Thames Water Assessment Centre. Please Help........

#1

Hello All,

I am going to attend an assessment centre with Thames Water on 25th feb for Graduate Finance Position in Reading. Any one else going to attend.

If some one already attended please help with what to expect on the assessment day and what type of interview questions they ask.

Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks.

DT.

#2

hi DT, thought id let you know I got through to assessment day, but mine is on 4th march.

#3

I am going to assessment day on I DONT KNOW. I HAVENT HEARD BACK FROM THEM YET…lol

#4

hey hw did the assessment? did u get the job? Am going to mine on friday…any advice?

#5

Hi,
Interesting to read someone else’s opinion of the day. I too applied for the Customer Service position.
The best advice I can give to future graduates applying to Thames Water is to prepare well for this AC- the assessors are looking for a genuine interest and passion for the company; crucially you need to know what differs TW to normal companies…ie that they operate in a monopoly. Lots of the other candidates on my AC didn’t know this and were caught out instantly when questioned about it.
I too agree that TW should pay expenses- some candidates on my AC travelled to Reading from Glasgow, Newcastle, etc- a ridiculous cost for a student!
Contrary to PJ’s views above, I found the outsourcing company to be really professional, when they contacted me about the AC they were really friendly and put me at ease- I genuinely felt that if I had any questions about the day I could contact them. I don’t think I’d have felt the same way if it was TW directly contacting me. Also contradicting PJ, I found that about 50/50 of other grad schemes I applied for use external companies for their grad recruitment in a similar style to TW.
Completely agree about the 2 group exercises- you really need to be able to say how you feel and justify your points…without being too over bearing.
I too got offered the job and start in September.
If there’s any other TW grads reading this who start in September I am eager to get in touch! Please message me using this site.

#6

Hello everyone,

Considering how useful this site was when applying for jobs, I thought I could share some details about the TW assessment centre, as there is so little about the company on here. I applied for the Customer Services programme and the AC was shared with people who were going for the Finance scheme.

The first odd thing is that TW don’t reimburse your travel expenses. They tell you this in advance and it wasn’t a massive issue for me (going from London to Reading), but I wonder if I’d have come down from anywhere further afield. They were the only company I applied for that would not cover your travel.

The whole recruitment process, including the AC, is run by two outsourced HR firms. Again, a first for me as every other company I dealt with took over once you actually went to meet them. There was a number of assessors from the external companies which I found plain strange.

Now on to the day itself. In the morning, the head of Customer Services gave a pretty good presentation and showed a fairly cheesy video about TW.

Then we had a group exercise (4-5 people, I think) where we had to come up with plans for a charity fundraiser and then present it back to the assessors. I believe we were given 30-45mins for the preparation and then had to present for a few minutes. We suggested a large-scale event and the assessors seemed surprised at our idea and were quite hostile during the subsequent questioning. I was particularly amused when one of them pointed out we couldn’t expect people who work in the service industry to leave work early on a Friday and attend our event, as we had suggested. Interesting, considering most people I know in the industry do. And we were also told a manager at TW can expect to work 50-60 hours/week. For £24k a year, really?

Then came the re-testing, which consists of seven numerical, seven verbal and seven reasoning questions. Not SHL or Kenexa, but some other company. The questions were not particularly hard, but the time is very tight, so make sure you write down the time when you started and keep a watch in front of you. I am not particularly good at these, but got them all right, so they can’t be too difficult.

Third came a business case study about a company that makes household appliances for caravans called WashBox – search for it online. Loads of material to read (all laminated, so you can’t make notes!) and you have to write up a report about the 3 main problems the company faces and possible solutions (I think!). There is a lot of information, so make sure you go through as much as possible and make quick notes, then decide what is most important and write the report.

Then there is a one-to-one interview with a manager. The lady I got was the highlight of the day – incredibly welcoming, friendly, knowledgeable and down-to-earth. I would have loved to work with her, but she was pretty much the only such person there. Standard questions similar to those in the telephone interview described above: why TW, why customer services, etc and competencies. She also asked about some things related to the SHL personality test you do online beforehand. Thus it may be useful to do it again for free on the SHL website, get the results and then you’ll know what your personality is and will be able to explain ‘why it is you don’t seem to care too much about other people’s motivations.’

Is that it, you ask? No… They also ask you to prepare a presentation (‘What constitutes good customer service’) at home and then you have to deliver it (10mins or so). The good thing is that they let you use PowerPoint. The questions at the end were completely random (e.g. tell me about a time when you got good customer service) and the quality of the other presentations (you go in with two other people) varied massively.

