Skip to main content

Assessment Centre Top Hints and Tips

KNOW WHAT IS REQUIRED - The day will have been designed around the requirements of the job. So if you are able to get a copy of the formal job specification this will help as it will detail the ‘core competencies’ or qualities/values/skills and experience required to succeed in the role.

BE YOURSELF - Once you know the required competencies you can adapt your gameplay accordingly BUT it is imperative that you be yourself!

PLAN - Ensure that you are planned – Do you know where the Assessment Centre is taking place, the time of start, the duration, the dress code, etc? Do you have to prepare anything beforehand?

FORMAT - Ask for the format of the day, who will be assessing, what are the expectations, and what qualities are they looking for?

DRESS TO IMPRESS - Dress for an assessment centre like you would for a final interview

RESEARCH - Research the company in the same way that you would do for any other interview – see researching companies for interviews. Being well-researched and planned will give you confidence.

ASK QUESTIONS - Don’t forget that an Assessment Centres is a great opportunity for you to get to know the company and hiring managers in greater depth. Ask lots of questions and build rapport.

DETAIL IS EVERYTHING - Pay attention to the detail. Often, particularly in group exercises, there will be a couple of ‘Red Herrings’ thrown in. Read every instruction. If you feel it is somewhat vague or misleading, then read it upside down! This, for some reason, helps your brain to really focus on and concentrate on the task in hand. Try it!

UNDERSTANDING THE INSTRUCTIONS WILL NOT BE PART OF THE TESTS - Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Being able to understand the instructions is not part of the test. Often, tasks are designed to be open to more than one interpretation to get delegates engaged and involved. Ask, ask and ask again until you are confident that you understand all instructions.

BIDE YOUR TIME - In sales-based Assessment Centres the first half hour is typically a lot of bravado whilst everyone ‘sounds each other out’. Don’t worry if you’re not the centre of attention, the mouthpiece or the ‘stand out’ candidate at this stage. Good Assessment Centres are designed to score against the required competencies throughout the duration of the day. In my experience, the candidates who come across as the initial ‘front runners’ normally falter as the centre progresses. It is normally those that are composed, self assured and consistent that succeed. Remember that the assessors and facilitators are looking for those who demonstrate the best match to the required competencies, the right personality for their cultural fit and how committed to each task you are.

RELAX AND ENJOY - Don’t become despondent if you do not feel that you are shining in the first hour, just relax – your chance to shine will come as the day progresses.

DON’T TAKE OVER - In group tasks, don’t take over. Unless specified the ability to ‘lead‘ is rarely the prerequisite competency so don’t feel that you have to volunteer to be the ‘leader’ at every opportunity. Normally, the facilitator will ensure that at some point during the centre every delegate will have the opportunity to lead and/or take centre stage.

BE A TEAM PLAYER - Get everyone in the team involved, ask for others' opinions but at the same time, if you feel strongly about a point, then you must stand your ground. A very commonly required competency is the ability to be a ‘team player’ yet to be ‘forthright in your own views’.

GET ON WITH EVERYONE - Get on with all of your fellow delegates. This will show you in your best light, and you will enjoy the session more.

DON’T SCORE POINTS - Don’t ever belittle someone else in front of other delegates or the assessors (no matter how tempting it may be!)

LUNCH IS PART OF THE ASSESSMENT - Remember that breaks and lunch are also part of the Assessment Process, so be aware of manners, swearing, inappropriate topics of discussion and inappropriate behaviour! (this isn’t the forum, but I could tell you some absolute horror stories!)

WHAT IS THE POINT? - In Group Exercises don’t necessarily go with the obvious. Think it through. Group exercises are typically designed to be ambiguous to get the delegates engaged and involved.

DELEGATE TASKS – DON’T TRY AND DO IT ALL - One of the best ways to ‘lead’ in a group exercise is to split the group up to work on separate tasks. Group exercises are designed to have four hours of work to complete in half an hour – here, delegation is the key.

BE OPEN TO OTHER’S IDEAS - Be open to all suggestions from fellow delegates – don’t completely dismiss any suggestions they just might have seen through the ‘Red Herring.’

DON’T OVERLY COMPETE - Don’t feel that you have to compete with the other delegates. In an Assessment Centre, there are invariably several vacancies and the fellow delegates may one day be your close work colleagues!

