Employer advice: A guide to assessment centres

Lynda Stoddart from QubeGB tells you how to stand out at an assessment centre

3 minutes

What an assessment centre is

An assessment centre is part of some interview processes, which is a combination of tasks and activities that test your suitable for the job you're applying for. Unlike a traditional face-to-face interview, you'll have the chance to demonstrate a wider range of your skills. 

You'll usually be joined by 6 to 8 other candidates, but it's important to keep focused on your own performance. 

We've got some helpful tips on what skills there are and how you can highlight these to employers. 

Lynda Stoddart is an HR Business Manager at the technology and support services firm QubeGB. She explains: 

'We use an assessment centre to recruit people for our contact centre. There are a few reasons for this - we were finding a traditional one-to-one interview wasn't really working.

Young people, especially school leavers, found it quite difficult. Often, candidates weren't prepared and we didn't get the people we need.'

What an assessment centre is like

Lynda's tip

Remember you're being assessed throughout the day – even when you're not doing a task. Make sure you're professional and friendly with each person you meet.

What Lynda has to say

‘Be confident and don’t be afraid to take part.'

‘An assessment centre lets us see how you interact with other people – in a way we couldn’t judge from a one-to-one interview.

'We can see how you would behave in a team. It’s not about your academic achievements. It’s much more about your character and whether you take part in the fun.

‘It lets us see whether your personality will fit in with our diverse contact centre team. The way you act with other people is important for our team, but also for how you come across on the phone.'

The process

Lynda's tip

What you do at an assessment centre will depend on the business. You can ask in advance if there are particular tasks you need to prepare for.

What Lynda has to say

‘First we do a telephone interview to select candidates. Then, we invite people who get through that stage to the assessment centre.

‘There are three parts to the day – an ice-breaker session, where we ask some questions in the group, a practical test to make sure they can do some of the tasks they’ll need to do in the contact centre, and then we play Family Fortunes.

‘We get the managers involved as well – so the candidates have an opportunity to meet with people that they would be working with.’

What employers are looking for

Lynda's tip

Just as you would for an interview, research the employer before you go in. Understanding more about the company could help you during the day.

What Lynda has to say

‘We’re looking for people who are happy to interact with others. Not brash, but have the confidence to stand their ground. People who will integrate well with our team, and get on with lots of different types of people.’

How to impress an employer

What Lynda has to say

‘Be confident and don’t be afraid to take part – be open to what happens during the day. Make sure you’re interacting with other people, and putting your own views across.’