What is it?
An assessment centre is a combination of tasks and activities that test your suitability for the job and can be part of an application procedure. An assessment is a way to map, measure, test and evaluate your current and potential competences and qualities by way of a psychological study. To assess your suitability for the position, the employer will have established a minimal set of requirements that each candidate must meet in order to be considered.
1. Aptitude tests
These are intelligence tests that are designed to assess your power of reasoning and logic. They may include supplementing arithmetical sequences, linguistic analogies or sets of characters. Such tests use strict criteria such as speed and the number of correct answers to assess your skills.
- There is no way to increase your IQ, but practising will make you more familiar with the various types of assignments and questions.
- Do not dwell on a question you do not understand.
- Read the instructions and the sample questions carefully before you begin the test.
2. Personality questionnaire
These questionnaires are aimed at mapping your behaviour, both in general and in workplace settings. You cannot practise this type of test. There are no right or wrong answers. You may be asked to give your opinion on a statement or to pick an option that most applies to your personality. The questions will be related to personality traits such as extraversion, dominance, flexibility, assertiveness and stability. The psychologist compiles a recommendation based on your results and discusses it with you afterwards.
- Be yourself: there is little point in pretending to be something you are not. If you do, you might find out later that the company or position are not right for you after all.
- Base your answers on how you see yourself, not on what you want to be. The test will also measure the consistency between your answers.
- Read the question carefully and don’t think about your answer too long.
- Use your ‘work persona’ if you find there is a discrepancy between how you would respond in a work situation and in your private life.
Good to know
- Competences such as creativity and innovative thinking are tested more and more often.
- Online games are increasingly used as tests.
- You are always entitled to a written report following an assessment.
Preparing for an assessment
- Ask which competences will be tested beforehand.
- Find out how you will be assessed.
- Practise, practise, practise!
- Reread the vacancy: the vacancy will often contain a description of the personality traits corresponding to the recruiters’ ideal candidate. Try to translate these competences into practical examples. This is a good way of predicting how these competences will be assessed.
After the assessment
If you are unclear about elements of the assessment report, do not hesitate to ask for clarification. Have the vacancy on hand to compare and ask the assessor how you performed per task and target area and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. The assessor will be able to give you useful feedback.
Want to know more?
Solid preparation for any assessment or aptitude test is half the battle! You can practise sample tests in your own language on the EU website.
What the UvA offers
- The Assessment workshop delves in the theory of the assessment and provides you with useful preparation tools. In addition, you will be practising some components of an assessment that you might face during simulations.
- Furthermore, you can find several tests on the UvA Career test platform, and one of these is the Personality test.
Big Five personality test (on the UvA Carreer test platform)