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Pre-assessment day meal

#1 Pre-assessment day meal
15/02/2008 14:12



I've been invited to an assessment day, but on the evening before the main event, I'm due to go out for a meal with fellow applicants and managers.

These may seem like silly questions, but I just don't want to make any stupid errors before the main event even starts.

Would wearing a suit for the meal be too much? Should I go for trousers and a shirt?

What's the unwritten rule about drinking? Is it good to show you're happy to have a beer, or is this seen as unprofessional at an interview?

Any other tips would be greatly appreciated,


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#2 RE: Pre-assessment day meal
15/02/2008 14:31

The Senior Vice President to Doug (#1)

Hiya Doug,

You could wear a suit, and if you find that you need to 'dress down' a little, just remove your tie and/or jacket.

Alternatively, why not give a secretary in the HR department a quick call to find out?

Regarding drink - have a glass of wine or perhaps? One or two beers is OK, but obviously you need to make sure you stay stone cold sober for this occasion.

Good luck!

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#3 RE: Pre-assessment day meal
15/02/2008 14:59

Mars A Day to Doug (#1)

These events are designed to illicit more about you for cultural fit than anything else, and turning up in a suit can send the wrong messages - in a social situ like this is implies a lack of confidence, inflexibility etc if everyone else is in more relaxed attire.

A good way to go is smart jeans, a smart jacket and open collar shirt, polished shoes basically look like you are on a first date and out to impress but not go over the top (which is effectively what it is). With regards drinking take your lead from the environment and host/s: if you are in a bar or restaurant have a glass of wine or a beer as it would be silly not to. Just dont get drunk. If the evening will be a long one have a tall glass of milk before you go (lines the stomach) and have a glass of water between each glass of wine.

The point is to see how you integrate, communicate etc in a less formal and formulaic setting so show them you are a man (or woman) of parts and can fit in with a social group (read project team) you have never met before.

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#4 RE: Pre-assessment day meal
15/02/2008 22:39

helpful girl to Mars A Day (#3)

I'd really recommend that you wear a suit - fit is important - at work on an everyday basis you'd wear a suit, those from the firm will be coming after work and they will be wearing business dress. I go to a lot of these events as an employee of a firm who hosts dinner type events....wear a suit, demonstrate interest in the jobs available, be able to demonstrate that this is a job that you really want, and ask sensible and interesting questions. It's not an interview, but it is a form of assessment, and you should behave in a professional and responsible manner. Good luck!

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#5 RE: Pre-assessment day meal
18/02/2008 14:39

Doug to helpful girl (#4)

Thanks for all of the advice guys

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#6 RE: Pre-assessment day meal
18/02/2008 21:47

anon to Doug (#5)

Wear a suit if you really feel that you should be dressing up, but personally i'd steer clear of the full whack - certainly not a tie.

The smart jeans and jacket suggestion is the best advice you'll get, if you can't get hold of anyone in HR to ask (if it's a large firm they'll generally be as much use as a c0ck flavoured lollypop, to quote Dodgeball)

Good luck

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#7 RE: Pre-assessment day meal
19/02/2008 08:31

and remember..... to anon (#6)

about 10 years ago I was faced with a similar situation. A decent jacket plus trousers (not jeans - what if you are taken to a non jeans restaurant...) open top shirt I would have thought. The key thing is to look smart but not over the top.

The key is drinking. I think we were booby trapped. We were being taken out by 2 people who were nearing the end of their grad schemes and were keen to maximise this opportunity to drink heavily at their company's expense. Add into that the usual peer pressure of being surrounded by you twenty somethings from other universities and it was a recipe for disaster. My advice is to drink lots of water - this will reduce the effect of a couple of drinks and also mean you have to go to the loo a lot, where you can regroup. Many fail at this first hurdle - desperate to impress they like to "large it" with their hosts. Unfortunately, you tend to be interviewed by completely different people the next day, who are a little disppointed to see bloodshot eyes and to smell alcohol breath. This is a trap. Do not fall into it.

By the way, I fell into the trap and received the dreaded 3 line letter a few days later...

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#8 RE: Pre-assessment day meal
28/02/2008 07:33

Village Idiot to and remember..... (#7)

We run these sorts of events at my firm. In general, you go straight from a day of interviewing out to dinner, so dress code isn't so much of a problem -- you wear whatever you were wearing for the day. Bear in mind that your hosts will almost certainly be coming straight from the office and/or a client, so will probably be wearing a suit. You won't go wrong wearing a suit, too.

In terms of alcohol -- if it's offered, feel free to indulge in a glass or two, but don't get drunk. If you don't want a glass, no one will mind -- everyone (including your hosts) realises that these are tricky situations and that there's no one right way of handling it.

In general, these sessions are unassessed -- but don't let your guard down. I'm normally asked for high-level feedback (eg, "they seemed like a nice bunch") but if you get drunk and make an ar$e of yourself, you can be sure that will get back to the HR panel as well.

The evening is really designed to let you relax a little and ask the questions you aren't totally comfortable asking in a formal interview setting, about the type of work we do, the consulting lifestyle, etc ... as well as to hear some war stories from those who are actually out there delivering work for us.

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#9 RE: Pre-assessment day meal
28/02/2008 14:14

Naughty Boy to Village Idiot (#8)

Just get completely lashed and see what happens!

Then let us know on the forum what the subsequent interview goes like.

You be my hero forever if you do....!

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