Assessment Centres – How to Succeed Throughout the Day

Posted on 7 Sep 2022

I remember my first assessment centre, it’s a scary moment, stepping through the big doors leading to a future that depends purely on your performance. All eyes are on you as well, looking at what you’re wearing, how early you arrive (are you an early bird or a risk taker [the latter is not suggested]?) and what initiative you will take to introduce yourself to the other nervous individuals around you. 
Assessment centres are becoming increasingly popular within the recruitment sector and are changing the way the employees are being welcomed to the company. However, do they have a long term stay or will they be regarded as an ‘emperor's new clothes’ type of phenomenon. 
These recruitment days have seen very little change over the past decade and this can tell us that they are an effective way for businesses to engage with potential and future employees. Assessment centres have many positive attributes that can help business obtain the best possible candidate for the roles that they are hiring for. The days aim to look for specific competencies and attempt to push the candidate to their best to show all aspects of their personalities and what they can bring to the company.
When it comes to basic interviews, a lot of candidates aim to learn company mantras off by heart to impress the top dogs however, is this what they want now? Surely anybody can learn company principles? This is where assessment centres can take the upper hand; they can help improve the validity of the candidate as more potential can be brought to life when put through different tasks and strains. Candidates can work well together when put in a group which brings out confidence and therefore would perform to a higher standard than being placed in a confined area with the HR staff of the company they are applying for. 
However, there can be negative sides to the up and coming recruitment schemes which are equally to consider. Firstly, they are costly, and not just in monetary terms; they can take up a lot of valuable aspects such as physical space, time and labour which can negatively impact the company who is hiring. It is also vital that the employees who are running the assessment day are watching each candidate very closely otherwise there is the risk that key competencies are monitored closely otherwise there is the risk of lines being blurred and key attributes are being missed. 
Although there are some small negative aspects to assessment centres, there are more positives which out way the minor inconveniences (which with proper planning, can be eradicated). Therefore, I believe that assessment centres will continue to grow, especially within the graduate sector due to the social aspect of them and the potential of the candidate which is bought out of them throughout the day. 
How do you succeed at Assessment Centres? Read below for some top tips on how to do your best! 
DO - Be positive! No one likes it if you are being pessimistic and thinking the worst throughout the day. Make sure you are smiling throughout the day and asking lots of questions that can benefit others and show that you are interested in what is best for the company. (Do not try and ask questions that are selfishly based on you, you can wait to ask what salary you would be on). 
DO - Dress appropriately and be prepared. Remember this is not a fashion show; people are there to assess your work ability, not to assess how far you can walk in 5-inch heels or judge your skinny fit chinos. Where a smart outfit with sensible shoes, trust me, there is more standing than you expect there to be. Try to arrive to the assessment centre twenty minutes early. This will allow you to gather and collect yourself before the day begins, it will also grant time you to introduce yourself to some of the other people there. 
DO - Get involved with the activities! Make sure you are playing an active role in the tasks that are set for you. However, be wary that you are not being overpowering, allow other people to talk and share their opinions and make sure that you appreciate their opinions. The company will want to see that you are a good team player. 
DON’T -  Be rude! This will get you nowhere throughout the day if you are rude to other candidates or the employees that are running the day. This is an instant ticket to being rejected throughout the day. Make sure you are listening if there are talks going on and do not whisper throughout them.

DON’T - Be on your phone all day! Trust me, those Instagram likes, and that group chat gossip can wait! You want all your attention throughout the day on the activities and the people who are surrounding you, there will be a lunch break where you can check those messages if you need to.