Assessment Centre Interview Preparation: Part 3


The following outlines a major graduate employer’s tips and advice for assessment centres.


• Visit the website and read our recruitment brochure and any other recent/available information.

• Draw up a list of your main strengths, particularly those you feel may be applicable to the area for which you have applied.

• Consider any areas of potential improvement and think about how you will address them.

• Think of questions you may want answered at this stage.

• Plan your journey carefully so that you arrive in good time for the start of the assessment centre.

• Try to converse with other candidates – pre-existing relationships can help in group exercises.

What to expect

• You will be one of six to eight candidates and there will be four assessors – these are usually managers from the department/division to which you have applied.

• You will be interviewed, asked to take part in a number of exercises and given a numerical reasoning test. The exercises will be based on the type of work for which you have applied.

• The exercises, usually undertaken with a number of other candidates, will take the form of an intray or case study exercise, a presentation and a group discussion.

• At the end of the assessment, we will ask you for feedback on the process. This will not impact on any decisions we make about your performance and we encourage honesty in your comments.

Your performance

• You do not need to prepare for the assessment centre. We are not assessing what you know but how you think. Be yourself (at your best).

• Listen carefully to the instructions given to you at the start of the day and always read the information you are given thoroughly.

• Not everyone is good at certain exercises but remember that the assessment centre will give you a number of chances to show your strengths and meet our criteria.

• Remain focused and motivated for the whole day. You will find it tiring but we will be assessing your level of motivation throughout.

• You are not in competition with the other candidates but with pre-determined criteria; it is quite possible that every candidate will achieve the necessary standard, in which case offers will be made to all. You will learn…

• how you react in different situations. You may identify previously unidentified strengths;

• about the company.

Recruitment is a two-way process. You will have the opportunity to talk with the assessors and to meet a number of young graduates with whom you can talk informally over dinner (the dinner is not part of the assessment but will give you a chance to learn what life in the company is like and whether it is for you);

• about the activities in which you may be involved if you are offered a position with us – the assessment is loosely based on samples of real work.


We will assess your performance against predetermined criteria that we have identified as being important in our organisation:

• interpersonal skills;

• team working skills;

• communication skills – both written and oral;

• leadership skills;

• time-management skills;

• listening skills;

• motivation and enthusiasm;

• data analysis skills;

• decision-making skills;

• influencing skills;

• creativity;

• integrity;

• initiative.

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