What should you expect?
Assessment centres usually include one or more group exercises. These can be difficult to prepare for as you generally don't know in advance what the group activity will involve. However, there are ways to make a good impression.
Group exercises often fall into four main categories:
- Discuss a general topic such as 'The national speed limit on UK motorways should be higher.'
- Debate a work-related problem and come to a joint decision.
- Decide on a list of priorities such as who to rescue from a cave or desert island.
- Complete a practical task such as building a bridge out of straws and paper.
What are the assessors looking for?
- You are usually being assessed against the competencies for the role and the organisation's values.
- How you work as part of a team and how you would fit into the organisation's culture.
How can you prepare?
- Think about the skills and personal qualities that will be required in the job.
- For most roles, it's likely that teamwork, co-operation and the ability to listen to others will be important.
- Try out some online exercises such as Assessment Day.
- Consider your best role in a team. Take this test to find out more.
What to remember on the day:
- Make sure you understand the instructions
- Agree on objectives and priorities
- Be confident but not too assertive
- Actively listen by nodding, smiling and making eye contact
- Try to include quieter members of the group
- Keep an eye on the time and remind your group of how long you have left
- Be positive, even if the task seems trivial
- Be confident to put forward creative ideas
- Aim to work well with other candidates to complete the task to come to a joint decision
Help from the Careers Centre
We can help with all aspects of assessment centres and show you where to find useful resources. We also offer assessment centre workshops, including group exercises and presentations. Check out the assessment centre homepage for more details.