Graduate Assessment Centres: Practice makes perfect

Graduate Assessment Centres: Practice makes perfect

Cartoon: student cramming books into brain and a superhero

Many graduates are now faced with the daunting task of undertaking the relative unknown of an assessment centre in order to make that first step onto the employment ladder. Companies dealing with a high volume of applicants, many of whom are of a very high calibre, want to view their candidates from many angles – interacting with others in a team, one-on-one, problem solving, presenting ideas etc.

As Collins McNicholas Recruitment and HR Services Group have a track record of running assessment centres, we were approached by IT Sligo to develop and run an assessment process for a group of their students.

There were 5 stages as part of the assessment process:

5 step assessment process flow diagram

The first stage consisted of 3 of the most common ability assessments used by employers

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Numerical Reasoning
  • Attention to Detail

Following on from the ability assessment, the second stage involved the students partaking in a course specific group assessment.

For the third stage the students were required to analyse a piece of text and make a presentation to the assessor. Students were assessed on their problem solving, presentation and communication skills.

The fourth section of the assessment involved the students undertaking a mock competency based interview. The students were provided with comprehensive preparatory materials in the weeks prior to the interview so that they could gain maximum benefit from the session.

Collins McNicholas then provided individualised face to face feedback to the students. As part of the feedback the students were encouraged to ask questions and were provided with guidance and information regarding real assessment processes. This was the most valuable element of the process for students. Specific feedback and advice was given to each student in a positive and development focused manner.

Benefits for Students: 

  • Opportunity for students to experience an assessment centre environment
  • Opportunity to practice exercises that would be impossible to practice alone
  • Students can use the developmental feedback to modify their behaviour at future assessment centres
  • Gives confidence to students in applying to processes with assessment centres included
  • Improved understanding of the assessment process

Jamie Gallagher profile Jan 2016

Jamie Gallagher
HR Services Coordinator

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group