How to Handle an Assessment Centre


An Assessment Centre can sound like a daunting way to interviewed, but it can also be a great opportunity for you to showcase your skills and learn more about the organisation you have applied for.

An assessment centre will often provide you with a presentation on the company and role, give you an opportunity to ask questions and provide you with a realistic preview of the position, all in an interactive environment where you can be yourself.

The benefit of an Assessment Centre is that your skills will not just be judged on a 30-60 minute interview; you will have several opportunities to show the interviewer your skills and personality.

What to expect from Assesment Centres

Depending on the type of role you are applying for, there can be a lot of different activities that you could be asked to complete. Some of these may be individual activities whilst others may involve working with other applicants.

These could include:

  • Ice-breaker exercises
  • Team problem solving activities or group presentations
  • A one-on-one interview
  • A face-to-face or over-the-phone role play
  • Psychometric testing (ways of measuring relevant strengths and weaknesses)
  • Written, comprehension or numerical tests

Top tips for handling Assessment Centres

  • As with any interview, always arrive 10 minutes early and dress smart
  • Assessment Centres can run anywhere from two hours to a full day, so find out how long you are expected to be there for and block out enough time in your diary
  • Do your research on the company and the position and consider the type of skills and behaviours they may be looking for and how you can best demonstrate these
  • Prepare a few questions that will demonstrate your interest in the role and company
  • Don’t worry about the other candidates. Often, an Assessment Centre takes place because there are multiple positions available, so do not feel that you are in direct competition. If you demonstrate that you can work well with others this will be highly regarded.
  • Make sure you contribute in all activities – remember you are not necessarily being assessed on your answers, but you will be assessed on how you work with others, solve problems and your presentation style
  • Be aware that you are being assessed at all times, even during any break times. Ensure that you maintain your focus and a positive and professional attitude throughout

Taking the time to prepare for your Assessment Centre will show the company that you are motivated and keen to take on the position, which helps to set you up for success.

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