Assessment Centres - Professional Preparation and Practice Tools
All the information you need about Assessment Centre activities and Assessment day tips. Read about Assessment Days as they are currently held at top employers, and practice with our tailored Assessment Centre packages.
The Assessment Day is often (but not always) the final stage in the application process. Assessment days can take place at the employer’s offices, or at a private assessment centre. Candidates are evaluated through a series of individual and group tasks, all of which are aimed at giving the employer a rounded profile of candidates’ competencies and an insight into their performance in the work place.
Assessment Days usually consist of a four to eight-hour schedule over one or two days, although, mass recruitment campaigns can sometimes be a three-day process. The exact schedule for each employer's Assessment Day can vary according to the position for which the Assessment is being held. Imagine the situation - sitting in a room, with a group of unfamiliar people, usually competing for the same job, facing new and very challenging tasks with ambiguous instructions from assessors who continuously observe your behaviour while taking notes.
Below are key activities and exercises administered at assessment centres. Learn the concepts of each task and acquire practice tools with JobTestPrep's online psychometric test practice. For Assessment Day tips and advice check out our blog.
Verification TestsNowadays, most ability and reasoning tests are part of the preliminary online application process. In most cases, only candidates who successfully pass these tests will be summoned to the assessment centre. However, verification tests are expected at the beginning of the Assessment Day; you will be asked to sit a shorter version of your numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning or non-verbal reasoning test to validate your previous performance. For a complete range of reasoning practice tests, please continue to the section that discusses aptitude tests.
Case StudiesIn these exercises, you are given a set of papers relating to a particular situation and are asked to make recommendations in the form of a brief report. The subject matter itself may not be important (and even ridiculous at times). However, you are being tested on your ability to analyse information, to think clearly and logically, and to exercise your judgment. Read more about case studies >>
In-tray ExercisesThese are business simulation exercises in which you are given a full in-tray or electronic inbox (e-tray) with e-mails, company memos, telephone and fax messages, reports and correspondence, as well as information about the structure of the organisation and your place within it. You are expected to make decisions, prioritise your workload, draft replies, delegate tasks, recommend action to superiors, and so on. This exercise is designed to test how you handle complex information within a limited time frame; the exercise allows you to demonstrate your organisational and planning skills. Some employers also want to know why you have made certain decisions and may ask you to annotate items in the tray or discuss your decisions later. In-tray exercises are often a core element of the assessment centre. Read more and practice our in-tray exercise >>
PresentationsSome employers will ask you to prepare a short talk or presentation. You may be asked to bring a prepared presentation to the Assessment Centre but usually it must be produced on the day. You could be given a topic for discussion or have free choice; the subject matter is not necessarily important – the assessor wants to ascertain whether you can structure and communicate information effectively, deliver a concise, fluent and coherent flow of ideas, and be ready to tackle related questions without hesitation. Read more about presentations >>
Group TasksYou may be asked as a group to use equipment or materials to make something (how to move a golf ball from one table to another using a paper clip and pipe cleaner, for example). The selectors are more interested in how the group interacts than in the quality of the finished product. Additionally, your planning, problem-solving skills and the creativity of your independent ideas will be assessed. Read and practice the group exercise >>
Role Plays and ScenariosYou may be asked to take part in a role-playing exercise where you are given a briefing pack and asked to play a part which is related to the future position you are applying for. The setup might include a few "actors" in the scene involving a day-to-day dilemma, placing you as the decision maker who is expected to cope with the dilemma and offer solutions. The assessors are looking for your individual skills, as well as your verbal communication and planning skills. JobTestPrep offers live, one-to-one Assessment Centre sessions in which role plays and group activities are simulated by professional assessors and psychologists. Read more about the Role Play Exercises at the assessment centre with examples.
InterviewsInterviews are a crucial part of the selection process. In some cases, the assessment day includes more than one interview. The interviews are conducted by hired assessors, members of the recruitment team and/or by a senior member of the team/department you will be joining. Good interview performance can change the overall impression you make, and even cover for other areas in which you have demonstrated low performance. It is highly important to follow some basic guidelines and internalise recommended courses of action. Learn more about types of interviews and interview questions in our interview preparation section.
Other interesting topics:
What is a psychometric test
What is an aptitude test
Situational judgement test
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MI6 Verbal Reasoning Test
Practice Assessment Centre Case Studies
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