Assessment Centres & Aptitude Tests
The interview may form part of an Assessment Centre, a full day of activities which many recruiters, particularly larger companies, use to find out more about candidates’ employment potential. Assessment centre programmes will vary from company to company but could include all or some of the following:
- Company presentation
- Aptitude/psychometric tests
- Individual presentation
- Lunch and Refreshment breaks
- Chance to meet and talk to current graduates
- Individual Interview
- Group exercises
As you will be assessed alongside other candidates during the day, the recruiters will have an excellent opportunity to see how you work in a team, your interpersonal and communication skills, confidence etc. You may find the other candidates really easy to get along with, but you could find a group exercise difficult if another candidate dominates the exercise, for example, or if your group has trouble solving the practical problem. Remember that it is important to be yourself rather than try to conform to what you think the employer is looking for, just do your best to show how well you work with others and remain calm under pressure.
You may feel that at some parts of the day, such as the lunch, you can relax and are no longer under assessment, but really, even when at lunch or perhaps meeting current graduates, your behaviour and attitude will be under observation. If you have terrible table manners, or become a completely different person outside a formal assessment exercise, these could affect your chances, and if you meet the company’s graduates, it is likely that they will be asked what they thought of you later on!
Many people find the psychometric tests particularly hard. These tests can be very different to the type of exams and academic assessments you have had – testing your verbal reasoning, spatial, logical or mathematical skills in a different way. Usually you have to work very quickly and for the numerical tests, without a calculator. Getting back to mental arithmetic can be very helpful! To help you prepare, download our Aptitude Tests information sheet and visit some of the websites listed. Some belong to the actual companies who provide the tests to recruiters, and although may charge for a full assessment of your results, this could be a worthwhile investment to help you identify any weak areas. Keep practising tests over and over again, and set yourself time constraints etc. to try and simulate Assessment Centre conditions. Your university careers service may also run psychometric testing sessions with feedback free of charge.
COMING SOON - Aptitude Tests - Useful links download
It is also worth noting that more and more companies are using online aptitude tests as a selection technique for the interview/assessment centre so the sooner you start to prepare, the better.