Acing Your Assessment Centre

by Apr 24, 2020

It’s that time of year again when you would normally be anxiously checking your inbox to see if you had progressed to the next round of the recruitment process for that graduate or vacation program you have always dreamed of. You keep hitting refresh until – there it is! You have been invited to attend an assessment centre. You’re over the moon, you jump for joy, until reality sets in and you realise you aren’t actually too sure what an assessment centre is or what might be involved.

Obviously, with the current state of the world you may not be invited to a traditional assessment centre right now, but below is some universal advice that should give you a head-start regardless of whether you’re able to attend an assessment centre in-person or online. Because the truth is, there is no set formula to how an assessment centre will run, with each organisation doing things differently depending on their values and requirements. However, there are a few simple things you can do to improve your chances of success.

Know the company and role inside out

Prior to the assessment centre you should research the company and the role to have a strong understanding of what might be expected of you as an employee. Read the job description closely and look at the company’s website for key values, initiatives and strategies. You may even wish to speak to people who work at the company, read up on any news stories involving the organisation or take a closer look at their competitors and trends occurring in the industry. You should be referring to this knowledge in any activities you are asked to complete.

Back of a man's head as he looks at noticeboard

Become an Interview Expert

Most assessment centres will have some sort of interview element involved, therefore you should familiarise yourself with the STAR technique to help structure and practice your responses to behavioural questions. Your knowledge of the position requirements will give you some hints on the types of skills they may assessing in these questions to help in your preparation. To help you become an interview expert you should also check out our Interview Skills Workbook and Interview Playlist for useful tips, tricks and example responses. 

two women talking at a desk

Be a good team player

Hiring managers are looking to see how well you would work as part of their team and therefore how you perform in group activities is vital.

It is important to show your confidence in these exercises by sharing your thoughts and ideas with the group, but at the same time ensuring you give others the chance to contribute theirs with courtesy and respect. Also, remember that you may not all be directly competing for the same role and if you are, there is a chance you may end up being colleagues one day. So work together, support each other and utilise the strengths of the candidates in your group. 

Group of people giving a high five over a desk

First Impressions Count

Whether your assessment centre is face to face or virtual, first impressions count, so make sure you are dressed in smart and professional attire and that you arrive on time. Take note of the names of people who you are meeting and use them when necessary to leave a good impression.

Also, remember that you are being assessed throughout the entire day, even during social aspects such as coffee and lunch breaks, so join in with these informal discussions but ensure you remain professional and polite at all times.

group of people around a table, with two shaking hands across the table

To further help in your assessment centre preparation you can also check out our Assessment Centre Guide which will give you more information about the types of activities that might be involved and how you may go about completing them.

If you have any further questions on what to expect on the day that is not covered in the invitation you receive, I would encourage you to contact the recruitment team of the particular organisation directly. Alternatively, you can also book in for a Drop-in appointment to further discuss how you might prepare for, and approach the day with one of the Recruitment Advisors here at UTS Careers.

You’ve got this, good luck!


Featured image courtesy of Pexels

Erin Meier

Erin Meier

Recruitment Advisor

Erin currently works as a Recruitment Advisor for UTS Careers. She is passionate and empathetic and enjoys working with students to support them through their career journey and assist them in achieving their career related goals. Erin has previously worked in customer service, promotional and human resources roles.