MAKE CONNECTIONS - Engage with every assessor, facilitator and employer representative, as they will be the ones that score you at the end of the session. As unbiased as Assessment Centres are meant to be you’ll always score an extra few percent if you’ve managed to connect with them.

NETWORK - Even if you’re not successful at your first Assessment Centre it will give you invaluable insight for the future. In addition, don’t disregard the session as an opportunity to network. As a delegate, I once gained a very valuable future client from an Assessment Centre. We kept in contact after the session, and he was able to get me ‘an in’ with his new business. Also, you’ll hear about other interviews and job opportunities from the other delegates.

LET THE REAL ‘YOU’ SHINE - Assessment Centres shouldn’t be daunting or scary! They should be highly enjoyable, and you may even learn a little something about yourself. Relax, enjoy, and the ‘real you will shine through.’

BE POSITIVE - Above all, be yourself, be confident and remain positive and focused throughout the day.

A well-designed Assessment Centre should be enjoyable for all. Assessment centres, especially virtual ones, are becoming more and more common.  So being involved in one, even if you are not successful, will help hold you in good stead for the future.

Remember, they should not be daunting. Do your research, ensure that you arrive in good time and that you are planned and prepared. Build rapport with everyone that you meet.

Relax, do your best, remain focused, remain positive, and you’ll be fine.

Date published: 29th February 2024

A photo of Darren Dewrance, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment

About the author

Darren Dewrance

Darren spent six years in sales and field sales before joining the original sales recruitment specialist, Austin Benn, in 1998. After achieving the status of top consultant, out of about seventy at the time, Darren rose from Senior Consultant to Operations Manager of the commercial sector before leaving to join a London based Headhunter in 2003 before setting up Aaron Wallis with Rob in October 2007.

With a natural leadership style, Darren is an expert on putting his finger right on the heart of the problem. His natural commercial instincts have helped hundreds of employers make better recruitment decisions. Darren is married with two children, and when not at work or with his family, he likes nothing more than to be on the side of a river or a lake with a rod in his hand.

Please call us to discuss your next move

Milton Keynes

Birmingham

Bristol

Our employers say...

Very professional service and will certainly be in contact for future recruitment.

Director, Blakedown Sport & Play Ltd

In an industry where people over promise and under deliver, Rob and his teams have consistently provided a high-quality service. It is great to deal with someone that has an excellent understanding of UK industry, and a passion for sales.

Sales Manager, TR Fasteners

I really liked the YouTube presentations which made the service seem both simple and accessible. The company came to see me, and my management team, at short notice to present their service and I liked the support and advice that I received about maximising the results from the applicant.

Managing Director, Leisuresec plc

Rob’s knowledge of the recruitment industry and his thoughts and how to make it better for his clients have always been eye opening. I would recommend Rob to anybody who is looking for a professional, knowledgeable and flexible recruitment specialist.

CEO, Friday Ad Online Services

Generally good standard of candidates. Especially liked the personality profile. Overall good value for money and will certainly use you again.

Managing Director, Medicash

Since joining DSGi, Rob has been a supplier of permanent staff and has performed to an extremely high standard, successfully filling 98% of roles he has worked on. If anyone is looking for a good sales and marketing based consultancy with an informal yet professional approach, I would recommend Rob.

Senior Recruitment Consultant, DSG International

I could not suggest anything I would like you to do better. The service you provided materially exceeded my expectations. I would especially like to commend Simon Bonner; he is easily the best recruitment consultant I have ever dealt with. I particularly valued his advice and guidance throughout the recruitment process. 

UK Sales Manager, BTS Holdings Limited 

George came recommended by a colleague and has been a pleasure to work with. He was great at updating us on his progress and ensured a great experience for both client and candidate.

HR Manager, Annapurna Recruitment Ltd

Thank you for your dedicated help during the recruitment process - we came to you after unsuccessfully searching elsewhere, and hired, not one, but two! Quick response times, and a really personal approach, without being pushy.

Managing Director, Accora Ltd

Thanks for all your help during the recruitment process. I have been extremely impressed with Aaron Wallis especially when compared to other agencies we have dealt with. I really felt you grasped the type of person we required and found strong candidates.

UK Sales Manager, Nexcom

I just wanted to thank you for your help with our recruitment process which went very smoothly and has – we hope – found us just the person for the job!

Managing Director, Citrefine International Ltd

Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.

Managing Director, JARK Healthcare Recruitment

Rob is a true recruitment professional that goes the extra mile that I have never experienced from any other recruitment agency before. If you need sales people call Rob or someone in his team, as they really are experts in sales recruitment.

Sales Director, Inside Business

I found Aaron Wallis to be very professional and efficient, taking time to understand the role and the type of candidate we were looking for. The candidates they put forward met our criteria and were of a high standard. The service they provided was exemplary and I would have no hesitation in recommending them, and will certainly consider using them again in the future.

HR Assistant, Fischer Connectors Ltd

Understood the type of person we were looking for and good follow ups - not too frequent.

Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd

I can't fault Sam or AW! Sam was a pleasure to work with and provided great support from the start. Sam always provided me with timely updates when required and provided outstanding candidates!

Director, Waste Managed Ltd

George is a rare find in the world of recruitment - communicative without being pushy or over-bearing. He listens and understands what the customer needs as gets to know the business to ensure he provides fully competent candidates who fit.

HR Manager, Big Dug

Sophie did a great job at understanding our business and our needs, she is extremely professional and we hugely benefitted from her experience and expertise.

HR Manager, The Data Privacy Group Ltd

George is a joy to work with, and I'd recommend him to anyone seeking that unicorn hire - he found me mine, and I'm delighted!

Director, Education Support

Giles is highly professional and was a pleasure to work with. He achieves excellent results through his personable skills and tenacity. I have no hesitation in recommending Giles to anyone who considers employing his services.

Commercial Director, G4S Government & Outsourcing Solutions

I have always found Rob to be very knowledgeable about our industry sector, and it is refreshing to see after all of these years that Rob continues to quickly and accurately understand my requirements.

HR and General Manager, THK

We were impressed not only by the quality of candidates you found for us but also the level of information, preparation and qualification you put into the process. You continually kept us informed of each person’s feelings about the process, which is very important but often overlooked. I am looking forward to working with your company again in the future.

Commercial Director, Incentive Facilities Management

We appointed Aaron Wallis in February and the successful candidate, out of the six which Aaron Wallis introduced, was able to join Alphametrics before the end of April. The whole process took less than three months. I would recommend Aaron Wallis' services to others without hesitation.

Chief Financial Officer, Alphametrics

Giles Phillips is a rare find in the minefield of sales recruitment; an honest and thoughtful recruiter who considers the needs of both the client AND the candidate to create perfect role matches. I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Marketing Director, City of London Police

As always we were extremely impressed with Rob's understanding of the role and our specific needs.

Managing Director, Speck & Burke

I have used Aaron Wallis to fill a number of our Sales Development Manager roles and I have found them to provide a very professional service. I will use their services again in future recruitment campaigns.

HR Business Partner, Greene King

Really good service. Just the right amount of contact and easy to deal with.

HR Manager, Zircon Software Ltd

Our candidates say...

For anyone looking for work, I can't recommend Aaron Wallis highly enough.

C. Rockliffe, Candidate

Darren at Aaron Wallis was really encouraging and helpful. He was very responsive and regularly made phone calls to explain the job opportunities available, and guided me through the application process.

A. Brown, Candidate

Friendly, proactive, communicative. Overall a really positive experience.

R. Houston, Candidate

The detail put into the preparation for interviews and the detail of the job description was first class. Rob and Simon in particular are amongst the best I've ever dealt with.

K. Peacock, Candidate

A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!

A. Bauchet, Candidate

Less than two weeks after joining Aaron Wallis I was offered my new job. I got a £10,000 rise in my basic salary, car allowance, a laptop and many other perks, which will help to further my career. I definitely would not have found my dream job without the help of Aaron Wallis.

C. Hoy, Candidate

Simon was knowledgeable on his clients history, background and what their requirements were and he worked around time zones, holidays and a pandemic to get the right result.

J. Tooze, Candidate

Managed to get me placed within a week! Really friendly and easy to deal with. Always available for a call and my biggest challenge was I was in work at the time I was looking for my next opportunity (which is stressful) but Sam made that easy.

P. Fitzsimons, Candidate

Excellent experience. Knowledgeable staff and really went the extra mile. Found my ideal position and I couldn't be happier. Special shout out to Sam and George: who made the process smooth and easy for me. Highly recommend.

