Assessment days (also called assessment centres) allow companies to assess candidates over an extended period of time, whilst offering candidates the chance to find out about an employer in greater detail. An assessment day also usually provides an opportunity for a candidate to meet with current employees at a firm. Assessment days can be long, time consuming and highly mentally demanding.
What is an Assessment Day?
An "assessment day" is an important part of the recruitment process for many graduate employers. As the name suggests, it is a period of extended assessment that usually lasts for the best part of a day, and occasionally, two, or even three days).
Generally speaking, the more prestigious the employer, the longer the assessment day will last for. An assessment day for an investment bank, such as Barclays Capital (BarCap), will usually last for two days and include an overnight stay. The assessment day for a retailer, such as Aldi will usually last for just one day, or even an afternoon.
A well structured assessment day is generally considered to be amongst the fairest and most objective means of selecting employees for jobs, particularly graduate jobs. This is because they give a number of different interviewers a chance to assess candidates over an extended period of time, enabling assessors to see what you can do, rather than what you say you can do, in a wide variety of situations.
Where do Assessment Days take place?
Assessment days are usually take place at employer's offices, although some firms use third party organisations to run their assessment days. For two and three day assessment days, some employers use hotels to run their assessment activities, hiring function rooms and paying for rooms and meals for candidates.
What happens at an Assessment Day?
Assessment days require you to participate in a number of individual and group exercises. The exact tasks involved are designed to replicate the demands of the specific job you have applied for. Assessment days usually comprise a mixture of: interviews (including competency based interviews and partner interviews), case studies, aptitude tests (such as verbal and numerical reasoning), personality tests, group exercises, role plays and presentations (both group and individual). Candidates are also usually given a tour of company offices during an assessment day and several opportunities to meet with, and talk to, current employees.
How to behave at an Assessment Day
Candidates should be assertive, enthusiastic and co-operative at an assessment day. An assessment day is not a competition; teamwork is key if you want to do well. Be friendly, polite and supportive to other candidates. Assessors are looking for competitive people who can work well with others, not just competitive people.
Further Information on Assessment Days
For further information on assessment days see: