Employers are increasingly focusing on the behaviours that they want employees to possess in addition to technical knowledge. Workplace behaviours can be tested during the recruitment process using an assessment centre.
What is an Assessment Centre?
An assessment centre is not a place. It is a series of exercises that an employer runs to assess candidates’ workplace skills and behavioural competencies. An assessment centre usually takes around half a day to a day. You will be provided with instructions on each test at the assessment centre. You will then be watched by trained assessors who will score your performance against set criteria.
Types of Assessment Centre Exercise:
There are a variety of assessment tests that employers can use during an assessment centre. Some tests will be run as group exercises where you will be expected in interact with other candidates to discuss a given topic, agree an approach and make a presentation. Alternatively, you may be asked to work alone on a written test, such as an in-tray exercise in which you will be given various pieces of information to prioritise and draw up an action plan.
A trained assessor may take the role of a problem employee or complaining customer and ask you to perform a role play demonstrating how you would deal with the situation. In a role play, it is important that you remain in character until the exercise is over.
How to Prepare for an Assessment Centre:
If you are applying for a job through Essential Personnel, your consultant will advise you in advance if an assessment centre is part of the recruitment process.
It is impossible to study for an assessment centre as you will not be provided with the tests until you arrive. However, you can ensure that you give your best performance by getting a good night’s sleep so that you are fresh and well-rested. Plan your journey to the venue in advance and arrive at least ten minutes early. It is likely that there will be a group of individuals invited along to the assessment centre. You do not want to be the candidate that arrives late and holds everyone up.
How to Behave During an Assessment Centre:
During the assessment centre, listen very carefully and follow the instructions that you are given. If you do not understand the instructions or need an instruction to be repeated, ask one of the assessors. If you do not follow the instructions provided, you are likely to receive a lower score.
You will be assessed on the process that you follow as well as the result that you achieve. It is, therefore, worthwhile explaining your reasoning for decisions that you make or talking the assessor through the process that you have followed. This can gain you vital marks.
Asking for Feedback:
If you have committed time and energy to undertaking an assessment centre, the employer should provide feedback, whether or not you are appointed to the role. If the employer does not offer feedback, telephone the person who organised the assessment centre (usually a member of the HR department or recruitment team) to request feedback on your performance.
Steven Pearson is a business recruitment consultant. His articles mainly appear on employment related websites and blogs.
This is a guest post for TheEmployable