How to Ace Your Assessment Centre DayAn assessment centre is not a place; it’s an event. As a testing and interview process, assessment centres, sometimes known as assessment days, are used to select job candidates in every industry, from finance to IT to law, worldwide. Candidates who undergo the process include entry-job graduates as well as executives who are looking to either move laterally or into more senior positions with different competencies. Because of the time and expense involved in conducting these assessments, they are usually held once the initial round of job interviews or online assessments have been conducted, writes the team at Assessment Centre HQ, and can take place at a company office, conference facility or hotel. Below, you’ll find information about what to expect at assessment centres, tips from experts, example questions and links to practice tests.
Why Assessment Centres?Global recruitment company Hudson writes that assessment centres are especially useful for large-scale and ongoing recruitment campaigns and further provide specific benefits to organisations in the hiring process:
- The process is effective in determining candidate suitability.
- The process is fair and equitable.
- The process allows insight into a candidate’s strengths and development requirements.
- The process provides candidates a preview of the role and its required competencies.
What to ExpectThe format of the event, which can take place in one day or spread over two days, is designed not just to see what applicants can do, but how they react to situations and how they relate to others. Those selected as top performers during the assessment will be invited for a final interview by the hiring firm. Psychometric Success, a company that offers advice (and ebooks) on how to pass aptitude tests, confirms that the tests you’ll see during your assessment centre will include:
- An e-tray or in-tray (or in-basket) exercise. Designed to evaluate your organisational and prioritisation skills, these exercises ask you to assume the role of an employee in a firm and work through correspondence.
- A presentation exercise, which may be an individual or a group effort. Designed to assess your communication skills (and teamwork ability, if a group exercise), the presentation is usually about 10 minutes with questions at the end.
- Group discussion exercises. Designed to measure a number of interpersonal abilities, these exercises let assessors look for teamwork and collaborative ability as well as negotiation and leadership skills.
- Panel interviews. These competency-based interviews are more structured than the one-to-one interview so candidates can be assessed against the same criteria.
- One is a customer call centre manager faced with an unhappy customers. This exercise might test your ability to lead a virtual team or have you come up with a plan on how to improve customer satisfaction.
- Another is a problem-solving scenario for IT candidates, which might include coaching non-IT professionals.
Expert Advice on Passing Those ExercisesExperts in UK graduate careers, Prospects has a list of tips to help you perform well at an assessment centre. Some of these include:
- Show confidence throughout the day, in all exercises.
- Shake off mistakes. Just focus on acing the next task.
- Don’t dominate your group discussion. Draw others in and listen, as well.
- Ensure that you fully understand the task at hand.
- Improve upon any weaknesses you have on the technical side.
- Make yourself interesting and likable.