Applications / Assessment centres

Assessment centres…more top tips

When at the last stage of the assessment process, you may be asked to attend an assessment centre. You and a group of candidates will undertake a series of exercises and assessments that test your suitability to demonstrate you possess the competence and skills for the job. These often include e-tray exercises, case studies, presentations, and group exercises.

Preparation is a key part of acing your recruitment process. However, the tips below will outline how to succeed when you’re actually participating in the assessment centre:

Demonstrate competencies throughout

Depending on the industry and the job you are applying for, the employer will be looking for specific competencies, some of these include:

  • Decision Making
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Teamwork
  • Critical Thinking
  • Numeracy
  • Literacy
  • Communication skills

Ensure you are thinking about relevant competencies for the job role as soon as you enter the assessment centre, as assessors will be looking out for these in your performance.

Follow Instructions Carefully

On the day of your assessment, you will be asked to participate in a variety of exercises to measure your skills, competencies and your overall suitability for the job. To ensure you perform at your best, read and listen to the instructions carefully. Before diving into an exercise, you need to prove that you are moving through the tasks logically and have shown an understanding of the instructions or advice you have been given. Don’t scan through the information; read through the guide, and if you need help with something, don’t be afraid to ask. Remember, try not to rush, take your time and avoid making mistakes that could cost you the role.

Manage your time

It goes without saying that managing your time is a key responsibility for you and other team members in your group. A way to manage your time is to take a few moments at the beginning of the exercise to think how you will break each task down. For example, you may be delegate a 1 hour task into the following sections:

  • 15 minutes for reading and organising 
  • 15 minutes for discussions and mapping
  • 10 minutes for considerations
  • 20 minutes for solutions and Actions

Managing your time like the above may make all the difference when building a successful presentation or participating in a group discussion.

Be aware of body language

Assessors are watching you throughout all exercises. Ensure you don’t fidget and distract yourself and any other members in your team. Sit up straight throughout and make eye contact with people you are talking to. This shows you are confident and a nice friendly person to be around.

Be confident

It’s important that you showcase to the assessors that you are a confident individual with a can-do attitude and willingness to learn any task. Try not to worry if one element does not go as well as you would have hoped for. Keep a positive mindset as you move to the next activity. Employers will be able to spot someone who shows enthusiasm and knowledge. Therefore, try your best to prove yourself to be a positive person and most importantly, be yourself and don’t forget to smile throughout.

Be a team player

During group tasks, ensure you communicate effectively with your team members, making sure you are listening carefully to them and taking into account their ideas whilst providing your own. Participate openly, don’t be afraid to ask questions and offer a helping hand to anyone who looks unsure. Be open to ideas and suggestions.


Your experience at the assessment centre will give you invaluable insight for the future about employers and other exercises you may be asked to undertake. Ensure you don’t disregard the session as an opportunity to network. You may hear about other interviews and job opportunities from other delegates. Join in with discussion, even at ‘informal’ mealtimes, and ask other candidates about their university experience if you’re struggling for conversation. However, remember that lunch can be assessed so be aware of manners, swearing and topic of conversation.


Whatever the outcome of the assessment centre, ask your assessors for feedback as soon as they’ve contacted you about their decision. This can pinpoint where you might want to improve at the next assessment centre or once you’re in the job. Following these tips will ensure you’re on the right path to acing your assessment centre, just ensure you smile, be yourself and stay positive. Good Luck!

You can practise Assessment Centre Exercises and over 100 job assessments on GF. Register with your University of Warwick email address via the Warwick Welcome page:

Written by Fern McCann LLB and Peter Thornton BA MA, Consultants at Graduates First in collaboration with the University of Warwick Student Opportunity team.

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