Only a small percentage of initial applicants reach the assessment centre stage. Generally used by large organisations rather than small (they are expensive and time consuming), assessment centres are usually held towards the end of the recruitment process following the initial applications, perhaps telephone screening interviews and online reasoning tests.
Assessment centres are made up of a number of exercises designed to test and assess a range of skills and abilities required for a particular role within an organisation. These might include group exercises, presentations, in-tray exercises and written tests. A range of activities are used as candidates will be better in some areas than others and although skills and competences will vary from job to job employers will generally be looking for evidence of leadership, analytical skills, team working, being able to perform under pressure and to prioritise time and tasks.
The Careers and Employability Service have purchased some aptitude tests which are free for University of Worcester students to use in order to practice.
Lasting a half or full day and perhaps held at a hotel or training venue they also might be over two days and include an overnight stay. While some of the time feels quite informal and social be careful not to overdo things and undo all your good work in the more formal elements. At the very least a hangover the next morning should be avoided as behaviours - good and bad - will be noticed!
Thoughts to help you:
- Read the joining instructions thoroughly so you know what to expect and can prepare
- Do your company research
- Be professional and polite to everyone you meet...staff and other candidates
- Try not to compete against or compare yourself to other candidates
- Show sensitivity, listen to other people and don't dominate
- Don't try to impress the assessors. Be aware of time factors and make sure you understand what is being asked of you.