What is an Assessment Centre

What Is Mean By Assessment Centre? – Definition Explained

Last Updated on October 11, 2022

As part of your job application, you may have been invited to an assessment centre by your potential employer. What is an assessment centre and how does it affect your chances of being hired?

In this guide, we’ll tell you more about what assessment centres involve and how you can prepare so you can showcase your skills effectively to secure the job you want.

What Is An Assessment Centre?

Assessment centres are used by employers and recruiters to test employees and interviewees so they can find the best fit for their company. The assessment can be a combination of physical tasks and a series of tests, and it’s often the final hurdle in the hiring process after the initial application and interview.

Assessment centres are not specific places and can be held anywhere and can range from a few hours to a few days, covering a wide array of skills not accessible in a standard interview. Essentially, an assessment centre is akin to a series of tests and exercises that an employer will put selected candidates through.

Why Recruiters Use Assessment Centres

Companies use assessment centres as a way to better examine top potential employees, ensuring a better fit for the position they’re looking to fill. This process lets them see ahead of time how well the applicant will do and if there will be any conflicts with them.

These assessment centres also give recruiters a chance to see how you’ll react to real-life situations. They assess how you work within a group and on your own with complex tasks or situations that can happen within the workplace.

In addition, assessors get to see first-hand how you do, as information on an application does not provide an entire picture of your capabilities.

This is an opportune time to display skills and knowledge to employers, showing why you are a great fit as an employee and how you can be beneficial to their organisation.

Assessment centres also allow an equal opportunity for all interviewees with similar skill sets on paper. While interviewees may have the same or similar resumes, how each individual works is not determinable on paper.

What Happens In An Assessment Centre?

Assessment Centre

Assessment centres often involve a few different events that applicants must go through. Many companies will even make accommodations for interviewees should the process require more than 24 hours.

Interviews

You may be required to go through a series of interviews during your time at the assessment centre. While not all companies do this, you should prepare for them in any case. There could be biographical, technical, or both.

A biographical interview will be focused on you: your skills, education, work history, strengths and weaknesses. Technical interviews will focus on questions about the position which you applied for: i.e., engineer, computer IT, etc.

Tests

Tests are inevitable, but the type and number of tests you take will depend on the position you’re applying for and how you do on the initial test.

In-Tray Exercises

These usually take the form of a business simulation where you’re to perform a task typically done by a team member and to perform it accordingly. These exercises will be similar to standard tasks relating to the field of position you’re applying to.

There will be a time limit to perform the tasks, so prioritise the most important aspects first, but do not worry yourself over completing everything. There may be a de-briefing on your exercise, and your assessor may ask about how you did the tasks and why you did them a certain way.

Psychometric Tests

These tests vary widely, with no way to prepare for them all. The best solution is to find out which ones are most prevalent in the position you’re applying for and prepare for that one solely.

Ability

These tests will focus primarily on your writing ability, basic principles of the technical side of the role, or your basic arithmetic.

Group Exercises

These can be in the form of a case study and are used to see how you work with your peers to determine your leadership and teamwork capabilities.

Case Studies

These can be individual or group exercises that test how a candidate deals with large amounts of information to make logical business decisions.

Presentations

Depending on your position, you may be asked to prepare and present a demonstration to assess how you work with and analyse delivered information.

Social Event

This can occur as a lunch, dinner, or break session during the day. Recruiters will be assessing your business social skills and how you interact with others. It’s the perfect time to learn more about the organisation and to ask questions.

How Will I Be Assessed?

People Sitting in Office While Discussing

Throughout the day of your assessment, recruiters will look at a multitude of skills, abilities, and traits that you and others possess aside from what is required for the position being tested for. By doing so, they ensure they’re finding the best overall fit for their company.

Your scores will be compared to a set of competency frameworks that assessors will discuss before selecting the most compatible applicants.

They look for these key skills when testing and examining scores:

  • Adaptability- your ability to adapt to changing circumstances and scenarios within the company or work environment.
  • Analytical thinking- how well you identify problems, extract relevant information and apply that information to create a solution.
  • Commercial awareness- Your understanding and knowledge of how the business generates income and how you can help it achieve goals and expand.
  • Communication- how well you communicate with members of the workplace, management, and consumers (depends on the field of work).
  • Creativity- the way in which you come up with solutions to problems, concept ideas, or products (depends on the field of work).
  • Decision-making- the speed and accuracy of your decisions in stressful situations or difficult tasks.
  • Leadership- how well you lead a team of coworkers on a project or task.
  • Negotiation- how effective you are at negotiating difficult situations with others and how you conduct negotiations.
  • Organisation- how well you keep your assignments organised, and if applicable, a team organised.
  • Persuasion- how you convince teammates or potential clients to new methods, ideas, or products.
  • Planning- your methods of planning assignments, assigning tasks, and projects individually or within a group.
  • Teamwork- your ability to work with others on assignments, projects, and tasks to achieve the goal.
  • Time management- your ability to manage time within the workspace, on assignments, and within a group.

Each position will have specific requirements, and assessors will stick to those requirements when looking for new hires during the assessment centre. Your performance will be discussed and analysed thoroughly at the end of the day. You may find out that day or within a few days whether or not you will receive the position.

How To Prepare For It?

A Student working on laptop

Preparation is the key to success. When preparing for an assessment centre, you’ll want to gather as much intel on the company, the position, and the skills that are required for the position.

Go Over the Practice Material

If you can, ask a hiring representative what criteria are most important for the position and what areas should be focused on the most. Then, gather up reading materials, practice tests, and exercises that are relevant to the position.

Job Test Prep has guides and practice resources to help you in your preparation. With expert advice, case studies and other resources, you’ll be able to get an advantage over your competitors.

Once you have the materials you need, practice with friends or family, and work on any areas you have more difficulty with. Work on areas you struggle in and know of by doing practice runs and exercises. If you struggle with time management, research and test out ways to improve yourself.

Get Feedback on Your Initial Interview

Ask for feedback on your first interview to help you identify any areas that need improvement. For example, were you fidgeting, avoiding eye contact, etc.? Then, have practice interviews with the help of a family member or friend to improve those areas.

Read Up On The Organisation

Do research on the company you’re applying for. Check out their website, social media pages, key literature (business reports, etc.), opportunities within the organisation, trends, and even the competing companies to get a grasp on what they’re looking for, how the business is as a whole, preparing you to share your ideas and views.

Get Plenty Of Rest

Being well rested the night before will keep you alert and functional, allowing you to be at your best and showing the recruiters your potential. Plan everything out the day before: what you’ll wear, when and how you’ll get there, where you’ll stay (if the assessment will require more than a day), and what you’ll bring with you.

Conclusion

Assessment centres are an increasingly common step in many companies’ hiring process. There’s no need to be too fearful of it, especially when you can prepare beforehand with Job Test Prep’s resources.

Ultimately, it’s important to ensure that you are familiar with what’s expected and what you’ll go through at the assessment centre and show up confident and ready to show off your skills.

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