BP is a British oil and gas company that works in all areas of the industry, including exploration and extraction, refining, through to distribution and power generation.
Covering brands in the UK and in the wider world, including BP, Castrol, Wild Bean Cafe, Ampm and Amoco, BP is a destination for graduates looking for roles in engineering and in all business areas.
Working at BP comes with benefits like a great salary and financial rewards, but also a great opportunity for learning and development with career mobility at the heart of the process.
The application process is relatively simple, starting with an online application followed by an interview that takes place either on the phone or through video software. The final stage is the assessment centre.
Why does BP use assessment centres?
The assessment centre is often the first opportunity that the recruitment team will get to meet and interact with applicants. Through the exercises and activities that take place, the recruiters can see how well candidates demonstrate certain soft skills like communication, teamwork, and leadership that are difficult to assess in other ways.
For the candidate, the BP assessment centre is a great way to get a feel for the work that they would be expected to complete if employed, as well as an opportunity to meet recruiters, peers, and managers. The face-to-face (or virtual, in some cases) assessment centre is a two-way process, where both the recruiter and the candidate can get a real understanding of job fit.
What skills is BP looking for?
Aside from specific technical skills and qualifications that might be relevant to the position, there are certain skills and competencies that the BP recruitment team are looking for in their candidates.
They want to see that applicants are able to use their initiative, thinking outside the box to come up with new or better ways to do something.
They want candidates who can communicate well, listening when needed to ensure that teamwork is always at the front of mind. They want their candidates to be able to inspire each other to perform better, and to demonstrate proven leadership skills.
Candidates should also be ready to demonstrate that they live certain values that are part of the BP environment - including safety, respect, excellence, and courage, working as one team.
While in the assessment centre, think about ways that you can demonstrate that you know about the beliefs of the business, which are all about their code of conduct - “reimagining energy for people and planet”.
This encompasses the below beliefs:
Live our purpose: safety comes first, make a positive impact, do the right thing.
Play to win: know the competition, keep improving, be accountable.
Care for others: be kind, prioritize the team, put yourself in other people’s shoes.
BP assessment center format
Many of the early careers programmes will include an assessment centre, and over the last couple of years these have moved into being completely virtual. You can expect to take part in several different activities and exercises, but the content will likely be specific to the business area you have applied for.
BP group exercise
In this part of the assessment centre, you will be allocated a small group to work with, usually just four people. In your group you will be given a business case, and you will need to work together to come to a decision.
In this exercise, the assessors want to see that you are good at communicating, can listen well, and that you are able to help other people get their voices heard. While they want you to have leadership skills, part of that is being able to allow others to speak.
BP presentation exercise
During the presentation exercise, you will need to create a 10-15 minute presentation based on a brief that you will be given. You will have some preparation time, and it will be similar to the group exercise in that you will need to make some sort of decision based on the information you have been given, then present that to the assessor. You will be required to answer questions about it at the end, as well.
This is about planning and preparation as much as it is about your communication and confidence - the assessor wants to see that you are able to take in the relevant information and present it in a way that makes sense - and you need to have retained enough information about the subject to be able to answer questions about it at the end.
BP reflective review
This is usually the last stage of the assessment centre process, and it is something that is not often used in these situations so it might seem a bit unfamiliar.
In this exercise, you will have a one-to-one discussion with the assessor, where you will discuss your performance in the different exercises. Self-awareness is something that you need to get a handle on to be able to deal with this process, as you will need to know what you did right, what went wrong, and what you could do better.
This is not about being ‘humble’ or downplaying your skills, but it is also not meant to be about bragging. You need to really think about the day as a whole and how you think you dealt with the scenarios and exercises, and what you would change if you had the chance.
Tips for passing the BP assessment centre
There is so much to learn about BP as a company, and the wider energy industry - you obviously are not expected to know everything, but you will be asked questions relating to BP and their competitors throughout the interview process and at the assessment center, so make sure that you know what you are talking about. Use the BP website as well as news outlets to keep up with the latest developments.
2. Research the role
There are a lot of different roles and career pathways available at BP, which is part of the reason why it is a popular destination for graduates. However, this means that each job role will be different too, especially when it comes to the specific skills, qualifications, and competencies that are needed. Make sure that you know the details of the job description inside out so that you can demonstrate that you are the perfect candidate for the role.
3. Bring your A-Game
While assessment centres are about individual performance, and every candidate might not be going for the same role, the chances are that you will be working with some direct competition for the placement that you are after. While you need to remain professional and respectful, remember that you are under constant assessment so you want to make sure that you are giving the recruitment team all the information they need to be able to choose you as the ideal candidate.
4. First impressions count
Whether you are attending an in-person assessment centre, or the more popular virtual day, you need to remember that this is likely to be the first time that the recruiters will meet you, so you need to make it count. Make sure that you arrive on time, and any tech issues are sorted before you join (specifically connection, audio, and visual hardware). Dress to impress, remember to make eye contact, and smile - positive body language can go a long way in making a good impression.
5. Practice self-reflection
As this is a skill that we can find challenging, getting some practice in self-reflection will make a difference. When you take part in an event or something else happens, take a few minutes to reflect on what happened and what your actions were so that you can decide if there was anything that you could do better. You don’t want to be negative about yourself, but you also don’t want to run the risk of being too egotistical, either.