Assessment Centre definition
Assessment centres are places where individuals are judged on their future ability to perform a particular role. Assessment centres used to be more common for senior positions, but with the increasing number of applicants per role, they have become more common across the board. Graduate positions often involve some form of assessment centre.
Assessment centres may be more commonly called assessment days, particularly when they take place at a non-specific location, e.g. a hotel.
Assessment centres vary widely in duration, format and content. More intensive assessment centres may last two days, with an overnight residential stay. A range of different activities are included in assessment centres to appeal to a variety of candidates, and may include written assessments, personality tests (including Myers-Briggs), exams and role play.
Group activities may also form a part of assessment centres, including group business exercises, where each person takes turns playing the senior figure – this is more prominent when recruiting for positions where leadership skills are important.
While many assessment centres are organised in-house, companies exist that run assessment centres as their core offering – they may have their own premises or conduct the assessment centres on their clients’ premises.
Candidates are normally reimbursed for their travel and overnight expenses when attending assessment centres, particularly in the case of larger firms or when the assessment centre is part of a normal recruitment drive e.g. a graduate scheme. If no offer of reimbursement is made, applicants should contact the HR department at the earliest possible opportunity to clarify.