What is an assessment centre?

We have recently seen a number of students wanting information about how to perform well at assessment centres. The main questions they ask is what is it and how do I perform well?  Basically, it is an employer location; some call it a recruitment location/centre where they will test you to see if you have the skills and abilities to do a particular job.  You would have received an invitation from the employer, because at this stage of the recruitment the employer thinks you have great potential and they would like to me you and get to know you better.

The key to performing well is preparation, just as you would prepare for any examination or essay. Assessment centers are designed specifically to assess your suitability for a job, and you’ll go through a series of tasks and activities that are structured to see whether you can do the job. So typically in addition to more interviews you may have:

Firstly, read the information from the employer carefully, this will tell you what to expect on the day; what  sort of activities the employer is going to use to assess you, so that, if you have to prepare a presentation or brush up on your numerical (maths) skills, you have some time to do so before the day. If you are not sure, please do contact the employer for further information.

Go over your application again, review the job details and company information.  You can also look at the employer website, news website and newspapers for recent articles involving the employer, its competitors and the business sector.

Practice interview sessions can be arranged with SOAS Careers Service.  We also have various opportunities for students to practice psychometric tests as well.

Plan your travel well and allow an additional 30mins for delays. Remember to take the direction and contact details with you as well.  Think about what you are going to wear in advance, first impressions are instant and it takes seconds for a complete stranger to formulate a positive or negative opinion of you, so consider carefully your outfit for the day.

For more information about assessment centres please do contact the Careers Service on tel: 020 7898 4115, email: careers@soas.ac.uk

Diana Omololu