If you’re a recent graduate, or still a student, chances are you’ll be applying for a graduate scheme and will be faced with an assessment centre as part of the recruitment process.

These assessment centres normally include a selection of candidates taking part in a number of exercises, completing tests and being interviewed by the employer as they assess each candidate on how they would suit the roles on offer.

While this may seem like a daunting prospect – especially if you’ve never been for a proper job interview before – these assessment centres can actually be used to your advantage to showcase your skills and prove to the employer that you’re the best candidate for the role.

Every assessment centre is different as not all companies are looking for the same skills, but most of them include similar tests and activities. These include psychometric tests, e-tray exercises, face-to-face interviews, and presentations. Each of these tasks gives you the opportunity to shine in a different way, so it’s vital that you make the most of the time you have.

1) Practice Psychometric Tests

As psychometric tests (a group of tests measuring a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses) are a large part of a graduate scheme assessment centre, it’s worth trying your hand at one or two of them before the big day.

A quick Google search will bring up plenty of sites with free tests that you can take to prepare you for what to expect at the assessment centre.

These can be anything from numerical reasoning and and verbal reasoning, to diagrammatic reasoning and situational judgement, and will help you feel more comfortable when completing these tests at the assessment centre.

2) Research The Company

Even though there are lots of similarities in different graduate scheme assessment centres, each one is unique and tailored to the business in question.

This means it’s extra important to do as much research into the company as possible, and try to find out what to expect when you get to the assessment day.

Sites like Glassdoor and forums such as The Student Room are great for finding out information about assessment centres above what the company will already tell you – just doing a quick search of the company you’ve applied for should bring up some helpful information.

graduate dog3) Don’t Be Generic

As an assessment centre normally involves a large group of candidates, you need to make sure that you stand out from the crowd, and avoid giving the same answers as everybody else.

Whether it’s a psychometric test, one-on-one interview or your presentation, think about what makes you unique as a candidate, and use this as starting block on which to base your answers on.

If you just say what you think the employer will want to hear, you’ll run the risk of sounding the same as the other candidates, and that certainly won’t get you the job.

4) Don’t Be Afraid To Take Charge

There will more than likely be group exercises to take part in during your time at the assessment centre, so this is another chance for you to really shine.

Group exercises are used to see if you can work well as part of a team as well as how you communicate, but they’re also used to identify leaders, so if you feel comfortable leading an exercise, then don’t be afraid to take charge of the task.

However, if you’re naturally a shy person, don’t force yourself to take charge of the exercise, as it will come across forced. Instead, try and get as involved as possible by sharing your ideas and listening to others.

5) Be Professional

One of the key things you need to remember during your time at the assessment centre is to maintain professionalism at all times.

There will be some social situations during the day with other candidates, however don’t let your guard down too much and say something you’ll regret, as you never know who’s listening in.

Also, it will be along day and you will get tired, but make sure that you stay smart at all times – no slouching over tables or chairs, and make sure you always appear smart and sophisticated.

So there we go, some tips on how to ace your graduate scheme assessment centre. Do you agree with these tips or have any of your own?

Let me know in the comments below!