Assessment Centres

What is an assessment centre?

An assessment centre is a combination of tasks and activities that test your suitability for the job. It gives you the chance to demonstrate a wider range of skills. Assessment centres generally last from an afternoon to two days. However, some assessment centres require overnight stay: this is usually arranged by the employer.


What happens at an assessment centre?

Assessment days can be held anywhere from the employer’s offices to a hotel or training facility. You work both individually and as part of a group on a variety of exercises including:

  • group discussions
  • presentations
  • case studies
  • written tests
  • social events
  • role play
  • psychometric tests
  • in-tray exercises

Example of an Assessment Day

Assessment centres vary in length and style. An example of a day at an assessment centre is:

  • 09.00 – Arrival and introduction
  • 09.15 – Employer presentation and group exercise
  • 10.00 – Psychometric tests
  • 11.30 – Individual task: In-tray exercise
  • 12.45 – Lunch
  • 13.45 – Group exercise: Case study
  • 14.45 – Assessment interviews
  • 16.15 – Individual presentations
  • 17.15 – Evaluation
  • 17.30 – Finish

How you are assessed

Employers don’t just assess you against job competencies; they also aim to ensure that you’re the right fit. Key skills that employers look for include:

  • analytical thinking
  • communication
  • teamwork
  • time management
  • adaptability
  • creativity
  • organisation
  • negotiation
  • leadership

How to prepare

As with interviews, good preparation is essential. Before the assessment day, it’s important that you:

  • Identify which skills, interests and experiences the employer is looking for by revisiting the job description
  • Research the company/organisation
  • Review your CV and application form
  • Give yourself time to complete and practise any material that you’ve been asked to prepare
  • Practise potential exercises with a friend or family member
  • Choose your outfit the night before and get plenty of sleep
  • Plan your journey and aim to arrive at least 15 minutes early

Assessment centre tips:

·         On the day, eat a good, healthy breakfast

·         Maintain a friendly and polite manner 

·         Join in on group discussions

·         Ensure that you understand the requirements of each task 

·         Don’t dwell on any mistakes, instead concentrate on performing well in the next task

Put your talents and skills into practice