Assessment Centres

Following the submission of the application form and psychometric testing, some employers may conduct testing in an assessment centre. Assessment centres are commonly used by large companies throughout Australia. They are collections of tests and exercises designed to simulate an employer’s business environment. They generate objective information about applicants, such as those with the most suitable personal attributes and problem solving or teamwork skills. They can also determine who would fit best and excel within the organisation’s structure and culture.

Common activities may include:

  • work-typical exercises
  • group discussions (may form part of a group interview)
  • case studies
  • role-plays
  • presentations.

Assessment centre testing can last from half a day to three days. It is usually held at the office of the employer or recruitment company.

What they don’t assess

The activities are designed only to search for work-related abilities and competencies. They don’t:

  • probe your childhood or other personal details
  • evaluate specific technical skills and knowledge (although drawing upon these may aid your performance).

Advantages for applicants

Assessment centres do not only benefit the employer. There are also advantages for the potential employee:

  • You can share your working style and strengths.
  • Your success is not only dependent on one or two interviews.
  • Should you secure the position, you can be more confident that it will suit you and that the employer feels you have the potential to advance.
  • It’s a fairer, more equitable hiring practice.

Preparing for an assessment centre test

If you are one of a handful of applicants invited to an assessment centre, give yourself a pat on the back. Then start preparing!

  • Your careers service has examples of typical tests and can advise on preparation.
  • Familiarise yourself with the job description and desired competencies.
  • Read all test materials carefully and thoroughly.
  • Do some internet research on the employer, industry and assessment centres.

Dress as though you’re attending a job interview and be yourself. There are benefits on both sides to fitting the right person to the right job. Expect to feel nervous before and during the assessment – the experience will involve some stress but is of great benefit to you.

After the assessment centre

Whatever the outcome, don’t let it undermine your confidence. Even if you’re not selected to progress further after psychometric and/or assessment centre testing, you have gained invaluable experience and feedback that will be useful for next time.

  • Your results only reflect your performance on the day you were tested (many factors can affect this).
  • You are assessed against the needs of one organisation; you won’t be viewed identically by all employers or by the same organisation in the future.
  • You have gained valuable practice for next time. Evaluate your performance and any feedback given.
  • You may have avoided a position that would not have been right for you in the long term.