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Assessment Centres

Assessment centres have always had a place in recruitment, traditionally employed for bulk recruitment campaigns at graduate or junior level. More recently there has been a trend towards applying the same techniques to more senior positions.

They are typically regarded as a more thorough, effective and successful method of establishing a candidate's suitability for a given role. By evaluating and judging a candidate across an entire day, clients are able to get a more complete view of a candidate across a number of different exercises scenarios.

Typically assessment days contain some or all of the following:

Role play
  • Typically based around a scenario related to the role being recruited i.e. a fact find and negotiation exercise for sales professionals.
  • Candidates typically given a strategy paper 30 minutes prior to the role play exercise assessing their ability to prioritise and manage their time effectively.
  • Role play is often two assessors to each candidate.
  • May take the form of two meetings giving the candidate 30 minutes between the role plays to interpret and apply information gleaned from the first meeting.
  • This exercise tests a candidate's ability to perform in the role for which they have applied.
Group exercise
  • Candidates are asked to work together as a group towards a stated end goal as the assessors watch and listen.
  • Each individual may be given a different objective or piece of information to ensure that the exercise does not become too collegiate.
  • As assessors you will be looking for candidates to take control of the situation, draw opinions from the other delegates, keep the group to time, stand their ground (without becoming argumentative) and successfully take the group to its stated goal.


Behavioural event interview
  • Candidates are asked to discuss 2-3 specific events in their career to date i.e. either key successes or events that didn't have the desired outcome.
  • As assessors, you will then ask questions to probe around these events evaluating a candidates' approach to planning, risk analysis, decision making, developing solutions, seeking information, developing others, customer focus, building relationships etc.
  • Individuals are typically assessed against a list of pre-agreed competencies. Training is required to perform this type of interview correctly. Assessors must understand when a candidate is displaying the required level of competency in a certain area.
Biographical interview
  • Candidates are interviewed against their curriculum vitae.
  • Questioning is targeted around understanding their experience/ responsibilities to date, motivations, why they have made certain moves during their career, what they are looking for from their next role, key successes, qualifications, personal circumstances, current salary and expectations etc.
  • This is a more 'typical' interview that most candidates will have experienced at some point in their career to date. As a result, try to throw some 'unexpected questions' into the mix- it is helpful to see a candidate off guard as this can provide a better insight into the individual.
Verbal & numerical testing
  • Utilised to give an indication of a candidate's ability to process both verbal and numerical information whilst working to a time limit.
  • These tests are conducted either prior to or on the assessment day and are conducted either on or off-line.
  • Patrick Clarke have trained, qualified assessors to administer and interpret these tests in each of their offices.
Psychometric testing
  • These are used to help assess a candidate's culture fit and psychological make-up.
  • There are no right and wrong answers on these tests.
  • Results are compared to an agreed targeted profile.
Presentation exercise
  • Candidates are typically asked to pre-prepare a presentation often based around a proposed business plan for/ approach to their first 6 months in the role that they are applying for.
  • Each client will look for different things from this exercise. Some may find the content to be of primary importance where others may see delivery as the most important thing.
In-tray exercise
  • Utilised to establish a candidate's administrative and time management skills.
  • Candidates work to time and are asked to process and prioritise information.

Contact Patrick Clarke head office to discover more on how Patrick Clarke can help your business.

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