K. Pearce, Candidate

Fantastic customer service, communication was brilliant, happy polite people to talk to, made everything a lot easier and smoother. Thank you for all your help getting me back in the work force, Keep up the good work :-)

K. Everitt, Candidate

The most professional recruitment agency I've ever worked with. Robert Scott was extremely proactive and send me a detailed briefing before each interview, ensuring I was well prepared.

D. Bermant, Candidate

Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.

E. Heley, Candidate

I would highly recommend thank you to Darren for helping me secure my new job role! Excellent service all round!

G. Thompson, Candidate

I have to say using Aaron Wallis Recruitment has been nothing but an absolute pleasure. I've used many agencies over the years as the client and the candidate and its not always been a pleasurable experience!

L. Knowles, Candidate

Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

M. White, Candidate 

Very polite and friendly and was very helpful finding me my next new role.

K. Craggs, Candidate

When talking with Simon you felt relaxed cared to help you find a position that suited your needs

D. Pinder, Candidate

Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.

M. Crisp, Candidate

I had a great experience. Helped me every step of the way to get my new job. Sophie was very polite, kind and helpful!

J. Parnham, Candidate

Sophie contacted me about a role explained the details clearly and made sure I was ready for the interview. She kept in touch every step of the way till I started the job. Thank you Sophie for a great experience.

S. Powell, Candidate

Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.

R. Speakman, Candidate

Sam was by far the most professional and helpful of any individual I've ever dealt with through a recruitment agency. He was supportive and thorough throughout the process. He definitely goes the extra mile for you. A pleasure to deal with. I would highly recommend him. An asset to Aaron Wallis

M. Wyer, Candidate

The service provided by Aaron Wallis has been just great. I was constantly informed about what was going on with the process interview and the agent has always been supportive and kind to me.

L. Colagrossi, Candidate

Rob was really helpful when I was putting together a presentation for the second stage interview. Overall their communication was great and kept me updated of any progress

J. McGrattan, Candidate

George is a fantastic recruitment agent and provides a great service. It was a pleasure I thoroughly recommend George to anyone.

C. Beaugie, Candidate

Wanted to say a huge thank you to Simon Bonner who has just helped me secure my new role. He was one of the most professional recruiters I have ever worked with.

J. Marcinkiewicz, Candidate

The staff at Aaron Wallis were fantastic. Throughout the process, they maintained excellent communication and I always knew where I stood.

M. Owusu, Candidate

I would highly recommend Aaron Wallis Recruitment, Darren was extremely helpful and provided me with plenty of advice and support throughout the whole process.

D. Bretherton, Candidate

I had the absolute pleasure of working with George Humphries on finding a placement best suitable for me.

A. Van Der Mescht, Candidate

I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

S. Akers, Candidate

I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!

D. Burgess, Candidate

Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dewrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

R. Sealy, Candidate

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.

R. Buckley, Candidate

Good swift process with Aaron Wallis, informative regarding the role and the process was moved at a good pace with healthy interaction. Would recommend them to anyone pursuing a change.

S. Bartlett, Candidate

The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!

A. Callaby, Candidate

Professional and responsive from start to finish. I would highly recommend. Special thanks to Sophie J for her help and support throughout.

N. Leney, Candidate

Sophie has been fantastic and always so attentive, highly recommend.

T. Ashbourne, Candidate

Sophie helped me secure a new role I have been searching for. She took her time to explain clear and concisely all I needed to succeed at the interview stage. Thanks again Sophie!

O. Oladejo, Candidate

I had a very good experience with Aaron Wallis. The company itself is offering great content for all things related to the hiring process. I definitely recommend.

J. Ostermeier, Candidate

George Humphries was a complete professional at every point, from our first phone conversation to his “good luck tomorrow” text on Sunday before I started in my new role.

E. Fry, Candidate

George above and beyond to make sure I had everything I need to secure my new role. Outstanding Professional.

A. Kirkland, Candidate

Fantastic service, helped me find my ideal job quickly and smoothly. Would highly recommend them.

C. Caine, Candidate

Wanted to say a huge thank you to Simon Bonner who has just helped me secure my new role. He was one of the most professional recruiters I have ever worked with he was supportive really quick at replying and really put me at ease.

J. Marcinkiewicz, Candidate