What is an Assessment Centre?
Assessment centres (also called assessment days) vary from company to company and can last from a few hours to a few days depending on the kind of role that is being recruited for. They usually include a variety of formal and informal tasks.
Individual tasks such as case studies or assessments are common and are often followed by an interview (here are our best Interview tips).
Alongside this, there will likely be group assessments and discussions designed to demonstrate how you interact within a group. Some of these may just be based on the information you get on the day while some may require preparation in advance.
There is also likely to be a more informal element that allows for socialising and networking to allow a break.
Why am I there?
They are becoming an increasingly common way for employers to shortlist the best-suited candidate for a role as they can simulate a real work environment.
Assessors will be reviewing your performance throughout the day, enabling a direct assessment of your skills and competencies.
Seeing this in real-time will help them understand your working practices and whether you're a fit for the company culture.
For this reason, it's important not to directly view the other candidates as your competition because your interactions with them are continually being assessed.
Here are our top tips for doing well on the day:
1. Thoroughly research the company and the role that you're applying for. Look for their values, their company culture and any information that can guide your behaviour on the day. Remember to utilise any information that you have been sent prior to the day, as this has been sent for a reason.
2. If you know you'll be taking a certain type of test on the day then complete practise versions online, there are lots of general tests however there may also be ones more specific to the company you've applied to. The most common tests are numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and psychometric assessments.
3. Use any group tasks as an opportunity to showcase your team working ability. It's important to show that you're confident and happy to lead a conversation, but it's key to not let this appear as if you are bossy and domineering. Be conscious of letting others speak, really listen to what they're saying before you form a response as this is crucial to show awareness.
4. The day can seem overwhelming, and it can be easy to make a silly mistake. However it's important to rationalise this - remain calm, remember the aim of the task, and concentrate on performing well on the next step.
5. Remember to stay consistent and professional throughout the day. Lunchtimes and break times may not be formally assessed but this is a great way for assessors to see how you use your interpersonal skills in a less formal setting.
These days can seem overwhelming and it is really easy to panic and not perform as well as you wanted, but remember everyone else is in the same position!
Good luck - if the day goes well, take a look at our first-day tips!