With graduate recruitment season in full swing, Assessment Centres are fast approaching. So what are they all about?

What is an Assessment Centre?

An Assessment Centre is a multifaceted recruitment process designed to assess a group of candidates across a range of competencies in simulated scenarios. 

Put simply, an Assessment Centre is a recruitment process that combines a range of activities to compare a group of candidates. An employer generally utilises an Assessment Centre as part of a broader bulk recruitment process because it provides an opportunity to assess a candidate across a range of activities in an environment that simulates real workplace scenarios.

It is often preceded by an online application form, psychometric testing and video interviewing. That ratio of candidates compared to roles being recruited at this stage is around 5 or 6:1 – that is, if we were recruiting 10 roles, we would invite around 50 or 60 to the assessment centre stage. 

It is commonly used in Graduate, Vacation and Internship Program Recruitment processes because, by nature, it allows an employer to compare a larger number of candidates at one time and allows their own staff to assess each individual’s performance. 

Why do many employers use an Assessment Centre for graduate recruitment?

Assessment Centres are very common in graduate recruitment – especially with mid to large employers who recruit higher volumes of graduates. Employers use an Assessment Centre in graduate recruitment for a range of reasons. The main benefits are:

  • It is highly valid (when used appropriately)
  • It enables an employer to compare a group of candidates with each other
  • It can be mapped across multiple competencies
  • The multiple activities provide an opportunity to see a candidate in a range of situations and formats
  • It more closely simulates real workplace scenarios
  • It provides the employer and candidate with a good opportunity to communicate via a two-way process 

What does an Assessment Centre involve?

A graduate Assessment Centre can involve a number of the following elements:

  • Pair activity
  • Group or team activity
  • Individual activity or case study
  • Employer information session/presentation
  • Social function/activity
  • Can include behavioural and/or technical interviews

The concept of the group, pair or individual activities is to simulate a real work environment and, in some cases, can be made to be industry or discipline-specific. This gives employers the best opportunity to see candidates interact in real, work-related situations. 

It can last anywhere from a couple of hours to days, depending on the format, industry and employer. 

According to the Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE) Employer Survey, 62% of employers in 2017 used ‘Group Exercises’* as part of their graduate recruitment process. That means that for 2 out of every 3 recruitment processes you are invited to attend, you will be asked to attend some form of Assessment Centre. 

Are you ready?

Rohan Holland
Rohan Holland

Rohan is a graduate recruitment and development specialist. With extensive experience managing graduate programs and professional resourcing roles in organisations including BP, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, Rohan has worked throughout Australia and abroad. He has a passion for sharing graduate program insights and coaching graduates to be better prepared for the recruitment process and the study to work transition.

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