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Assessment Centres in Your Job Search: What They Are & How They Work

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by Manda Milling

almost 3 years ago

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I recently applied for a job, and the ad said that selection would be made through an assessment centre. Can you help? 

Assessments are a popular, effective and cost effective method of 'volume' recruitment. If a large number of roles are vacant (for example, a graduate intake, call centre staff for a new campaign or sales representatives to launch a new product), then having a number of people being assessed at the same time on the same day can make a lot of time management sense. Assessment centres are based on predetermined core competency behaviours, and they involve a standardised evaluation of these competencies for each of the participants. For some assessment centres, there is some pre work required. For example, preparation may be required for a role play exercise. 

The same material and information are usually sent to the participants at the same time. Some assessment centres can run for the whole day or just for part of a day. You should be given plenty of notice to allow you to make arrangements if you are currently working. As several participants are observed at the same time and/or in the same place, this provides you with the benefit of interaction between you and your fellow participants and the assessors (usually the hiring managers). These interactions are both formal and informal, through the participation in group exercises and less formal interaction during break out times. people2people’s Recruitment Processing Outsourcing (RPO) division, onsiite, specialises in the management of assessment centres. Some of the assessment techniques we have used are group exercises, presentations, fact finding exercises, role plays, competency based interviews and, at times, psychometric assessments. Your assessment centre should have a wide variety of assessment techniques, which should, as far as is possible, replicate the essential requirements of the role, in particular those areas of the role which historically have been the most challenging.  

The variety of activities also should ensure that you and your fellow participants are not disadvantaged with one type of assessment and that you have every opportunity to display your skills and suitability for the role. The day after you attend the assessment centre, you should be contacted either with the news that you have been unsuccessful or a request for your referees' details.


Have a question for Manda Milling, people2people Director? Let us know in the comments or tweet @p2pManda!

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