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Assessment center: the exercises to expect

How can you prepare for assessment center exercises in advance?

With an invitation to an assessment center, applicants usually receive a schedule with additional information. Read through it carefully. In addition, it couldn’t hurt to inform yourself as thoroughly as possible about the company and the position advertised. You should also polish up on your general knowledge. Arrive well rested and on time.

Assessment center exercise 1: presenting yourself

The applicant is asked to introduce himself briefly and concisely. Personal strengths and professional successes can be mentioned at this point. During this assessment center exercise, it is recommended to refer to the advertised vacancy and the company. It is important, however, to stay authentic. Typical follow-up questions from the examiner are about weaknesses. Don’t let them get to you. That’s part of it. Try to answer such questions confidently and present strategies already in use for working on your weaknesses. The candidate’s manners and body language are already being assessed here.

Assessment center exercise 2: roleplaying

In the roleplay, a certain work situation is often simulated, maybe a customer or staff conversation. This assessment center exercise is meant to test the candidate’s social competences such as empathy, the ability to deal with conflict, the willingness to compromise and persuasiveness.  

Assessment center exercise 3: the case study

Here, the candidate is given a concrete case from the corporate context that should be dealt with quickly. Afterwards, he has to present a solution. In this exercise, the candidate’s problem-solving skills, in addition to his expert knowledge, are in the foreground because a situation has to be analyzed in a short time. Here, it is important to show that you can think analytically and strategically. Sometimes the case study is worked on in the group. The examiners watch to see which roles the applicants take on in the team. The suggested solution is often challenged during this assessment center exercise so that the applicant can explain his train of thought.

Assessment center exercise 4: discussing in a group

During this exercise, a controversial topic is presented to be discussed by the applicants. Here it is important to understand the issue and to have an opinion. How the applicant behaves in the group discussion is also crucial: whether he leads the conversation, has rhetorical skills and can convince others, as well as whether he is cooperative.

Assessment center exercise 5: the individual interview

An individual interview generally finishes up the assessment center. During this, the examiner reviews the completed exercises and often requests a self-assessment from the candidate. A good time to bring up any other aspects that had been missed before and to summarize objectively good results. Here, again, the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses are discussed.

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