Assessment days at Explore Learning: what are they really like?
July 18, 2018
Hi! My name’s Nick. I’ve been with Explore since 2016, where I started as a tutor to supplement my Master’s degree. I quickly realised that it was a place that I wanted to stay, so applied for the Assistant Director role! Here’s my experience of the assessment day…
I’d heard lots about the assessment day for the Assistant Director role at Explore Learning and was so excited to have made it to the final interview stage.
Once I arrived, I joined a bunch of excited yet nervous-looking graduates. We had a chat about where we were from and what we expected from the Assessment Day, while we waited for everyone to arrive before getting started.
One of the best things about the day is that I wasn’t competing with other candidates. If everyone does well, everyone will be offered a position – even if it’s a delayed start. I made friends with the other candidates, which definitely helped put us all at ease. I had worked at Explore as a tutor for a few years, so it was great to share my passion and knowledge of the company with the other candidates.
The day gets going with a short presentation about the company and then the day is separated into sections, with an interview, presentation, role play, lunch and group activity. There are copious amounts of tea and nibbles to keep you going until lunch too.
You’ll be given a timetable showing where you need to be and when. Although I was nervous before I went, the team at the head office quickly put my mind at ease – most of them have been through the exact situation as you are now, so they totally understand!
It’s a formal interview, and you’ll need to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and how you would approach a plethora of scenarios – the interview is a fantastic place to talk about your people skills. I ended up chatting about pets and people I currently work with. When discussing skills or experiences, give examples to back these up, and draw on what you got from them personally. I discussed my close bond with a particular child with special educational needs, and how proud I was of him for the progress he is making. Can you think of anything that has made you feel that way?
Personal Compass Presentation
The presentation is your opportunity to let the team know who you are, and where you’re headed. When I attended, we had to create a ‘personal compass’, detailing what we’d been doing, where we’re going and so on. This is a good chance to talk about your experiences pertaining to the job, but it’s also a great place to talk about something you’re passionate about. Most of my presentation was about my pet snakes; we had a great discussion, and I was able to show more dimensions of my personality!
The Role play
This is a great chance to demonstrate how you have taken on feedback from the initial role play you did at the centre interview. You’ll be in the position of talking to a prospective parent and ultimately trying to secure a free trial session for them at Explore Learning. They will have unique barriers to booking a trial, and you’ll need to overcome this in order to succeed. Make sure you take your time – there is no rush to complete this task. My golden rule is to take an interest. Be genuine and just talk to the parent. That first impression will last a long time, and building that rapport is especially important, so show off here!
I was disappointed with my role play. I was nervous and I rushed. I didn’t book a trial and I was gutted because I had done it so many times in real life while working as a tutor at Explore. Again, you’ll be asked to reflect, so be as honest as possible with what you’d improve on next time.
A highlight of the day was being treated to lunch at Zizzi. It was great to relax and get to know the other candidates and Explore staff a bit more!
The group activity was a role play of sorts, where we were charities seeking funding from the ‘board’. You have 10 minutes and it does not last long at all. You’re there to demonstrate good leadership skills, including being able to listen and take on feedback. At the end, you’ll be asked to reflect on what happened. This is a good chance to isolate any mistakes that you made and suggest ways that you would improve if you did the task again.
Driving home from Guildford, I had no idea how I’d done. But the next day I received a very excited call offering me the job! Approach the assessment day with as much positivity as you can; you wouldn’t be in that position if you couldn’t do it.
If you’re looking for a career in education, business and leadership – check out the Assistant Director role.
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