As a graduate recruitment rep within Group 16, one of the sub-groups of the Analyst Consulting Group (ACG), I currently help Accenture analysts get involved in events from university fairs to assessment days.
It’s been one of my favourite extra-curricular activities as I’ve been on the other side as a prospective joiner and can offer genuine and hopefully helpful advice. In this blog, I wanted to share some of my experiences and advice on the eagerly anticipated assessment days.
“Try to relax and have fun” I was told by friends, family and HR, however at the time, fun was the least of my prerogatives. Nonetheless, being relaxed is certainly something I would strongly encourage. I know it’s hard and I struggled as I would always be one to stay up late the night before rewriting my scripts and scripts of notes. Whilst detail is important, in hindsight I did not recognise how much professional behaviours were valued. The assessment day isn’t like passing a written test, like previous university exams, it was about much more than that – especially within a consultancy. If you’re sleep deprived or tense, then these behaviours inherently become effected.
Once your sleep and energy levels are on point, make sure you arrive in good time to avoid any last minute rushes. Not only will this help relax you but it actually helps you learn more about the culture of the business as you can see departments busy in their normal days work.
My next pointer would be read up on Accenture’s core values. These are used everywhere throughout the organisation and can really be applied in the assessment centre. Such as ‘Respect for the Individual’ – I know when I did the group activity we all individually had an opportunity to actively participate and these inputs were valued. Appreciating diversity is how the greatest ideas are made so I would certainly make an effort to reach out to those quieter in your group! It seems small but it may prompt them to suggest something you would have otherwise missed.
My third and final point: justify, justify, justify. It may seem confrontational that you could be directly asked to explain why you have made a decision but simply identify what the benefits and drawbacks are, and why you made that choice over others (this is certainly a constant process within Accenture). Always use the client’s interests as the driving factor for these. Undoubtedly you may have to prioritise these requirements but you should always aim to deliver the highest value solution. I recall being asked why I didn’t opt for the premium solution for a client which would have helped satisfy a lot more requirements however I recognised that they had a strict budget and that going for an advanced option would have gone past their limits.
Whilst, the structure and content will change among assessment centres inside and outside Accenture, these are the common strategies I focussed on and I hope these three points provide some use in your experiences going forward. I wish you all the best in your applications into Accenture – remember ‘try to relax’ out there!