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Assessment Centre Tips

Don’t panic. You’ve been invited to an assessment centre (or assessment day) for a graduate role. Assessment centres vary in structure depending on the employer, but the overall aim is to get you and rival candidates to showcase your workplace skills, including communication, problem solving, time management and leadership and teamwork skills.

You may be assessed in a variety of ways, and you can swot up on psychometric tests, in-tray exercises, group exercises, numerical reasoning tests, verbal reasoning tests and presentations by checking out the relevant articles on AllAboutCareers.com.

Sound daunting? We’re not going to lie, getting an invitation to an assessment centre is likely to get the nerves racing. After all, you’ve been invited to a critical stage of a graduate recruitment process and now is the time to shine. Fancy some tips? Of course you do.


It’s important that you research the company and role comprehensively. Check the responsibilities attached to the job and identify the skills you will need to carry out these responsibilities.

You may have also been told that you’ll have to give a short presentation in an introductory session. Preparing a few ideas won’t hurt you – make sure your timing is top notch and that you have information that you can put in or leave out, depending on how you’re doing for time. There’s nothing worse than a really short presentation and the lingering awkwardness in the aftermath.

On top of this, you will want to make sure that you dress appropriately for the assessment centre, arrive on time and get plenty of z’s the night before.

Don’t Go Over-The-Top

If you’re delivering a presentation, or participating in a group exercise, remember that you’re being assessed on your approach, process, communication and organisation. They’ll be concerned with how your points are delivered, rather than the entry animation choice.

Whilst enthusiasm is encouraged, be yourself at the same time. Be prepared to take part or have a go at any exercise, but don’t try to act the leader if it doesn’t come naturally. You can’t keep up appearances forever and you will appear unconvincing and risk putting your opportunity at risk by not being yourself and trying to be the person the employer wants you to be.

Listen & Co-Operate

Listen very carefully to the instructions put to you or your group in assessment centres. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification as you don’t want to get the wrong end of the stick – the employer would rather you ask for clarification and nail the task, rather than to remain quiet and fail completely.

Being able to listen and take on board instructions and guidance will be skills the employer will also be looking for. Building relationships and effective working groups with a clear end goal will impress. Regardless of what you see on The Apprentice, arguing, criticising and interrupting others are not good traits to have. Be diplomatic.

Request Feedback

Regardless if you land the job or progress to the next stage, you should ask for detailed feedback on your performance at the assessment centre. The reason for this is fairly straight forward; you can pinpoint where you should improve should you have to attend another assessment centre, apply for another job or even start the role itself. Nobody will put in a perfect performance at the assessment centre.

In short, you should prepare thoroughly, be yourself, listen very carefully and request feedback in order to improve. Good luck!

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