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Assessment Centres – An Insiders Guide

Assessment Centres – An Insiders Guide

Assessment Centres are not a physical place. They are a method of assessing multiple applicants for a job, consisting of a number of exercises designed to assess the competencies deemed important for success in that job.

What are assessment centres?

An assessment centre is normally the last stage of the recruitment process. They range from anything from a half day to a full day and will consist of a variety of assessments and activities. Only the candidates who have been short-listed will attend, and so you should expect to be facing other talented candidates. Be mindful that not all of these candidates will be going for the same role.

It goes without saying that in order to be successful at an assessment day, we recommend dedicating a good amount of your time preparing and practising, using as many resources as possible. This package includes the types of exercises you can expect to be faced with, including a role-play exercise, an in-tray practical and group exercise tests. We have also included useful information on interview technique, so that you can demonstrate the core skills they are looking for. These typically include:

Communication / Teamwork / Leadership / Influencing / Customer focus / Problem Solving / Achieving Results

Assessment centres have a proven track record of finding the most suitable candidates for the job. There is normally an itinerary for the day, which can be intense. The employer is looking to see how you handle a busy day under pressure, as this will simulate a busy day in the real job.

We recommend getting an early night before your assessment, dress professionally and don’t be late!

How to pass assessment centres

As experienced assessors, our authors wanted to give you some insight into what they see and what they do as part of an Assessment Centre. In offering you this information, we hope it will blow away some of the myths surrounding Assessment Centres.

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Analysis Exercise

Analysis presentations are used by employers to test your ability to analyse realistic business scenarios and then formally present your findings and conclusions to your assessors. Our assessment centre guide explains what to expect and provides hints and tips from assessors.

Group Exercise

Group Exercises are designed to simulate realistic meetings or group work situations. They allow recruiting organisations to observe how candidates behave when working as part of a team and are designed to assess a number of core competencies.

Presentation Exercise

There are a number of different types of presentation and in our assessment centre guide we focus on presentations you can prepare in advance and deliver on the day of the Assessment Centre.

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How are assessment centres scored?

Assessment centres score candidates over company-specific criteria using a number of different exercises and simulations under the surveillance of the assessors. By the end of the day, the assessors decide on a person’s fitness for a required profile, taking into account your performance in communication, teamwork etс .

How long are assessment centres?

Assessment centres vary in their length and content, but they’re typically a full day or half a day. They’re designed to simulate a working day at the company so correspond to a regular workday. This means timings, breaks and lunches will usually be aligned with that of the company and their current employees.

How many people attend assessment centres?

Assessment centres typically take place during the final stage of selection so only candidates who’ve passed the previous selections are invited to attend. This can be as few as a handful or as many as a couple of hundred. The number of candidates attending will be closely linked to the number of roles available.

What are assessment centres used for?

Assessment centres are used for evaluating the fitness of pre-selected candidates for a certain job. During the assessment day, recruiters simulate different situations including meetings, presentations, and high-stress events to see how a potential hire will act as an employee in the company’s environment.

What do assessment centres involve?

Assessment centres involve various activities and interactions called to simulate an enterprise’s workday, usually a stressful one. The most common situations include role-play exercises, written exercises, in-tray practice and group exercises. These tasks are designed to test your communication skills, teamwork potential, customer focus etc.

What do assessment centres measure?

Assessment centres measure how a potential worker will handle routine tasks during a workday in the company. All activities, depending on the job specifics, are aimed to test a person’s professional attitude and skills such as critical thinking, decision making, teamwork, leadership, etc.

What to ask at assessment centres?

Asking proper questions at assessment centres is a good way to show your positive attitude. Research company’s website and social media, find out about significant milestones in the company’s history and the position you are applying for. Ask questions about work culture and recent company’s achievements or issues they faced.

What to wear to assessment centres?

There’s a good chance the employer will say, so if you’re unsure, feel free to ask. Dress to impress but make sure you wear something that you’re comfortable in. There’s no point looking a million dollars if you don’t feel comfortable! So dress smartly, look professional and ensure you’re comfortable.

Which employers use assessment centres?

Assessment centres are largely used by big enterprises. Most of the time they hire a third party recruitment company to organise and perform the assessment. It’s an expensive way to select new employees that is often beyond start-up and small companies’ budgets. However, they might still use some assessment centre elements like a mock presentation or in-tray exercises.

Why do employers use assessment centres?

Employers use assessment centers to analyze how a potential employee will manage with daily tasks at a job they’re applying for. Assessment day tests are used to simulate work situations and require candidates to use their abilities as they would during a regular workday. Often they include lunch with future colleagues to evaluate how they’ll fit in with the team.

Why are assessment centres so hard?

Assessment centers are complex sets of tests that are meant to evaluate your performance in a specific position during a mock work day. They involve various events that simulate work-related situations. These tests are designed to be hard to simulate a stressful or busy day at work and see how candidates will perform this environment.

Where can I practice assessment centres?

Practice is the key to successful participation in assessment centres. If you have never participated in an assessment centre, take advantage of our website and our read our guide to assessment centres. It contains plenty of materials for you to get started with, such as exercises, tips and information about what to expect.


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