Assessment centres

What is an assessment centre?

The term Assessment Centre does not refer to a physical place, rather an interview methodology. In an Assessment Centre interview, groups of candidates are invited to the employing organisation’s offices for a half or full day to participate in team-based exercises that simulate those encountered in the real workplace.

What is the purpose of an assessment centre?

Trained assessors assess candidate behaviour and performance against a set of pre-established criteria. Currently this is one of the best methods available to predict how well candidates will perform at work. Based on individual candidate performance at an Assessment Centre, an organisation predicts how well they would perform in the workplace and fit with the organisational culture.

What does an assessment centre involve?

Typical tasks include:

  • Group exercises - e.g. problem solving, strategising, or debating tasks.
  • Verbal presentations - to test your ability to structure a presentation and clearly communicate information to others.
  • In-Tray exercises - you are given a heaped ‘in-tray’ full of memos, emails, and phone messages and are asked to prioritise the execution of each task.

How can I prepare?

The Careers Centre has some books and videos about Assessment Centres. These can be viewed at the Careers Centre during opening hours. Also refer to our detailed handout and our interactive Assessment Centre tool.