Hints Hints

If you have worked through units 1 and 2, this will give you a good background for your preparation. For example it will be useful to look back at your skills and values in your Personal Profile Summary from unit 1.

  • Get involved in the activities, no matter how silly or irrelevant they may seem to you.  The selectors are looking at how you deal with the tasks and work with others as much, if not more than, what you do in each one.
  • Remember, nothing is off the record.  Everything you do will be noticed.
  • Don’t act a part.  Try to be yourself and act naturally.  You can’t shine at everything and they won’t expect you to, so do your best at everything but don’t worry if some bits don’t seem to go as well as others.
  • Try and keep to task and on time with the activities and adopt a professional approach (your clothes, manner and visual aids!)
  • Remember, it is quality not quantity which counts, so don’t talk too much. 

Timings Timings

Suggested time allocation 4 ½ hours.

reading Overview

Assessment Centres are becoming a common feature in graduate recruitment, and you should know what to expect if you get invited to one.

This activity aims to introduce you to the concept of an assessment centre, to introduce you to the types of activities used and help you to prepare for one.

Each assessment centre is run differently, with a different emphasis according to the type of company, type of post, and the type of person the recruiters are looking for. Part of the skill you need to develop is to be prepared for any eventuality.

The activities which you are expected to undertake are designed to show selectors who are watching that you have the skills, qualities and abilities that they are looking for and they can take a number of forms. The activities below represent the most commonly used activities you are likely to come across in an assessment centre, and we suggest that you read widely (see suggested resources below) for further types of activities.

  • Group work. During all your time at the assessment centre your ability to relate to and work alongside other people will be continuously assessed. In addition there is often a specific group work activity. Task 1 includes an example of a group work activity.
  • Psychometric tests. These tests are commonly used on assessment days, and you will work individually on a variety of different types of tests. Task 2 of this activity introduces you to psychometric tests and gives you a chance to practice your skills.

You will almost always find the two activities above at an assessment centre. The following activities are some of the other commonly used activities. If you want to find out more take a look at some of the resources listed below, or call in at your careers service.

  • Presentations. You may have already worked through the presentation skills activity in this unit. If not, go to this link for ideas on improving your presentation skills.
  • Role Play. You may be asked to take part in a leaderless group discussion or a more formal exercise where you will be given a briefing pack and asked to play the role of a particular person, usually a leader or chairperson type role.
  • Report writing. You may be given a set of papers with a range of information about a particular situation and you will be asked to make recommendations in a brief report, or you may be given a heading and asked to write a short report on it.
  • In-tray or e-tray exercise. You may be given an array of paperwork or emails which you have to organise. In this exercise the selectors will be looking to see how you prioritise work – is it urgent/non-urgent, high/low priority etc.