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Attending Assessment Centres

018 Attend Interview Assessment

Attending a Job Interview | Postgraduate Interviews | Assessment Centres | Psychometric Testing

An assessment centre may come as a late phase of a recruitment process. Many employers use these centres as an opportunity to see how candidates behave when faced with a diverse range of situations. These tasks will test your competencies, give you a chance to meet the team, help you gain a better understanding of the team and contribute to your decision of whether or not you would like to work there.

Assessment centres vary in structure and format. Throughout the exercises you work through, it’s important to remember that you will be scored for your individual performance. Remember that you will be watched at all times, even during breaks. Make sure you remain professional throughout the day, and ask for feedback at the end.

Learn more about the most common Assessment Centre exercises here.

Common features and exercises

Employer introduction and information

This could involve a presentation about the company or role(s) being recruited, and may include a tour of the workplace. Pay attention to everything that is said; take notes if it will help you. Look interested, and ask questions - being careful that you aren’t asking something that has already been covered.

Informal networking

Throughout the day, you may be introduced to different members of staff who you will be able to socialise with over break periods. This is your opportunity to ask questions about what it is like to work in the company or industry in a less formal environment than that of an interview. Be aware of what you say - some companies will ask employees their opinions of candidates they have talked to.

Group exercises

These will usually comprise of a group discussion and/or problem-solving task, with candidates assessing your individual behaviour within a group setting. Assessors here will be looking at your ability to communicate with other candidates - you’ll need to use active listening, persuasion, analytical thinking and rapport skills. Read more about these on the next page.

In-tray exercises

This will test how you would respond to challenges that you would likely face in your day-to-day role. You will be given a variety of documents like letters, voicemail messages and emails. You’ll be asked to prioritise and respond to them within a timeframe. Be analytical, using what you know of the priorities of the organisation and role to help you. Use all of the information given to you, and keep within time and word limits.

Psychometric Tests

Read more about these on our Psychometric Tests section


This is an opportunity to show your research and communication skills. You may be asked to prepare this before the day, or be given some time on the day. In both situations, read all information carefully and practice to time. Speak clearly, and use short bullet points at most to read from so you can keep eye contact. If possible and relevant, bring handouts for the assessors. Ensure to back up your slides if you have any to use.


Some assessment centres will include a standard job interview as part of their day.

Group exercises

These exercises will usually involve you working with anywhere between five to twelve other candidates. While you will be working as a group, always keep in mind that assessors will be looking at you as an individual.

Often you will be given a large amount of information to read and discuss as a team within a set time frame. This information will usually be relevant to the role you applied for - for instance, a case study of a situation the company has been involved in before.

There may be too much information to read through thoroughly in the time given. If so, skim through and highlight key points as you do. Think about how you communicate with those in your team at all times - including how much you listen to them. You will need to strike a balance between taking on opinions from your group, and leading with your own. You can always use sector knowledge to assist you here. Ensure you read the key instructions as closely as possible to pass the task.

Common group exercise issues

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Attending a Job Interview | Postgraduate Interviews | Assessment Centres | Psychometric Testing


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