Everything you need to know about assessment centres

1 minute read | 17 November 2022

You’ve passed the first round of interviews for your dream job! But now your future employer asked you to participate in an assessment centre. This can sound daunting but as you Career Partner for life, we are here to help you through all stages of your career. Which will include, at some point, an assessment centre.

What is an assessment centre.

Assessment centres normally take place after the first and before the last round of interviews and, although the general recruitment process has become shorter, they are still a big part of the selection process – specially for graduates. In a nutshell, this consists of a day or two of activities and tests that allow recruiters and employers to assess your abilities to evaluate if you have the skills set and personality that fits what they are looking for. This evaluation will include a selection of tests, exercises, group work, case studies and presentations.

Because assessment centres allow employers to test a wider range of your skills and see how you perform in real life situations, they are proven to be more effective when hiring and getting hired. For example, as opposed to reading in your CV that you have good experience in teamwork, in a group exercise employers can see how you go about solving problems, interact with others and how affectively you work with others. This also allows for recruiters to eliminate doubts between candidates. For example, two candidates who are “equal” on paper in terms of skills, but that have completely different approaches when it comes to practical approaches.

Furthermore, assessment centres are more accurate because they remove the bias from interviews, as all exercises are the same for everyone, allowing for much greater objectivity.

What does an assessment centre involve.

In an assessment centre you will have plenty of opportunities to show off your skills. These activities are both individual and as part of a group.

Tasks might include:

  • Role play exercises
  • Psychometric tests work-experience
  • Presentations
  • Written tests
  • Case studies analysis
  • Interview questions
  • Group discussions

How will you be assessed in an assessment centre.

This will truly depend on what you are doing, the industry and the job you’re applying for. If there are numeracy and literacy tests, there will be a framework in place. Psychometric tests are different as it depends on the employers’ requirements. Regarding group discussions and teamwork, recruiters will score your actions against a competency framework.

Here are some of the skills recruiters and employers always look for:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Organisation
  • Leadership
  • Creativity
  • Analytical thinking
  • Commercial awareness
  • Adaptability
  • Decision-making
  • Negotiation
  • Planning

How to prepare for an assessment centre.

Competition with other people in a test environment can be intimidating. However, if you prepare for the day in advance and put yourself in the best possible position, there’s no reason to panic. In all stages of the recruitment process, preparation is key!
Here are some factors to consider before you attend your assessment centre that can help you prepare:

  • Review your CV and application form: select the skills that are more valuable and think about ways to best demonstrate them.
  • Re-read the job description: select the interests, experiences, and skills the employer is looking for and think about ways to best demonstrate them.
  • Re-read the research you did before your first interview with the company: the more you know the better. Reading up the company’s history, researching their competitors and doing further research is key. Make notes and form opinions so you are prepared to share these in an activity.
  • Do practice psychometric tests and exercises online: there are some free online tests you can do so you can understand what type of questions and what to expect.
  • Review your first interview: think about how you performed in your first interview. If you have any questions you found difficult, think about how you can improve.

Our tips.
  • Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet.
  • Make sure you understand each task - Read the brief a few times and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Be assertive and take the lead in discussions but don’t dominate the conversation and always bring others to give their input.
  • Don’t worry about other candidates - Focus on demonstrating your skills and abilities.
  • Move past your mistakes and don’t dwell – it can be disheartening if you get something wrong but remember that it happens to everyone. Always keep your focus on the task at hand and concentrate on performing the best you can!
  • Try to relax and let your personality shine
  • Don’t forget that employers aren’t just looking for someone that can perform well in the job, they are also looking for someone who is right for the company.

For more helpful articles – from how to build your CV to tips on your interview – click here

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