Well, I recently just attended an Aviva assessment centre so I can talk about it. I would try to be as explicit as possible in my message so that other people can benefit. Also, I would be speaking from personal experience.
You will have dinner arranged for you the night before the assessment day so make sure that you arrive in time for it. It will get you relaxed as you prepare for the following day. Dinner was booked at a nice restaurant called Mcintosh between 6:30-7:00pm but people stayed at the restaurant till 10pm. If you are a person who needs a good night sleep to perform optimally the following day then, feel free to leave when you are ready but do not expect other people to follow suit.
You are not bound by any rule to spend a good amount of time chatting away needlessly.
THE ASSESSMENT DAY
There were taxis waiting outside but you need to approach the taxi drivers because you never really know which one has been booked for the Aviva candidates.
When you arrive at the venue, you would be led to the common waiting area by the recruiters. The assessors were waiting when we got there.
We were twelve in number (8 new grads and 4 grads already working for Aviva) and we were split into two groups.
The exercises for the day were Competency Interview (CBI), Fast track exercise, Group discussion and presentation with breaks in between.
In my group, we had our interview and Fast track exercise first, followed by lunch and then a brief walk to the Aviva office. We then had the last two exercises when we got back from the office.
I really cannot remember the exact questions here but they are not different from the ones that will be sent in the assessment day briefing pack. Remember to follow the STAR/CAR approach. Quality is more important than content. To start your interview, you will get questions like “why Aviva”. Prepare answers to questions like ’ give an example of a time you were given a responsibility that would not necessarily match what you do normally"
‘when have you brought about change/innovation to a process?’ ’ when you have worked in a team where peoples’ opinions are different to yours?’,’ what have you done to ensure progress at work.school- meeting goals kinda question?’
USE the guidelines in the briefing pack to prepare answers to questions.
FAST TRACK EXERCISE
I loved this part of the day! HAVE A STOPWATCH to keep track of time but do not look at it too much. The exercise was about spotting trends and answering questions based on the spotted trend.
There were about 8 DIFFERENT sections.
One section was about awarding points to customers based on travel destinations, class of travel and code.You had to decide the number of points that should be awarded to some customers? Personally, one was easy to decide but others required good judgement. First of all, I separated the CUE cards based on codes. For each code, I looked at the flight destinations (is customer flying within Europe, within America or trans-atlantic?) and the points awarded to each category and this helped with answering the questions.
THIS IS ONE EXAMPLE OUT OF EIGHT/NINE SECTIONS. I cannot explain all the other ones but it’s not NUMERICAL OR VERBAL although it is SHL. It is a business simulation game
Another section was about meeting times in different continents of the world. The companies organise video-conference meetings with other offices in diff parts of the world. You had to decide how many hours behind GMT some countries were in order to decide what the meeting times will be.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND WORK FAST.
We were six in my discussion group and your table is positioned in the middle with assessors on both sides of the table but a good distance away. It is more like a football pitch-seating arrangement. We were given 5 mins prep time, 30mins discussion time and 15 mins presentation time. We had to come up with four notable icons in the last 100 years, voting is not allowed. As individuals, we were to come up with three icons during our prep time.
In my group, there were two glory-hunters who were much interested in showmanship than anything else! All I could here them say was “personally”, “me”, “my friend” et al…!There were also “idea-bashers”! Personally, I think that until people consciously give other people time to speak,we are bound to fail as a group! I will not be surprised if nobody in my group gets the job!
People have to remember that they are not competing against other people at all so you do not need to have the loudest voice in the group! The fact that somebody else thinks that her fast track exercise went well and you think that yours did not go well does not mean that outspeaking everyone else during the group discussion will make up for it!
People are also to quick to speak these days! We had not gone round the table to hear the names that people had before the glory-hunters hijacked the discussion! This is a very bad way to start a discussion!
We had 30mins to discuss. I was going to suggest that we should go round the table so everybody has the opportunity to mention a name that they thought about with maybe one or two reasons. If one name is mentioned by two or more pple then argue it and have an elimination process for the other names mentioned obviously with new suggestions for very unsuitable names!
KEEP TRACK OF TIME
A team member volunteered to write the four names that we had decided on the board and we presented them to the assessors and answered questions. Feel free to follow any method but be aware that it’s a group discussion and the best way to start a discussion is allow everybody to have a say in it! Idea-bashing is great but glory-hunting and showmanship is not good for the team as a whole and the individual!
We had one hour of prep time for this. This is about an insurance company whose valuation had just been completed and you had to work out why the expected shareholder closing fund value differed from the actual shareholder closing fund value.
Read through the brief quickly AS YOU MAY RUN OUT OF TIME and work out things which should be deducted or added to the opening shareholder fund value.
THERE IS A GLOSSARY OF TERMs AT THE BACK THAT DEFINES A SHAREHOLDER FUND VALUE SO CHECK THIS!
There was an unexpected IT failure and it cost the company £25m to fix it so this should be added accounted for when calculating the actual fund value AND NOT IN THE EXPECTED fund value!
Spotting whether something shud be accounted for in actual or expected is a good thing to note! There was an increase in premium contrary to expectations so take increase into account when calculating the actual value and remember not to double count-about £12m in premiums had been accounted for previously! So just little things like that.
Administration charge per policy was about 2.5% lower than expected so take this into account! Little things like that
TO MAKE YOUR PRESENTATION BETTER
Calc CLOSING FUND VALUE AND Calc VALUES IN A WAY THAT ASSESSOR KNOWS HOW MUCH UNFORESEEN SITUATIONS HAVE COST THEM . IF YOU CAN WORK OUT THE OVERALL NET EFFECT AS WELL , THIS WILL BE GOOD. ALSO, EXPRESSING THEM IN PERCENTAGE IS A RECOMMENDED IDEA BUT TIME CONSTRAINT IS A BIG FACTOR.
Remember that £1500m is the same as £1.5 billion! I did not pick this up straight away…
You have to talk about FACTORS THAT LED TO DIFFERENCE IN ACTUAL AND EXPECTED VALUES. At this point, remember to suggest solutions!. So for IT FAILURE, suggest a back-up system from the outset (it will not be as expensive as rectifying failure in an emergency situation, people know that you have no other choice but to pay). For cash investments, you could suggest investing in bonds due to higher returns…
There was a brief meeting to discuss how you think the day went for you with an assessor! I had an unpleasant experience at this time with one of the assessors.
You do get lodged in a very ‘distastefu’ Travelodge hotel the night before the assessment day but do not let this affect your mood during your stay.
I call the hotel distasteful because the bathroom shower is fixed at the very top of the bath and cannot be controlled like you would normally be able to control a shower. Spend the night before trying to work it out otherwise you will get a blast of very cold or boiling hot water in the morning whilst trying to take your bath.
For the ladies, take a shower cap because you are not provided with any during your stay.
Also, make sure your clothes are ironed because the hotel does not have that many irons and all the ones they have might be on loan when you need it.
The breakfast was annoying! Very stale bread that crumbled at the slightest touch by human hands so, be warned. Do not let this put you off as you start your assessment day especially if breakfast is very important for you.
ASSESSMENT DAY TASKS AND QUESTIONS MAY CHANGE BECAUSE THESE PPLE ARE AWARE THAT INFORMATION LEAK OUT BUT HERE IS MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE! I heard that the presentation and analysis exercise was different last year.