How to Survive an Assessment Centre

Kate Poade
Assessment centres are becoming more and more common especially if you are applying for a graduate scheme.

At Faithful+Gould, we like to see assessment centres as a two way process: they are as much as an opportunity for you to find out about us as they are for us to find out about you.

It’s a great way for you to see the office you’ll potentially be working in, as well as offering you the opportunity to enjoy a spot of lunch whilst talking with some of our current graduates.

Why Do Employers Use Assessment Centres?

Firstly, it may be useful to understand why, as employers we use assessment centres. Here are a few reasons:

  • More reliable than other methods
  • More work-related tests and group tasks
  • Involve several assessors 
  • Seek evidence of potential in terms of your level of competence and ability to do the role 
  • Opportunity to assess and compare between candidates
  • Give candidates better insight into role through work related tasks/exercises

They key to performing well at an assessment centre is to prepare before you go.

As well as being a fair and more effective way of assessing, assessment centres also allow you, as the candidate to demonstrate your knowledge, abilities, education, work experience, personality and motivation! They can also inform you the employer such as their history, culture, business activities and future plans.

What Do I Need To Do Before The Day?

They key to performing well at an assessment centre is to prepare before you go. Every assessment centre will be different, each company may be looking for different skills, competencies & attributes so it’s important to research both the company and role.

  • Review your invite and any additional information you’ve been sent well in advance. The company may provide some useful information about the exercises, hints and tips. Is there anything you need to prepare or send across before the day?  
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if anything isn’t clear from the information you’ve been sent. 

It would be a good idea to research the company - this will give you something to talk to the recruiters or assessors about during the breaks to demonstrate your interest. Researching the company’s key values and competencies might help you to prepare for some of the exercises.

Differentiate yourself and show initiative by researching beyond the company website, such as on LinkedIn or information on recent major projects.

Planning to look on the company website? This is a great place to start, but not a great place to end! Differentiate yourself and show initiative by researching beyond the company website, such as on LinkedIn or information on recent major projects.

Remember...

  • The assessment centre is as much an opportunity for you to find out more about the company as it is for the company to find out more about you  
  • Consider what is important to you in your first role – the training/professional qualification, work or projects they get involved in, company culture, size of the company or graduate community 
  • The company have invited you because they believe you have the potential. The fact you have passed all other stages is a testament to the strength of your application!

Good Luck!

Written by