Assessment centre tips

Our Careers team have been providing us with a series of blog posts towards those who are job seeking or soon to be job seeking. This post gives tips about attending assessment centres.


At an assessment centre you are looking to compete against the criteria set out in the job description not directly against the other candidates at the assessment centre.

Assessment centres are used by employers to evaluate how candidates perform in different situations within a group setting. Usually the assessors are a combination of HR consultants and line manager who will score your actions against competency frameworks. Assessment centres can vary in length from half a day to a couple of day and they’re usually one of the final stages in the recruitment process.


  • You must participate! The assessors can only assess the behaviours and skills they observe and hear, if you do not participate you cannot be assessed! Encourage others who are struggling to participate (this is good team work).


  • You can’t excel at every exercise/activity during the day but you can try your best! Remember that if the first exercise does not allow you to showcase your skills and behaviours the next exercise will, don’t dwell on poorer performances, be confident for the next activity!


  • Be sociable with and interested in the other candidates, these could be your colleagues in the future and remember that you may be being informally assessed during breaks, lunch and at other times.


  • Be yourself and let your natural skills and behaviours shine through remember you do all these things on a regular basis at University.


  • Make use of the advice and information available on the Careers Moodle page around assessment centre preparation, watch the imbedded DVD clips of real assessment centre activities taking place, these come with commentary from the assessors and what they liked and what they did not in terms of the candidates performance


  • Practice makes perfect, attempt (with a group of friends or as an individual) some of the sample activities and exercises, available via the Careers & Employability Centre, or attend one of our workshop events, taking place in March, where you can work with other students in preparing for an Assessment Centre.


  • If you have already attended a company assessment centre, ask for feedback, reflect on your performance and apply any lessons or observations to your preparation for the next one!


Will Ritchie

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