Assessment centre: 4 graduate expectations

So you’ve been invited to an assessment centre and you’re there amongst hundreds of other graduates. This is slightly different to the assessment centres for school leavers, and whilst some of these points might be rudimentary and obvious to you, a handy 4-point checklist to make sure you’re on the right track is a good way to keep yourself on target. So without further ado:


Make sure that you’re there with plenty of time to spare and that you look smart and professional. There’s no excuse at this point for the kind of neglect that would see you being late or being scruffy, so make sure your first impressions are good ones and that you’re in control of the situation.


No one is going to hire someone that doesn’t display any of their skills, and to show what you have to offer, you need to be involved at all times. This doesn’t mean dominating the conversation and speaking even when you don’t know what you’re talking about, but remaining engaged and contributing when you think you have a point that is useful or valid. It’s ok to be nervous, but the more you get involved, the easier it will become!


There’s no point just copying what everyone else is doing either—you have to sell the best version of yourself, not a knock-off version of someone else. You’ve been invited to the centre because your application was strong and they liked you, so demonstrate why they’re right to have done so—play to your strengths and utilise the skills you’ve honed at university to make sure they can’t overlook you.


This is a key one that many people can’t do—assessment centres can be long and arduous tasks, but you absolutely have to keep your concentration up for the entire duration of the event. You’ll have plenty of time to relax later, so make sure that you’re using the time available to the best of your ability. Use lunch and breaks for socialising and asking questions about the company you want answered, and make sure you don’t exhibit any inappropriate behaviour.