So the question on everyone’s lips is – What’s involved in the “how to” of Assessment Centres?

Employers are continually under pressure to identify and attract the best talent for their organisation. With an ongoing war for talent, the candidate pool  is decreasing year on year, so it’s important that assessment centres are run effectively to produce the best results:

With our 6 easy tips you will be on your way to gaining a better understanding of Assessment Centres

1. Do you have an objective?

So you’re planning your assessment centre… but what do you actually want out of it? Acquiring high quality talent is a given. But you need to look deeper; spending time with your hiring managers is key, they know better than anyone about the role that needs to be filled and what qualities and values have worked for past recruits, or maybe some that have been lacking. Do you need a specialist to build your employer brand? Or someone that can manage your clients whilst winning new business?

Answering these questions will give you a better understanding of what activities will need to be held on the day.

2. Plan, Plan, Plan!

Assessment centres aren’t something you are going to be able to wing or think up a few days before. They require planning and dedication to ensure the day is a success. Not only for your organisation to reap the benefits of discovering top talent, but also for the candidates so they can see how great your employer brand is… you want to retain the best candidates, not lose them to your competitors. To attract the best you have to be the best.


“Save the date…” might be a popular terminology used when organising a wedding… but it’s equally important that Assessment Centres dates are cemented in advance. This ensures that candidates are well informed from the outset, whilst also guaranteeing that your assessors can attend as well.

This also helps you up your candidate engagement game. Ensure you send reminder emails, check in with them every now and then and, very importantly, give them a call before each stage of assessment in order to ensure they’re prepared.

3. Lots of room for activities!

So you’ve set the date, you know your objective… now you need to consider how you’ll get the best results.

Creating personal, bespoke assessment tools and criteria will mean better defined results than off the shelf tools, which aren’t specifically built for your requirements. We think it’s best to include a variety of activities that allows candidates to have the opportunity to showcase their full range of skills.

But remember, it’s important that the activities are built around your criteria and tailored to your requirements. There is no point asking your candidates do something that would not be required of them in the role.

Here is an example of a bespoke piece of material that we designed for Lafarge Tarmac, whilst recruiting their graduates…

4. You know the score!


Or do you? A simple ‘good’ or ‘bad’ isn’t going to cut it when evaluating candidates. You need a concise scoring system that will enable you to reflect and gain a clear understanding of who made the cut and who didn’t. Scoring matrixes are a great way to understand who’s hot and who’s not.

Briefing your assessors beforehand is vital- one assessor’s idea of an outstanding candidate might differ from that of another assessor. Giving a clear outline and examples of what is expected is necessary to keep a uniform recruitment process in place. As is using a mix of resource- utilising internal and external assessors will ensure that any decision made is not bias but well informed and fair.

5. Three, two, one …. Go!

A ‘welcome’ and introduction to the day is always a good start, as will including coffees and a lunch break. You should allow time for candidates, existing staff and assessors to socialise in a more relaxed environment. You will be able to assess how the day is running for the candidates, whilst allowing them to chat with existing graduates and meet the assessors.

A timetable and schedule of the day’s events is paramount. This will ensure the smooth running of the day by keeping the assessors and candidates informed of what’s coming next. Remember, this will most likely be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience for candidates, so allow them time for mental preparation, giving them plenty of time to think ahead will help relax a few worried heads.

6. Review, Evaluation and Feedback

This is usually a lengthy part of the process, but a vital one. How can you know what went well and what didn’t if you don’t have a review of the day?

If a certain part went well… great! Use it again. Maybe another area didn’t succeed- you need to discover why, so this mistake isn’t made in the future. Business is all about evolution and keeping up to date with the current trend; this should be reflected in your recruitment process.

Ensuring time is scheduled for assessors to come together and review the candidates at the end of the day will ensure accurate decisions are made whilst the information is still fresh in their mind. This will also reduce your time to hire- ensuring decisions are made promptly will mean you are able to inform candidates of your decision.

Providing candidates with feedback surveys is another great way of finding out how useful or challenging they found different parts of the day. This will help you to improve the following year’s selection process, whilst preserving your employer brand and proposition.

Are you planning an Assessment Centre soon? Do you know where to start?

Click here to find out more about what we can do to help with the smooth delivery of your assessment centre.

Written by Josephine Lester, Marketing Executive