What are Assessment Centres?

Written by Faizan Patankar

Assessment centre (or assessment day) is a 1-2 day event with prospective employers that takes place once you have passed the initial stages of application and psychometric tests. These event days are held to assess the applicant on various factors, which might be attributed to the job role.

The single most important thing to remember at such days is to do the job at hand well, it is not necessarily important to finish it. The ‘talent spotters’ (or simply the people judging) are more interested in your approach to solving a problem so they can understand how you work in a team, rather than in knowing that you can finish the task at hand.

What to expect at assessment centres? 

Any employer that calls you for an assessment centre will provide you with an itinerary of the event. Usually, these events consist of such activities (but not restricted to) as:

Individual Assessment

  • Aptitude tests (i.e. numerical, verbal, diagrammatic)
  • Presentation or Case Study
  • In-tray exercise

Group Assessment 

  • Group discussion
  • Role play exercise
  • Group activity (e.g. use materials provided to cover the egg so when it is dropped from ‘x’ height it does not crack)
  • Group case study

Second Interview (or final interview)

  • Technical interview
  • Panel interview
  • Competency interview
  • Partner interview

What’s the dress code?

Smart. Always smart. Dress up smart for such events. If it is a two-day event, remember to carry different ties. You could be wearing two different suits, 2 pairs of trousers and 2 shirts, but if the tie is the same both days, then you will fall down in making a good impression.

General rules to follow?

There are no specific rules on how to behave or act on the day. In truth, be yourself (not if you are a comedian, please). If you try to act like somethone you are not, you will be easily spotted by the ‘talent spotters’. The points listed here are derived from what I have experienced personally:

  • Keep working hard – it will be a long and hard day, at times somebody else will steal the limelight. Don’t give up, keep working on the basics. No decision is based on the back of just one activity.
  • Use clear communication – make sure you speak clearly, and if writing, don’t be too fast, be neat about it. At the same time, listen carefully to other team members, or to any information being given. People judging you will not be too close to you, hence, the clearer you are in your approach, the better judgement they can make.
  • Get involved – there are many activities in these events, get involved in all of them. Some candidates might say ‘oh, I work in this field, so I know better’ – that is fine, but don’t shy away from giving your opinions.
  • Don’t compare -do not compare yourself to others in the group. You are not competing against them. If you work well in a team, the whole group might be successful in the process.
  • Freebies – keep away from the free bar. Having an alcoholic drink during lunch will not go down well. Absolutely not. Free sweets – stay away from a lot. Same advice applies to free coffee and biscuits. Stay away from over consuming free stuff please.

This post gives you the basics of an assessment day. For more information on such events read this article on WikiJob . 


About the author

Faizan Patankar

I started Career Geek Blog in 2011 to share my experience in job-hunting. I now focus on careers industry and blogging is just a tool to share that info. Love hacking careers. During the day I focus on my hobby - Engineering.