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Getting Assessment Centre Ready

Who are Assessment Centres for?

Assessment centres are used when recruiting for a range of roles, from placements to graduate roles and apprenticeships.

What are Assessment Centres?

Assessment centres are held by the employer to test how suitable you are for the job through activities and tasks. These are designed to allow for demonstration of skills that you may not have been able to display in a traditional interview.
Assessment centres can last between an afternoon and up to 2 days. They are in groups with other applicants, the size can vary depending on how many candidates are successful and the size of the company.
They can be held in a variety of locations depending on the amount of candidates they have invited.

What should I expect in an assessment centre?

Assessment centres vary depending on the company, the job role and what the employer is looking for. They can include individual tasks and group work.

Some of the exercises may include:

  • Presentations
  • Psychometric tests
  • Written tests
  • Group discussions
  • Case studies
  • Short interview

TIP: Remember to focus on you, for each task ask yourself what skills are they looking for? In a group task you don’t want to be the only one talking and taking over. The employer wants to see that you can communicate and work well in a team.

Example of a Day Assessment Centre

Outline of what you might expect:

9.00 – Arrival
9.15 – Information and employer introduction
10.00 – Psychometric test
11.30 – Group exercise
12.45 – Lunch
13.45 – Individual task
14.45 – Interviews
16.00 – Presentations
17.15 – Information and evaluation
17.30 – Finish


Psychometric tests vary, they can test your personality, skills and knowledge. They help the employer see how well you would suit the role and fit into the culture of the organisation.

What is the Difference between an Interview and an Assessment Centre?

In a behavioural or competency based interview you are asked to demonstrate the skill or quality through an example from previous work, a club, work experience or volunteering. In an assessment centre you are being observed by HR consultants and line managers. You have to demonstrate in the tasks and activities the skills that they are looking for. These could include:

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Negotiation
  • Planning
  • Decision making
  • Critical thinking
  • Organisation

What happens at the end of the assessment centre?

They will assess you against a competency framework and you may find out on the day whether you have got the job or it may take a few days. If you are not successful make sure you get feedback so for the next time you can improve and be aware of where you need to work on.


Preparation pointers

It is important that you prepare, this will ease your nerves and hopefully increase your confidence!

  • Research the organisation, find out their mission and values and any key projects and strategies. Understanding these will allow you to be ready to share your views. 
  • Prepare any material you have been asked to complete in plenty of time
  • Make a list of the skills, qualities and experiences the employer is looking for using their website and the job description- keep these in mind when completing tasks and activities.
  • Know of anything in the news that could relate to the sector or company
  • Make use of any careers and employment services that you might have access too
  • Know your CV inside and out


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