Assessment centres

Assessment centres

Assessment centre is the term used for a series of assessments given to a candidate that is applying for a role. They are being used more frequently by government and large corporate employers, as they:

  1. Enable a more comprehensive 'real life' and 'whole person' assessment of candidates;
  2. Are a more objective and equitable recruitment process than interview alone;
  3. Have been found to result in candidate hires that stay longer and develop further within the organisation

Read through our information below to give yourself the best chance at successfully completing an assessment centre. We also have an online assessment centre tool.

Typically candidates will be invited to a workplace or corporate room to participate in a series of activities which may include:

  • Behavioural simulations
  • Group problem solving exercise
  • Presentation
  • Role play
  • Case study
  • Written exercise
  • Interview
  • Psychometric testing

During the activities, the assessors are looking for your demonstration of the competencies they have profiled for the role. In many cases, technical skills can be trained, or evidenced by your degree. Behavioural competencies however, are harder to assess from a resume or interview so the assessment centre gives you the opportunity to demonstrate these in a simulated work setting.

Typical competencies assessed in graduate assessment centres include:

  • Clear and active communicator
  • Works collaboratively
  • Takes initiative
  • Applies critical analysis

These will be well defined by the employer in a job profile, with a series of behavioural indicators to define each competency. Throughout the day's activities, the assessors are looking for you to demonstrate these behaviours.

If you have an idea of what competencies are being assessed, try to think through what behaviours make someone strong in that area.

  • For example, with 'working collaboratively', behaviours might include: addressing others by name, acknowledging what others have said, using eye contact effectively etc.
  • For 'applies critical analysis', behaviours might include: considering all factors; looking at the problem from multiple perspectives etc.

Try to be yourself and demonstrate your own unique qualities and skills. It is worth remembering that you are not competing against other participants, but rather being assessed against the competencies set by the organisation. If all eight participants have demonstrated the competencies then all eight may be accepted through to the next stage.

Our top tips

  • For presentations, remember to structure your argument to get key points across within the (often tight) time allowed.
  • Be well attuned to the values and goals of the organisation. Often the competencies for the role are in keeping with the core values of the organisation.
  • Remember to take photo identification with you - check your invite for requirements.