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How to make a positive impression at an assessment centre

26 Mar

Attending an assessment centre is the first step on the road that could see you clinch your dream job. Designed to test every aspect of a candidate’s character, aptitude and suitability for the role at hand, assessment days can involve everything from in-depth interviews, to giving presentations, to conducting group exercises to test just how well you mix with other people when you have a task to complete. And with a record half-a-million apprenticeships taking place last year- and employers increasingly turning to assessment centres to vet their promising applicants- it’s likely that you will attend one as part of your job search.

Though they can seem gruelling, there’s nothing to worry about: with the right preparation, and the right attitude, you’ll be able to make a good impression and stand out from the competition.

Here are our tips for making sure that you get noticed at an assessment centre.

Know the company inside out

If you want to impress potential employers then you need to know your stuff. According to research, it takes seven minutes on average for an interviewer to decide whether or not you are right for a role, so you need to make sure that you present a knowledgeable and enthusiastic front to your assessors.

Show that you’ve put in the hard work and done your research: make sure that you find out everything you can about the company. If you can, find out the name and profession of your assessors, so you have something to build on when you walk into the interview room. The more you can tailor what you say and do to what your assessors want to see, then the more likely it is that they’ll remember you- especially in a market where 47% of job interviewees have little or no knowledge of the company they’re applying to.

Be employable

Nobody wants to hire a candidate who doesn’t look or act the part. Dress for business: it’s always better to err on the side of caution and dress smartly, especially as 55% of people make their first impressions of a person based on their physical appearance. Be punctual: there’s nothing worse than being late for an interview, and the same counts for an assessment centre. And be friendly- after all, you want to be somebody that your assessors can see themselves working with in the future!

Be organised

Nothing screams bad impression like being badly organised. A few days before the assessment centre, make a list of all the documents that you need to bring with you, and check it the night before you go in, so you know that you have all the relevant information that you need to provide with you. That way, you’ll be able to save yourself a red face on the day, and demonstrate just how organised you are to the examiners.


If you want to stand out during the day, then one important way to do that is to practice beforehand. Alongside bringing the relevant documents, take the time to sit down before the big day and run through all the exercises that you’ll be required to do whilst there. If there are sample tests, then run through those; if you’re being asked to do a presentation, practice it with a friend or family member a few days below. Make sure that you know the assessment criteria inside out, and that you have a response for any question related to those that might come up during a feedback session or psychometric test. If you’re really nervous, then do a mock interview- this will help you feel more prepared and confident, which is a key employment factor for 38% of employers.

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DST is a leading provider of investor and policyholder administrative services to the funds, insurance and wealth management industries. We pride ourselves on working with brilliant people across the UK and Ireland. Find out more about what we do here, or browse our jobs here.
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