some more decisions to make may have been wiser. It would have taken a bit of the pressure off on the day too. I always had the feeling of THIS IS IT! in the back of my mind throughout the day, which probably didn’t help me relax!

Lesson Number Two: Sell the job to yourself before you have to sell yourself to someone else. I’m the worlds’ worst small-talker. Whilst it doesn’t bother me too much, I wish I could have talked more fluently about my reasons for wanting the placement on the big day. I didn’t put nearly enough thought into articulating my reasons for wanting to apply before I went; which in hindsight was a big mistake. It would also have been useful chatting to the other candidates a bit more, trying to settle in as soon as I arrived before the dreaded two truths-one lie ‘ice-breaker’ exercise, which is a nightmare when all you can think to say is Ummm, I dunno when an assessor asks “What do you think David…”

Lesson Number Three: Be your own Awesome Self. The biggest lesson I’ve taken away is to try be yourself in every moment, no matter how desperately the manic part of you tries to copy others or blurt something out just for the sake of being heard. I said barely anything in the ice-breaker exercise, before delivering a very nervy presentation after that- and yet I still made it through to the post-lunch stages. I think that the assessors wanted to see more of what I could offer, especially after I took the chance in the lunch break to have some more productive conversations with the assessors along the lines of “I REALLY want this placement because…”, and “What is it about Corporate Responsibility that gets YOU out of bed every day?”. A bit of sucking up never goes amiss!

Hope you have better luck!


  1. Thanks David, I used your insights with a student last week and we both found this Blog very helpful!

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