Tips for assessment centres (Julie, Career Consultant)

I recently observed a Civil Service Fast Stream Assessment centre and thought it might be helpful to share some tips about assessment centres and group tasks. The information is relevant to all types of assessment centres – not just Civil Service Fast Stream.

Assessment centres and group tasks:

1) Don’t be tempted to get other people to sit online psychometric tests on your behalf!

Many graduate recruiters (including the Civil Service) will check your scores by asking you to re-do psychometric tests during the assessment centre (apparently some candidates get friends or family to sit the tests on their behalf). If you are worried about psychometric tests have a look at our resources or get in touch with us so we can help you improve your performance.

2) Read the information you’re given before an interview or assessment centre and actually follow the advice given whilst you’re there: 

Similarly to other graduate recruiters, the Civil Service give candidates extremely comprehensive information about the competencies they’re looking for, as well as hints and tips: taking heed of the information you’ve already been given will help you stand out (not everyone uses the information given).

3) If you’re given preparation time before a task (e.g. time to read information or prepare for a task), make sure you use the time to read the information and instructions carefully and make some simple notes so you don’t need to read the information during the presentation or team task.

4) During group tasks, even though you’ll probably feel nervous, remember to make eye contact and establish rapport with the other candidates.

5) Make sure you understand the type of leadership required by the organisation where you’re going for an interview and think of examples of your leadership skills (not necessarily from a management position):

For example, the Civil Service Fast Stream looks for leaders who are nurturing and supportive of their colleagues. This could be very different from leadership styles in other organisations, for example, working within retail management and sales:

When taking part in team tasks, the assessors will be looking for someone who can help the team to achieve their goal without dominating discussions or taking over, so try to assist your team during team tasks regardless of the task you’ve been given. For example, help the team keep to the time limit, involve any quieter members of the group in the discussion and ask others for their opinions and to explain their views.


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