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Your Complete Guide to Assessment Centres

By Khaula Ahmad on Tue 05 March 2024 in Placement Blog

Your Complete Guide to Assessment Centres Blog

Discover the insider tips to excel in Assessment Centres! Our Marketing Placement, Khaula, shares invaluable advice to help you navigate everything you might get faced with, from in-person challenges to online evaluations. Prepare effectively, showcase your skills, and secure your dream placement with confidence!

What is an Assessment Centre?

An Assessment Centre is an assortment of tasks that employers use to assess candidates in the recruitment process. It can last from a couple of hours to a couple of days and gives you a chance to show off your skills in more detail than a typical telephone or in-person/video interview. In recruitment, the Assessment Centre is usually the final step in the process.

Assessment Centres are a key part of recruitment as they show how well you can work individually as well as in a team. You could be in a group of anywhere between 5-25 people, the number varying from company to company. 

Following COVID-19, many assessment centres shifted to taking place online via platforms like Zoom or Teams. However, this year and moving forward there may be a trend towards returning to in-person formats. This is why it’s important that you feel prepared for both settings and environments. It can feel more intimidating in person, to be assessed in front of people you don’t know but online you might not get the same opportunity to interact and network with other people so there are Pros and Cons to both.

The activities taking place at in-person and online assessment centres also vary. In-person, you may be asked to do group exercises, individual exercises, presentations, or team-building games. Online, you could be asked to do group activities in breakout rooms or online tests.

How do I  Prepare?

Making sure you feel confident and prepared before your Assessment Centre is key to your success on the day! Here’s some tips on how you can prepare:

Research:
It's essential to conduct thorough research on the company before the assessment centre to demonstrate your preparedness to the employer. Dedicate some time to grasp the company's values, history, and products/services. Doing so will not only facilitate any tests or activities during the day but also enable you to showcase your genuine interest in the company.

Practice:
You already know the saying, ‘Practice makes perfect’, it definitely rings true for Assessment Centres. If you know you need to create or present a slideshow or participate in roleplaying or interviews, try it with a friend or family member beforehand. Get them to give you feedback and try again until you’re satisfied with your abilities.

Examples of activities:

Presentations:
As previously mentioned, you could be asked to deliver a presentation. Sometimes, you'll be informed about it in advance and sometimes you'll have to create it on the day within a given time period. Presentations will evaluate your speaking abilities and how well you can choose and understand your topic.

Tests:
Tests assess your technical abilities; they can be on a variety of subjects and practice is essential to improve your performance. Try to practice under timed conditions and stretch your reasoning and judgment skills.

Team-building exercises
Team-building exercises measure how well you can work with others to complete tasks. Again, they test your ability to work under pressure as they’re often timed. You will be observed completing the exercise so that your leadership, teamwork, and even conflict resolution skills can be evaluated. Try to practice active listening and brainstorming ideas to contribute to your group.

What should I prepare the night before?

The night before your Assessment Centre, make sure to get enough sleep so you feel well rested and prepared for the day ahead of you. Plan your journey ahead of time, leaving plenty of spare time in case you run into any problems or traffic! Aim to arrive early, this will save you the embarrassment of turning up late and make a great first impression. 

If the event is in person, have an outfit prepared and make sure your bag is packed, including a lunch if it’s not provided by the assessor. You might also want to test drive the route or take public transport the day before if you’re close enough to the venue to do so. This is a great way to increase your confidence on the day.

For an online Assessment Centre, make sure that your laptop is working and plugged into a charger before it begins. Test your camera and microphone beforehand and consider using headphones or earphones to increase sound quality. It can be harder to stand out online but logging on a few minutes early makes a great impression. It also gives you some time to have a chat with the other candidates and assessors which can ease nerves too!

In conclusion, Assessment Centres are a unique stage of the recruitment process that allows you to showcase more skills than an ordinary interview. By preparing for them effectively, you can show your employer that you’re a competent and valuable candidate. Before the day of your Assessment Centre make sure to research the company, complete mock tests and interviews, and practice presenting confidently. Finally, remember that everyone there is in the exact same boat as you and will be just as nervous! Use the opportunity to meet new people, understand how the day is structured, and even practice your skills for any others you may attend. So, relax and let your hard work and preparation help you succeed!

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