Assessment centres are most commonly used for graduate or entry level positions where there is likely to be a large number of interviewees but these are also used as standard for certain roles in some companies. They usually last for one day and are generally used as the first round of the selection process. Participants will be asked to complete a number of activities while being observed and graded.
You can prepare for an assessment centre by researching the company holding the event. Research details of their turnover, competitors and the markets they operate in, as well as exploring their careers website to find out what they expect from their potential employees.
Assessment centres can take a number of different formats but might include some of the elements below:
- an introduction where you will be given detailed information regarding the company, the roles they’re recruiting for and setting the agenda for the day
- group and individual exercises deigned to assess your skills, ability to work with others, proficiency for lateral thinking etc.
- role plays which will require you and other team members to act out a scenario which might occur in the workplace
- an informal networking event where you will be required to interact with your peers and members of the company
During all exercises and tasks, the assessors are judging your ability to interact and work alongside your colleagues. It’s important to make your voice heard in these situations but to do so without dominating the conversation. Allow other team members to contribute and if you disagree with what they propose, speak up but try to be constructive rather than critical.
The most important thing to remember during an assessment day is that you will be observed at all times and decisions can be made on even the smallest things that you may say or do. Appear professional, polite and approachable at all times and you’re halfway there!