Preparing for assessment centres – do’s and don’ts

Some company hiring processes take a while. If you’ve gone through a particularly long one and eventually find yourself at assessment centres, consider it a victory. It means you’ve done well and impressed your potential employers. Now they want to assess you – through a variety of activities – and see if you’re a good fit for their organisation. Social activities, group exercises, and even psychometric tests are to be expected on your assessment day.

Here’s a quick guide to navigating these events and making sure you succeed.


#1: Be punctual

This goes without saying – punctuality speaks volumes of you, and your employers will no doubt be keeping an eye on the clock. As with anything else in life, try to reach the venue at least 10 minutes in advance so you can get settled in. It also will help to calm your nerves, if you’re the kind prone to social anxiety or fear.

#2: Remain polite… to everyone

Because some assessment centres require participants to engage in large group exercises and activities, it should be obvious that you’re not only expected to be civil and polite towards your assessors but also to your fellow participants. As much as possible, be a positive influence in your group and keep that smile on your face. It’s not only important to be polite to those from whom you seek employment, but also to your neighbours.

#3: Pitch in and consistently participate

The intention is to let yourself shine during assessment day. Keeping quiet or staying reserved will not help people get to know you better, so do remember to speak up. Put your best foot forward and genuinely engage with the people around you. (Of course, don’t just answer questions or respond for the sake of doing so – show some substance and you’ll be fine. Being kiasu will not help.)

#4: Be inclusive

More than anything, assessors and employers are looking for individuals that have strong leadership skills. This means that you’ll do well to make sure no one around you is left out. Draw other participants into discussions if they seem withdrawn, or if they can’t seem to find an opening to chime in. You might think this might lower your chances of being selected, but some assessors probably appreciate it more than anything.


#1: Dwelling on mistakes

Messed up a group discussion or a test? Accept it and move on as quickly as you can. Time spent dwelling on these mistakes and errors is time wasted, after all, and you need to keep your head in the game throughout assessment day, and not just in any one session. Remain forward-thinking and stay positive!

#2: Neglect yourself physically

In the days leading up to assessment day, make sure to bring your best. That also means you need to take care of your body and prevent yourself from falling sick. Drink lots of water, get some good sleep, and eat properly. This might seem like an obvious pointer, but nervousness can really mess up your habits if you’re not careful. Love yourself!

#3: Compare yourself with others

This is a terrible idea if you want to maintain a positive attitude throughout assessment day. Whether or not someone else is actually better than you are in some way, try not to pit yourself against other participants and put yourself down. You were selected for a reason, after all. That makes everyone present equally as good as each other. You have nothing to worry about and shouldn’t waste time and mental energy being negative.

#4: Come to assessment day unprepared

This is especially important. Do your research and your homework. Know the position you’re applying for like the back of your hand. You need to be at your best in the knowledge department, so you don’t fall into panic or mental strain. It’s important that you remain at ease throughout assessment day, so make sure to be as prepared as possible.

Assessment centres are nothing to be feared. If anything, they’re an indicator of your competence. Your future employer wants to see in this final stage if you are suitable for the company or not. Remember these do’s and don’ts and prepare yourself adequately. You’ll reap the benefits of it later when you sign your employment contract.

Sophia Lee

I used to freelance exclusively for Glints - now I'm a content marketing intern working furiously in the backdrop. Talk to me about writing any time! (Or we could have a serious discussion about video games and e-sports... that's cool too.) Find me on Instagram (@pxtrx)!

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