Assessment Centres

assessment centre

As part of the recruitment process employers may invite applicants along to an assessment centre, these usually take place over one day, during which the interview process will often take place as well.  However, in some organisations the interview may take place on a separate date.

The day can be divided into a number of different parts:

Informal events: where you meet a variety of people, including other candidates, the assessors, recent graduates and the wider staff and management team. Be aware that you are being assessed at all times. Be friendly but professional.  During these sessions you may be provided with more detail about the organisation and the roles available. Listen carefully, as the information provided may be useful during the rest of the day.

Tests and exercises: designed to reveal your ability and potential. Assessors measure you against a set of competencies. Each exercise is designed to assess one or more of these areas. Do not worry if you think you perform badly at any stage – it is likely that you will have the chance to compensate later on. Below are links to a number of website where you can prepare for these test online.

1. The jobtest website has a number of tests you can buy but also some sample tests you can practice online- http://www.jobtestprep.co.uk/prospects_landing.aspx?affiliateID=10121

2. The practice aptitude test website has a number of free to use tests http://www.practiceaptitudetests.com/

3.Assessment Day has tests you can buy but also has a selection of free tests available in PDF format http://www.assessmentday.co.uk/buy/aptitudetest_buy.htm

4. Shl Direct has a selection of practice papers which are free to use http://www.shldirect.com/en

Before you go

Research the organisation’s website – particularly the recruitment and other relevant information. Draw up a list of your main strengths, focusing on those most relevant to what you have applied for.  Think of questions you may want to ask. Plan to arrive in good time for the start of the assessment centre.  Converse with other candidates – this will help when it comes to group exercises later.

What to expect: You will be in a group of people that can vary in size from several people to a much larger group.  You may be individually interviewed and asked to take part in a number of exercises, including reasoning tests.  The exercises will be based on the type of work for which you have applied.

Your performance: You are not being assessed on what you know but on how you think. Be yourself and listen carefully to the instructions given to you at the start of the day and always read the information thoroughly.  The assessment centre will give you a number of chances to show your strengths and meet their criteria.  Stay focused and motivated throughout the day.

Remember: You are being measured, not against other candidates, but against certain criteria.

The following are examples of the skills and traits that employers are likely to be judging you on at the assessment centre:
teamworking;
communication;
leadership;
time management;
listening;
motivation and enthusiasm;
data analysis;
decision-making;
influencing;
creativity;
integrity;
initiative.