At the end you come together with a different group of people (four in total) and use the information from the business case study. You discuss which issues are most pressing, then the solutions and once you agree, put them on a flipchart and present this to the company’s “board of directors.” The people in my group seemed to struggle with the whole concept and the presentation was painful to listen to. The subsequent grilling is to be expected at an AC, but the other candidates froze and couldn’t answer any questions. Hint: remember your facts from the case study, don’t be afraid to make things up to prove a point, argue with the assessors. If they ask you a random question, give them a believable answer and don’t panic! This is a role-play and they are there to test you, not to give you an easy ride. I ended up fielding about 90% of the questions, which I found hilarious…

At some point during the day there was a very poor ‘lunch’ consisting of sandwiches. There were no current graduates at the AC – once more, a first and not a very good sign.

They got back to me about two weeks later to offer me the job, which I declined as I had several other, better, offers. On a personal note, I found the company really strange. By not refunding travel expenses they were suggesting they are incredibly cheap and it got me wondering if they treat employees the same way. The pay is on the lower end of the grad scheme spectrum and I can only hope the comment about the number of hours was a joke or didn’t relate to graduates. By outsourcing the whole process I felt like TW didn’t particularly care about graduates, especially as they didn’t have any of their current ones there. These are my subjective views – hopefully others will have a more positive picture of the company, which they will post here.

#7

Hey guyz,

Just wanted to ask a question. They have asked me to email my presentation by monday. What exactly do i have to send them. Do i have to send them my whole presentation, exactly what im gonna say in the presentation or all they just looking for my power point slides. Confused, so plz help guyz

#8

Just the PowerPoint slides, Yazooo.

#9

Guyz,
Do you think i need to link my presentation with customer service at thames water.

#10

I have assesment with Thames water as Electical Engineer any one got any tips to help!!!1

#11

when you is your assessement?

#12

I recently had an assessment with Thames Water at their assessment centre and its like nothing I’ve ever experienced in recruitment before. First of all, don’t be afraid, everyone was very welcoming. The sessions were split into 4 parts (scenario, written exercise, interview and team activity). The group of 15 were split into smaller groups of 4/5’s so it’s not as daunting. There was also a short presentation about the company at the start then on to the real juicy bits. Here is what I experienced during the recruitment process. (these can be done in any order as you’re split into groups)

Written Exercise: (30 mins) We were given a case study of the London Eye loosing profit and you were hired as an advisor to see what we could do to improve profitability. This was the easiest of all 4 parts. Lots of stats are given but it’s all about increasing footfall on to the London Eye (so single rider discount, online booking, mobile apps, electronic ticket booths etc…) Just keep going to the end and don’t get bogged down with all the stats they throw at you, that’s not the point, it’s all about thinking outside the box, coming up with fresh ideas

Scenario: (10 mins) we were asked to prepare for a fictional meeting with existing employees of a company that you’d just started working at. This was a brainstorming exercise and you needed to plan out what we’d do to prepare for the meeting (e.g. set agenda’s, introduce yourself prior to meetings, initial risk assessments etc…) and then present this back to a HR manager. We were also asked to present the first 3 minutes of the meeting back to the manager in the style that we’d do it in real life. I found this quite hard. You write out your plan at the very start of the session and hand it back ready for later on.

Interview: (50 mins) These were competency based questions. They weren’t your normal questions however. One of the questions that I was asked was “name a time when you had to take into account someone else’s feelings” and “name a time when your actions affected others and how did you deal with the feelings of others” – these are questions I have never been asked before so it was all about thinking on your feet but assessors tend to know this and don’t really mind you taking a few moments to think about it. The questions were tailored to the answers provided on your psychometric tests completed prior to attending

Team exercise: (30 mins) We were in a group of 5 with 2 assessors watching. We were given a pack of cards and on those cards were statements such as: 1) The finance director works in head office 2) There is a Honda in a reserved parking spot outside head office 3) Graham eats his lunch in the on-site canteen etc… From all of these statements you had to figure out who drove a Ford and who eats their lunch at the local café – I would give you the answers but I can’t really remember. I think it was Bob who drove the Ford but don’t quote me on it. BIG TIP on this, it’s not about getting the right answers, it’s all about seeing how you interact with other people.

Everyone wants to go in there like a bull in a china shop and take charge but this won’t do you any good. The best thing to do I use structured arguments and try to arrange a way that you’ll be able to get everyone working to your schedule. Get up and move about, sit in different orders and make everyone move to your beat. Don’t just try to shout everyone down and be the loudest. Oh and just to make it more difficult, you aren’t allowed to show each other your cards.

That’s pretty much it really. They offer you free coffee and biscuits, water etc… One thing I would say is take some mints or gum because you’ll be doing a lot of talking and you’re mouth will feel like you’re chewing cotton wool. The whole process takes 3.5 hours but often over runs. TAKE A PEN WITH YOU. If I’m honest, I don’t really care if I get the job but above is my honest opinion of how it all goes. Just prepare and don’t be nervous. The HR management team are really friendly (apart from one lady, she was horrid) but the rest were lovely. Everyone who works at Thames Water has gone through this process at some point so they all know how you are feeling. If you’re reading this then it’s more than likely that you’re attending the assessment centre soon. Good Luck, and don’t be nervous.