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Interview tips: Assessment centres

Need help preparing for an assessment centre?

Practise real life assessment centre activities with JobTestPrep's online practice packs.

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Good preparation is key to performing well during demanding assessment-based interviews. They are designed to assess your suitability for a job, and you'll be tested carefully throughout

What is an assessment centre?

It's a series of tasks and activities that are structured around a one-, two- or three-day period to assess your suitability for a job.

Assessment centres typically comprise:

  • interviews;
  • in-tray exercises;
  • presentations;
  • tests;
  • group exercises;
  • social events such as dinner or lunch with prospective colleagues.

To find out more, see interview tests and exercises.

Assessment centres assess your performance in a range of situations and are generally used as the second or final stage of the selection process after preliminary interviews have taken place.

Likely to be designed around assessing you against the job competencies, assessment centres offer the advantage of allowing you to compensate for an activity not going well by excelling in another; the disadvantage is that you are under scrutiny for a lengthy period of time and this can be demanding.

Activities are usually timed, which means you are being assessed in your capacity to work under pressure.

How do I perform well at an assessment centre?

As for interviews, good preparation is key. It's important to:

  • ensure you have all documentation, notes and resources you might need with you;
  • think about the job competencies required and consider what the assessors might be looking for;
  • match your own knowledge, skills, interests and experiences to the job competencies and identify your strengths and weaknesses in relation to the job (you should have done this when completing the application form - but it's well worth reviewing in preparation for an assessment centre);
  • try not to worry about the other candidates, focus on putting your key qualities and attributes forward;
  • maintain a friendly manner and remember you are being assessed even in 'informal' situations.
Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
June 2013

Graduate jobs


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